After getting into the park and looking at all the big rides and being jealous of all the high schoolers who were going to the upside down, twisty, corkscrewy, fasty, and screaming rides..... Tatum and I went into the Hello Kitty store and she told me about all the characters and more facts that I forgot by the time we walked out. We braved it and rode the Merry Go Round. I rode a rabbit in honor of my roommate, Russell. Then we went to Snoopy Land. Yup, next to Snoopy Land is the...well, I don't know the name of it but it should be called "Holy Shit this ride is awesome!!" I watched them as I was lifted up and down on the Snoopy submarine. From there we got icees and made our way to Camp Snoopy to see the shows.
After getting lost, three times, we found snoopy land and we instantly went to the Tatum's favorite ride, The Jr. Gemini. This is a roller coaster that is actually pretty good for very young kids. It's "just right" for them. The downfall is it takes longer to get strapped in than the ride actually lasts so they let you go twice. She rode that 7 times. We didn't put our arms down once the whole time! Probably more of feat for her than me. I was trying to grab the tree limbs as we went by. Another icee later and a corndog, we went to see the Peanuts Gang dance. Holy crap. It was 90 degrees, these actors were in full costume, probably 130 degrees inside and had to dance for all..... 4 of us. There were more characters than people watching. My need to take care of the uncomfortableness set in and I made a fool of myself and did more entertaining than the characters who looked like they'd rather be at the hello kitty store.
After that was Karaoke with Snoopy. "With" is a stupid word here since sweaty actor playing Snoopy just stood there and gave high fives. Since the place was packed with Tatum and I, she of course got embarrassed and guess who sang at the 3'4" microphone stand: Uncle Jason. I tore the place up with killer rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and when I busted into my opera voice Tatum curled up in a ball and looked around in case any of her boyfriends saw her. Tatum still didn't want to sing but I finally convinced her to sing the alphabet song. I told her it was in alphabetical order so she should have no problem. She sang it and the girls working the gig told her how great she was. Of course she was! She's my niece!
But this brings me to my lesson of the day. After we left karaoke with standing silent Snoopy, I asked her why she was so hesitant of singing. Surprisingly she said "It was embarrassing". There were 2 girls, a standing sweaty Snoopy, and eventually a father and son and she was embarrassed. To some this wouldn't be big news. Kids get embarrassed, they get shy and hide. But I have been doing soul searching lately that would leave Buddha amazed and the issues I'm finding with shame, embarrassment, fear, and risk taking seems like it's something learned in life. We as humans are scared to death of embarrassing ourselves. Shame tears or insides apart. We fear showing someone that we aren't as good as we want to be and that will destroy our future and opinions made of us. If we can avoid looking bad in front of someone, we will. We'd rather do nothing than something if it meant we'd be comfortable. We prefer to only do things we're good at and are quick to point out when someone doesn't do something that is up to our standards. OUR standards. If people lived up to OUR standards, the world would be much better. At the age of 35, I understand the logic of this and see that it happens. But a 6 year old? Where does that core emotion of embarrassment stem from? What does this girl have to fear by doing something. What in our society has started those feelings at such an early age? Let's say she sings and does awful, what deep feeling has already formulated inside her that she has fear of the consequences. We all live with fear. Most problems we suffer from are all fear based. Fear of ___. What in the hell does a 6 yr old have to fear? This isn't about her personally, she just opened my eyes to this question that has been floating around in my head for awhile.
To be in front of someone is being vulnerable. We hate to be vulnerable because it usually leads to pain. By protecting our vulnerability, we protect ourselves from pain. Has she experienced pain? And if so, what kind of pain does a young child experience that we forget about as we get older? We hate to be wrong. We would give anything not to be wrong. Kids are always wrong. What difference do they know?
The funny thing about this story is if you asked my family to name the two people who were always the center of attention, they'd name me and Tatum. But when I looked at her saying that today, it's the curse that haunts every performer I saw in her behavior. As much as we perform, entertain, make people feel included, are the first to volunteer for anything..... we possess a fragile side of us that doesn't coincide with what we do. It's what has held as back as artists for centuries. We are scared to embarrass ourselves. We are afraid to be wrong. We are scared to be negatively judged. We are one pin prick away from everything we know ourselves to be from exploding into nothing. Here's my frustration: If we as artists did away with those negative feelings, there is not one thing in this universe that would stop us from being able to make every thing we dream of to come true. To change the world. To create art that was more powerful than any other force. But........ we're scared..... so it doesn't happen.
I was able to think through all this while she rode the bumper boats and Snoopy bounce house. Later, we got back to the car and it took her about 30 seconds to fall asleep. I didn't need to ride those big rides. I had the most fun thing with me the whole day.