A few weeks ago, my friends played a game which involved blindfolded people throwing socks at each other in the middle of the road.
I hate not participating, but for me, this was just one of those things where I had no choice.
I don’t like being blindfolded.
I mentioned in a previous blog entry that I am not afraid of the dark, which is true, but the feeling of total blindness still deeply unnerves me. Which is why I sometimes have problems in the darkroom, processing film. Total darkness sometimes makes me panic. It isn’t the dark - its not being able to see. It is trust. It is trusting that I will be okay; putting the control in someone else’s hands.
In primary school, Year 5 specifically, we went on an excursion to Blackbutt Reserve for ‘Buddy Training Day’. (I don’t know if all schools have this, but my primary school had a buddy system which paired kindergarten children with year-sixers. So that the little ones would feel less overwhelmed.) Anyway, one of the exercises that day was a trust exercise - we were to pair up, and one of us would be blindfolded while the other led us “safely” up the path. I was the blindfolded one. My partner led me straight into a huge concrete BBQ, and I tripped over. It hurt - not just physically.
Over the years, this same thing has happened to me more times than I can count. Blindly trusting somebody to have my back, to protect me, and then getting hurt. It happens to everyone, all the time. But for some reason, I have always, always, been the blindfolded one.
On my Year 12 Retreat, we played a game. In a large room, we were each assigned an animal. We were blindfolded and had to crawl around on the ground making that animal’s sound, listening and trying to find others like us (which, to me, sounds like a metaphor for the entire high school experience). Is it just me, or are these games that they make you play in school always unnecessarily cruel?
Teachers are sadists.
I was a kookaburra. I crawled around making kookaburra noises. I couldn’t see anything, could only hear. The animal noises began to mingle with the conversation, and soon disappeared altogether. I never found the other kookaburras. I sat on the floor for what seemed like (and turned out to be) ages. Eventually, I pulled off the blindfold, not caring if I got told off for not playing the stupid game. Only to find that I was the only one still on the ground. Only to discover that I was the only one left blindfolded. Surrounded by a sea of legs, I looked up at all of the people socialising, wondering how it could be that nobody told me we weren’t playing anymore, and that I had been making a fool of myself - sitting there, blindfolded, kookaburra-laughing my head off.
Back to the sock game. While I watched, several times the game was paused because a car was coming, and those with blindfolds were quickly lifted out of the way by other members of the group. And I have to admit that it unnerved me a bit. I have known plenty of people over the years who wouldn’t have done that for me.
The point is that I have a lot of reason not to trust. I have a lot of reason to be scared of being led blindly. But some fears need to be faced, so next time, I am not going to just sit on the sidelines and watch.
For once in my life, I have people around me that I know I can count on. So I am just going to have to put on that blindfold and put myself in their hands - and just know that they won’t let me get hurt.