Learning to fall…
I speak now as Aimee O’Connell; not just the founding Missionary of the Mission of Saint Thorlak, but as someone who myself has been frustrated for decades by my inability to reconcile the messages of self-esteem with intense social anxiety, perfectionism and the sense that I am only as good as my performance. I am overly literal, and therefore I dismiss affirmations that come from a book and could not possibly predict my competence at any given moment. I do not like bold statements without disclaimers because there will always be some variable, somewhere, which invalidates even the somewhat relative generalizations like “I am doing the best I can with what I have.” Or, my spiritual needs do not fit the categories of self-affirmation. “I am likable” may be true, but serves to magnify, not counteract, the loneliness I have felt most of my life.
The concept finally made sense to me when I was first introduced to a learn-to-bike camp for older kids who are too tall for training bikes but still lack the core strength to pedal fast enough to balance. Most of these young people contend with autism spectrum issues, so their sensory overinterpretation makes each wobble in the bicycling process seem like a major earthquake. I attended the public information session for this camp with much academic interest. The brochures claimed high success rates, and I wondered... what could their secret be? Specially adapted bicycles? Coaches trained not to provoke anxiety from children trying to please them? Padded mats to crash on?