The 2012 Act Three Journey of an Actress/Coach/Writer.

Day 50 Screw Rigid

Posted by themirrenlee on 19/02/2012

Screw Rigid.

Don't screw with my flexibility!

God, I am so fed up with rigid. Rigid people, rigid viewpoints, rigid schedules, rigid belief systems, rigid rigid rigid everything. If a tree is rigid, the wind breaks it; if it’s flexible like a sapling, the wind dances with it. The more people try to be rigid about things, the more they will be laughed at – and toyed with – by the Universe. It’s the basis of John Lennon’s quote: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making plans.” But still they insist on rigidity in their lives because it feels “safe”, “structured”, “immune to change” (and to paraphrase South Park, they think: “Change is bad, mkay?”).

Flexible seems to be a dirty word. It’s applied to porn stars and strippers. People who want flexible lifestyles – more time to do what they love other than just making a living – are considered flighty. Hippies. My daughter wants to do more traveling this year. Not a holiday, real wandering-type traveling, both to places she hasn’t been before, as well as places/people she wants to revisit. She’s not sure when she wants to leave yet, or how long she’ll be away for. Flexible. The message she’s getting from everyone around her is that she’s “not settling down”. My god, they say, you’ll be 25 next month – what about university, career path, babies, house buying?! You know, the rigid schedule we must all adhere to. Flexible is irresponsible.

Tell the people who decided to take the day off work on 9/11 how “bad” flexible is.

I made a decision today in the face of rigid behavior: I’m not making any more plans with people. My new motto will be: “Let’s see what happens.” Funnily enough, that’s one of the main directives in Theater Games that Viola Spolin (the creator) talks about. She says to go out there with our mind focused on what problem we’re trying to solve, and “just see what happens.” Most people are afraid of improvisational work, but not the ones who follow this directive.

“Let’s see what happens.” The ultimate “living in the moment”. Not fretting about yesterday, or worrying about tomorrow, just being RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW, AT THIS MOMENT IN TIME. I’m having a cup of coffee and reading the paper. You want me to go shopping with you on Tuesday? Well, let’s see what happens.

Okay, I’m not saying we should, or even can, live every moment like that. But a bit more of it certainly wouldn’t hurt. Especially for people with chronic illnesses/conditions. I have to take into account with my Fibromyalgia how many Spoons I’ll be starting the day with, and how many I’ll need for the plans. (See yesterday’s Post on The Spoon Theory.) I also have to know if it will be a “day off” or “day on” in terms of what I’ve been doing on other days. Making plans – which then seem to get locked into a rigid “SHOULD”, “MUST’, “CAN’T CHANGE IT” with most people – ends up causing guilt feelings if I don’t feel up to it on the day. I have gotten into the habit of making up excuses because the guilt is followed by shame that I can’t control my condition. Which, of course, is not only illogical but causes me stress that makes my condition worse.

Today I had to break a plan. The good news is I had a breakthrough at the same time. I didn’t make up an excuse; I simply said I wasn’t up to it. The guilt tripping games started. Okay, they said, they’d go by themselves. Never mind, they said, they understood, but oh dear, it was messing things up once they’d been planned. Rigid. I started to feel bad. Then I started to feel mad. Mad is better. Screw rigid. I can’t do it, and that’s that. Go by yourself, if you want. Don’t go at all, if you want. Or wait for me to feel better. Wait and see what happens – with me and my energy. I’m worth waiting for. That’s the crux of it right there. You either believe I’m worth being flexible for, or you don’t. And if you don’t, well, then, that tells me something about our relationship, doesn’t it?

So I feel good about how I’m going to handle rigidity now. If it feels rigid, screw it. Simple. I’m not going to be attached to commitments. I’m going to live a flexible life, and I’m pretty sure it’ll take another layer of stress out of it, which will only make me healthier.

Commitments are important, don’t get me wrong. But no commitment is worth your health. If you wreck that, then you can forget about being able to make any commitments at all.

If only it were that easy to convince the media that their rigid adherence to only bad news isn’t helpful for society’s morale (which is tied in with society’s health). The motto they live by: “If it bleeds, it leads,” really needs to be changed to, “If it’s fun, page one.” Wouldn’t you love to see feel good stories with happy endings first, and all the bad stuff at the end? (Then you’d know to when to avoid it completely!)

If it were only that easy to convince politicians that sticking to a rigid platform of attacking each other is also bad for society’s morale. AND makes people stop wanting to read about politics at all. (Side note: how can we stop the bullying epidemic if that’s all we see in our leaders?) It’s also stupid for them to appear rigid because how many times do their previous stances and quotes come back to bite them in the ass! Of course people change viewpoints through the years – it’s called growth – so why pretend that it never happens to them?

Wouldn’t it be unbelievably wonderful if just once in awhile one politician praised another for their efforts? I know, the Winter Olympics will open in Hell before that happens. Sigh.

If it were only that easy to convince society in general that they make the rules, and the viewpoints, and the value systems, and they’re different for different societies – and they can change them. They think that mindset is written in irreversible blood, but it’s not – it’s just groupthink. And it’s kind of scary, because it’s hard to fight against. But if you want to do something more flexible than what is expected of you, find the courage to say, “Screw rigid.”

I’m going to be the flexible change I’d like to see. I sure hope I see it in others, as well. Otherwise, as Dr. Phil might say to them, “How’s that rigidity working out for you?”

There’s only one rigid fact of life you can’t change, and that’s death. Why not get the most of out of your life by being a bit more flexible before the real rigid comes?

I’m just askin’ …

2 Responses to “Day 50 Screw Rigid”

  1. I’m with you, “Screw Rigid.” Your daughter should embrace life and travel as much as possible, if that is what she’d interested in doing. She’s young and the experiences she’ll have and people she’ll meet will be far more important and interesting than those she’d have staying home–just to not look rigid! Yes, we should all get the most out of life. Just one chance and it is so brief.

    • I told my daughter what you wrote and she was touched by your support because she has to argue constantly how she doesn’t want to follow the family’s beliefs (on her father’s side – I’m considered a bohemian eccentric hippie!). You know, I think the only people who DON’T realize how short life is, and how much we need to get fun experiences out of it as much as we can, are very young people and those with good health. They think they will always have either/both and be able to do anything when they want. Ah, the dangers of smug, right? Life comes along and before you know it, you’re old or sick or both. I say grab it all while you can.

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