Christalynn Hamer, 130 TESS
Perspective is magic. Waiting is the skill. Perception is the sleight of hand. I believe we are always on the brink of something masterful, something so colorful and fervent it’s often misunderstood or chopped up to nothing more than a pipe dream. I’m an ideas-girl; that’s my super power, so fantasy and what-ifs are my specialty, but I soon discovered a prophetic bundle of lessons and growing pains were a part of the package. Instinctively I ran, but here, intention has glued my soles to the ground and now I’m nose to nose with learning to be quiet, to wait, and to relinquish expectations.
Last December I stumbled on a magic act while roaming the Memphis Zoo. A magician decked in red sequins and charisma commanded a twenty foot diameter circle. Toward the end of the act, he sought out a young boy no older than a pratom one student. At first the little one was apprehensive, but curiosity kept him from running away. Before each trick, the magician revealed his secret to the audience so the young boy became a comedy act with every jaw drop and wide-eyed gaze, embodying the purity of awe, wonder, and bewilderment. I find that space when I am quiet; when I use my eyes to observe the many reasons to stay. When I let the students own the lesson and teach me with their spontaneity and childlike exploration, but there’s a duality. The time I spend in silence also breeds misunderstanding. I am but a wide eyed soul seeing truth through a magnifying glass. One lens will never tell the whole story, so I must wait for understanding.
It was as if every trick was this spectacular anomaly, simply unfathomable and shaking. With his eyebrows to the ceiling and his lips gapped, his neck slightly strained forward as if to sneak a peek of the trick before it was time. The anticipation increased while the boy’s eyes glazed with investment and longing for the “next” to reach the “now”. I imagine the young boy’s mind was still. Questions had no space to linger. His thoughts were consumed in the still breath of waiting.
It’s the waiting, the climatic rise that creates the gasps, the oohs, the awws, the sighs when the end is revealed. To be real, the waiting can be a patient friend whose hugs feel more like a choke hold than a comforting embrace. And for me. It’s more than a lack of patience that keeps me squirming, it’s a rigid perspective that expects a particular outcome and behavior from others that may or may not happen. Sitting in a powder puff pink classroom mulling over conversations I thought I’d never have or had to explain because all humans consider each other equally right? Bruh, you’re the problem! Now you know momma said you can’t make people change; you’ve gotta do the changing, I’d heard in the back of my head. A reminder that though validation is comforting, it’s a temporary fix; it doesn’t make me right. Sometimes it just makes me rigid, and Lord knows that kind of thinking will snap me in two like a frozen laffy taffy. I’ve stood on my soap box advocating for willingness to pursue opportunities based on what can be not on what has been because it’s about the students! And they have potential! You have potential…little did I realize, waiting is less about the outcome and more about the one making it happen. What use is a bunny in a hat if the magician can’t find it? Mastery lies in the waiting.
The closer we got to the end of the show the more amped the young boy became, so by the end, it was evident he’d bought into the magic. Before closing his act, the magician reminisced, as most entertainers do, about the moment he began his career. I’m convinced the magician had the same hopeful smirk on his face the night he fell in love with magic as the young boy did that evening. In return for being his guinea pig, the magician gave the little boy a book of tricks—how-to’s on each trick he had done that evening and more. No longer bashful, he zealously accepted the book, took a bow, and joined his family. Awareness is the stuff anvils are made of. It’s the anchor that holds my head in place when it wants to float away with my limited perspective. According to Merriam Webster the definition of perception is the awareness of the elements of environment through physical sensation. So now every day I ask myself: is the air stiff with misunderstanding; is the rhythm of our tongues staccato or are we singing a legato ballad; am I breathing in rich kindness that warms my belly; is the space between her brows flush with peace? These are my how-to’s that force me to ask the really uncomfortable questions that make me feel as vulnerable as a golden baked turkey on Thanksgiving. That propel me into courage to handle the fragile “firsts” of these days. No everyday isn’t a an eggshell dance, but I do slide closer to an enlightened perception that holds perspective at a wand’s length, waiting in my rabbit’s hat, and courage to continue to be an ideas-girl up my sleeve.
Read Christalynn’s previous article ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY SUPREMELY IMPERFECT DAYS.