OK – fair enough, my last post was a bit of whimsy combined with a bit of “fake it till you make it.” I was feeling cynical and jaded and also simultaneously aware of the fact that my life is pretty darn fabulous, and that I shouldn’t be so snarky. After all, I am paid to travel the world to bring escape and joy and wonder to people I do not know. That’s a gig that I wish everyone could have, if only for a little while.
The reality is – that was the first time that I posted a new entry to my blog and received no comments, no likes, no new followers. So you guys sniffed me out.
Honesty will always win over fluffiness. I mean, sure, we all appreciate comedy and lightness. And I do honestly believe that a good healthy dose of the muppets is good for everyone’s soul. But let’s look at that, honestly, the muppets are so well deserving of our adulation because they were all about social commentary. They were considered palatable for our children (myself included) purely because they were fuzzy, but boy, did they bring life lessons to us wee sponges. And, as much as I hate to admit it, my last post was not what I was thinking, but what I wanted to be thinking about. (Although, I do stand by the wonderfulness of chocolate mousse…it is pretty fabulous.)
I have a treasured picture of myself in 1979 (way to date myself) sitting in my pajamas, watching the muppets. Well, actually, it was Sesame Street, but the same idea applies, and the same amazing mind was behind it all. My dad took that picture. He was standing behind me and the picture is of me and my cat, Korschka, sitting and watching Bert and Ernie (on a black and white Zenith TV–no remote), both of us with our heads tilted the same way, totally absorbed. And for good reason. We were learning quite a bit. Never mind the discussions that came out in the 90s about how Bert was gay and all that crap wherein adults were trying to cast out a muppet for an alternative lifestyle. Because there I was, living in a household soon to split due to irreconcilable differences and mental illness, and I was learning how to relate to other people. From those two muppets I was getting my first lessons in how to love, care and participate in a relationship–no matter how it was defined. And for all those “adults” who decided to try to vilify Bert and Ernie in the 90’s — shame on you. I learned more from them than I learned in any classroom or in my childhood home. Personally, I think you should all thank whatever mystical thing you believe in for Bert and Ernie and Big Bird and Snuffalupagus and Kermit and Miss Piggy….and especially for Grover…he was always my favorite.
We lived out in the country at the time. No kids around. We had a few wonderful retired folks around us, but I wasn’t at school yet, I was four years old and had no “peers.” I was small enough that our postage-stamp sized backyard was big enough to me that it was a day long expedition to get to my swing set on the “far” side. An expedition that required sandwiches and an apple. That’s how small I was in the big world around me, and having been there as an adult, a pretty good metaphor for how I perceived myself in the “big world.” There was something about those two muppets that drew my attention. Something I didn’t know, but needed to understand. They cared about each other, and, as much as I love my parents, I hadn’t seen much of that. As an adult I can say that they had outlived the time they were supposed to be together, and with all sincerity, I believe that. With heart, and mind and soul. But as a four-year old, I got my cues from the muppets. Well, truth be told, Mork and Mindy played a big part as well….but that might just have been me.
So the reality is, the post I was trying not to write before was about a dip in my faith in humanity. Or, to put it more accurately, my belief in what being an adult is. Why? Well, here we are, having just opened a fabulous show. And I should be on cloud nine because for the most part, everyone here seems to love it. They seem to appreciate what we do, which in all honesty is not rocket science or about curing cancer, it’s about abandon. It’s about creating a space where the troubles don’t matter, where the only expectation is that you let yourself go, and experience the world we have created for you. Even for just a few hours.
To do this took a year of painstaking planning, coordination of several groups of people, and, upon our arrival in London, quite a few days of long hours to make it happen in time. But for all the preparation, and all the fore-warning about what this would require, I found myself with a group of people who at times have turned totally irrational. Now, in our defense, and I do mean “our” because none of us are perfect, we all had times where we forgot the greater picture, and we got nasty or narrow-minded or just plain selfish. And in the end I am responsible for these people. Every single one of them is brilliant, exceptionally skilled in their own ways, passionate sometimes to the breaking point, and in my version of becoming irrational, when they became cranky, snarky, selfish, tunnel-visioned, what have you, I wanted to scream for finding some way to get them to breathe, take a step back and stop them from going down the road they were heading.
But I didn’t scream. Because I knew that their passion, and in some ways that very determined focus on their respective aspects, their specialties, their expertise, was exactly what we needed as a team to accomplish what we have. But the division dismays me. We are a dysfunctional family. And honestly, I believe all families are dysfunctional….even those that appear to be the Cleavers (and for those who get that reference without googling it, I have now dated you but I celebrate you). None of us are perfect. None of us can claim to have a perfect day every day. And for anyone that thinks that they have perfect days, shame on them. We are all human, and therefore fallible. We are exposed every moment to the opportunity to learn. Sometimes we take that opportunity, sometimes we don’t.
Is it a hangable offence to go the way that is familiar, comfortable, no matter how messy it is? No, it’s human — but I suppose it’s just as human to hope…that we might all learn to take a breath and think before we speak or act…together. I know I try, and do not always succeed…so I wonder, with so many under my “responsibility” — do I expect too much or am I settling for “just enough.”
So I beg you all – revisit the muppets….whether its the Muppet Show or Sesame Street. Check it out again, because it’s worth your time, and the wisdom is right up there with Winnie the Pooh, Mahatma Ghandi, and whatever mystical thing you find resonates for you. Revisit your lessons – I know I will, because we are all imperfect, and yet perfect, at the same time. It takes only the willingness to see beyond the obvious to know what might be possible.
As a friend of mine has always said – “flower your dreams.” Take that as you will.