Happy October everyone! The leaves are changing, everything is pumpkin-spiced, I finally get my cold weather back. I’m a big fan of gray and dreary and cold, much like the weather is right now in New Jersey. But what I am most looking forward to this season is Halloween and all the wonderful scares. Scary movies, haunted hay rides, Fright Fest, haunted houses, I love every single one of these. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise for those of you who saw my posts in the past on nightmares and scary movies like Lights Out.
What I especially love about all of these are the jump scares. Those moments that catch you so completely off-guard that you literally jump straight up in the air. They make for great viewing. I love being the victim for the rush of adrenaline and that hyper-awareness afterwards that really brings everything into sharp focus. I know some people could very happily life their entire lives without having to suffer through a jump scare but most everyone can agree that watching people go through them makes for some really funny entertainment. There are so many compilations on the internet of such experiences. One of my recent favorites has to be Ellen putting her producer and his assistant through various haunted walks.
What I enjoy about these moments is the sheer honesty of the victim. There’s no time to plan a reaction or compose yourself. The scare comes so quickly and with such complete resolve that you can only react in what is most natural and most honest. In that split second you are face to face with sheer terror and brutal honesty. Sure, afterwards you can laugh it off with your friends. Assure and comfort each other that it was all fake. The monsters might have been, but your reaction wasn’t.
Did you jump up and scream? Did you shrink and cower? Who did you grab onto when you were scared and needed protection. Who grabbed onto you. And what was with that absolutely ugly scared face you had.
This brings me to today’s prompt: graceful. Everyone thinks of grace as something to be displayed, like a well-tailored suit or a little black dress. It’s something we put on at the ball or at the evening opera. Grace and elegance accompany each other like two dancers doing the waltz. Some ‘possess’ a natural gracefulness and others go to charm schools to ‘acquire’ it. I think gracefulness is so much more than this. It is a product of necessity and it is the finer side of a coin. The other side is chaos.
Gracefulness is the finer way we deal with chaos and disarray. It is our victory against adversity. Being graceful isn’t just about how we move about the dance floor. It’s about how we conquer the music, take control of the rhythm, and then master the steps. Gracefulness needs a foil in which to prove itself, otherwise it is just vanity and ego. Often times you can see this in how we portray someone’s grace. We handle breakups ‘with grace’. We disarm tense and volatile situations ‘with grace’. In the face of shame or failure we can rise ‘with grace’. So for as much as we try to avoid these nasty situations the truth is we need them if we ever want to test, with honesty, the extent of our ‘gracefulness’.
I fear there is a very distinct lack of this true ‘graceful’ nature in our world today. I see too many examples of people who, having never had to face obstacles before, simply don’t know how to act. We shield ourselves too much, insulating ourselves from harm or injury, yet we still have the audacity to claim to posses the higher and nobler qualities and characteristics that come only through challenge. The ‘graceful’ way to handle insult or injury is not to spit back. The ‘graceful’ way to handle failure is not to try and change the rules or abandon the game altogether, it’s to learn from the failure and rise again to meet the challenge.
I am sometimes embarrassed and ashamed of how I’ve handled some of the moments in my life with less than stellar grace. I haven’t always had the best temperament, and I have certainly severed personal and professional relationships because of it. There is a fine amount of restraint and discipline that comes with grace that, if misunderstood, could be mistaken for submission or weakness. This is something I’ve always struggled with, not wanting to be perceived of as either of the two. Sometimes retaliation can seem so much more tempting and satisfying than grace. But as I’ve grown older, wiser, hopefully more mature, I come to crave the latter more than the former.
There are a few moments in my life now that I know will test my own personal level of gracefulness. Certainly my breakup is one as I continue to move beyond events and choose how to remember and share my story with Beautiful. I could be less than generous and graceful in my handling of the matter, but slander and vitriol would take away not only my credibility but the value in whatever lesson I could learn and share. When I eventually, carefully, try and re-enter the relationship-sphere I know that there will be times (more often than not) when my affections and attempts will be rebuffed. How will I deal with these situations? Can I handle myself to preserve whatever relationship existed prior or at the very least move on from the awkwardness of rejection with poise. Funnily enough my boss recently had a private meeting with me and apparently of the forty or fifty stores I’ve visited (some more than three times), five of them have reported me as ‘condescending’. Okay fine I admit, I expect a certain level of learning and development from grown adults. So professionally, how do I deal now with this small but perhaps growing perception people have of me. How do I grow in my field and perhaps navigate my professional development in this company or any other with grace.
What it all boils down to of course, is relationships. How do we deal with others. That is the true testament to our own graceful natures. Whether in our direct dealings or in how we are perceived by others, it is important to know that no matter what we do in that split second of challenge, it is always, one hundred percent, honest.
Man: 69 Loneliness: 19