Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mommy's Project 52:13 Bathing


Two children bathing in a small metal bath tubNot Ethel and Fred
I am really enjoying being a part of Mommy's Project 52, and am pleased to have participated each of the 13 weeks since it started!  Some weeks are easier than others to find inspiration for an entry, and since I'm a mom, it would be so easy to write about my kids.  There is just so much to write about when there are kids in the house.  This week is no different, of course, with the subject of 'bathing'.  Kids get dirty, kids need baths.  Mine are no different.  And, at the tender ages of nearly 7 and 4.5, they do bathe together.  In the tub.  Together.  Yes, they do, and I'm totally cool with that, as are they.  But that's not what I'm going to write about today.  Nope, sorry.

In high school, I was a music geek {in today's vernacular, Gleek}.  I took more music classes in high school than any other class.  I played flute and piccolo, and I sang soprano.  Was I good?  Eh, I was OK, never all that great.  Still, I enjoyed the benefits of the vast array of instruction that lay at my fingertips and I loved every minute of it.  Except performing solo.

I have terrible stage fright, and deep down, I'm really shy.  Like, super shy and terrified of new situations, especially when I'm solo.  Back in junior high school, I adopted a coping mechanism to deal with all the teasing I got (let's just say braces and buck-teeth, a straight bob hair cut, thick eyebrows and huge glasses don't do much for the ego, but it's a feast for the mean kids), and the fear that gripped me just being with other people.  Eventually, I realized that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!  And so emerged the loud, funny, jovial personality that most people encounter when they are with me today.


You're probably wondering what all this has to do with bathing, aren't you?  Ya, I would be, too.  Don't worry, I'm getting to that.


So this shy kid (me, of course) decides to pick up an instrument, because her friend who has natural talent festering in her bones best friend at the time told her it would be fun for us to do together.  Figuring I 'should', I took the bait and picked the instrument my friend did, the flute.  We also joined the chorus together, and in the end, we shared music until we graduated from high school.


It was in one of my high school choir classes that we discussed, you guessed it {probably not}, bathing.  OK, now let's get real.  Choir and bathing?  You've got to be kidding me!  Well, young singers often try to mimic the sounds and styles of artists they hear, especially those they emulate.  It's an easy trap to fall in to.  Additionally, many artists have a fear of performing, or stage fright.  In general, people are rather hesitant to go outside their comfort zone.  They have patterns, rituals, routines, and you're hard-pressed to get someone to go outside their comfort zone.  Think about it.

So, this brought us to the subject of bathingBathing is a pretty routine task.  We do it almost on auto pilot, we don't even need to think about it.  We have our routine, we're comfortable with it, and we don't deviate from that.

I'd venture to say that most people fall in to the "wash hair, then body, then rinse" camp.  Others are in the "wash hair, rinse, wash body, rinse" camp.  Some stand facing the shower head, others stand with their back to the shower head, letting the water beat the back of their head.  How many people, do you think, are part of the "wash body first, then hair" camp?  What?  Wash your body first?  You're crazy, nobody would do that!  Of course not!

And so, we were challenged by our teacher, to bathe backwards.  Yes, we were instructed to deviate from our routine, change things up, and do it all backwards, or at least - out of order.   Or, depending on whether you face toward or away from the shower head, literally bathe backwards.

Have you ever tried to do something, something you do every day - probably the same way every time - out of order or backwards?  If not, I dare you to try!  I tried it.  I did everything out of order when I showered the next day.  It was a seriously strange feeling.  Not on the scale of performing solo, public speaking, or going to a party alone wearing a glittery dress (or worse, nude!).  Still, it was out of my comfort zone, it was different than my normal routine, and it made me understand how that feeling isn't really that bad afterall.


While bathing backwards didn't solve my issue with stage fright, and didn't improve my musical talent, it did point out the routine nature of tasks we do every day, including, at that time, singing.  We establish patterns very easily and it's easy to get into a rut rather than a groove.  When you find yourself just going with the motions, repeating the same tasks, moving along on auto pilot, I encourage you to bathe backwards.  Wash your feet before your face, shave your legs before washing your hair, clean out your armpits before you shave your face, just mix it up!

You may never think of bathing the same way again.
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