asakiyume: (miroku)
[personal profile] asakiyume
Sometimes in yoga class, we balance on one foot. If we're all balancing with no problem, the instructor suggests we try it with our eyes closed. "It's much, much harder," she says. Have tried, can confirm.

This came up in the movie Roma, which I watched the other day. The protagonist--young housekeeper Cleo--is trying to get in touch with the asshole father of her baby, who's doing some kendo-style training out in the back of beyond. They're all chanting Japanese numbers in unison and taking stances, and then a guest sensei-type says he's going to show them something impressive, and he asks for a blindfold. Blindfolded, he balances on one foot with his arms forming a diamond over his head.

"You think this is nothing much?" he says to the trainees and those watching. "You all try." So everyone starts trying, and everyone's losing their balance and hopping around and falling over. Except Cleo. In a long-distance shot of her up on the ridge, with other onlookers, you see her balancing perfectly. It's just for a moment.

... Annnnd it doesn't really have any significance? The movie just keeps going along.

I was telling the story of this to the healing angel, and she immediately tried doing the thing--of course, who wouldn't! But she really, really wanted to be able to do it, and this was making me think how driven people are to have external markers of specialness, regardless of any meaning or context. If she could do it, or if she gets to be able to do with with practice, what will that mean... other than that she can balance in a manner that very few people can do? Is that in itself an accomplishment? I mean, if it makes you happy and doesn't harm others, I don't have a problem with it, but.

... Which is also making me think of an assignment the students had at the program I help out at (not the jail, the other one)--they had to talk about the use of the word "special" as an insult. One of the other volunteers went so far as to say that no one ever wants to be special in any way; everyone just wants to blend in. I don't think this is how most people feel; I think a lot of people would like to be special if it's a good kind of special and not a bad kind, especially in societies that set a high value on individualism. But maybe I'm conflating good-specialness with excellence.

... Just random thoughts. I haven't posted in a while and wanted to share something, and that's what came out.

Date: 2018-12-22 06:51 pm (UTC)
mallorys_camera: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mallorys_camera
I think the term "special needs" for disabilities may have been the beginning of a semantic decline for the word "special." :-)

And I noticed that about Cleo, too! It was a throwaway shot, if I'm remembering: a long shot of people in a crowd all trying the pose with their eyes closed and just one—our plucky heroine!—succeeding.

I suspected much of the "message" of the movie—if the movie had a message—was in that one scene! But absolutely none of the Roma reviews I read mentioned the scene. :-)

Date: 2018-12-22 07:13 pm (UTC)
threemeninaboat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] threemeninaboat
I do this in therapy when people ask me how eyes relate to balance.

Date: 2018-12-22 07:24 pm (UTC)
gale_storm: (Default)
From: [personal profile] gale_storm
Oh, yep, mallorys_camera got it in one.

So, this character balanced on one foot, but was she wearing a blindfold, too? One fascinating challenge is for people to wear blindfolds and tld to walk in a straight line. Everyone thinks they did, but they seem to peel off to the right and continue walking until their walking pattern resembles an ammonite, one of the extinct sea species. Not that the people are walking themselves into exticntion, unless they're lemmings, in which-- okay, not then either. :-D

Date: 2018-12-22 07:47 pm (UTC)
sartorias: (brain)
From: [personal profile] sartorias
I think "special" is one of those words that depends so much on context and tone.

"So you think you're special, don't have to obey the rules like the rest of us?"

"We have a special guest!"

"He's a special needs kid."

"She's special to me."

"They are specialists."

"Watch out, she's special force."

"Here he comes, the noonday special!"

All these are different, and even these can have shades. It's a . . . special word!

Date: 2018-12-22 08:10 pm (UTC)
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
From: [personal profile] randomdreams
I had a friend who couldn't balance if she closed her eyes. Couldn't even stand up with both feet on the ground.

Date: 2018-12-23 02:42 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] shalpacafarm
I was just coming here to say there was a brain-damaged horse at my university who could stay standing only when his eyes were open. No one could ride him for insurance reasons.

Date: 2018-12-23 01:02 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] shalpacafarm
It was a long time ago but I think it was something like meningitis? Equine encephalitis? He was a sweet horse, well loved, used to working all day long. He was bewildered when suddenly he was a pasture pet.

Date: 2018-12-23 12:39 pm (UTC)
mrissa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrissa
The proprietor of this DW does too. Hi.

This is one of my tests for how badly my vestibular function is doing, because it's ALWAYS doing badly, but the question is, how FAR will I lean to the left when I close my eyes.

Date: 2018-12-23 12:57 pm (UTC)
mrissa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrissa
Yah, I am left-footed, and the damage in my right ear is worse.

Also, no, after 18 months of thrice daily PT, missing only one session, we discovered that it did not help me recover/increase my balance. Staving off further loss: sort of, but not completely. For me it's a complicated equation because there's a tipping point in where my brain/body are in the cycle where challenging it makes it worse rather than better. We find that tipping point each time through the cycle (18-24 month cycle) the hard way.

yay yay whee what fun

Date: 2018-12-24 04:20 am (UTC)
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
From: [personal profile] randomdreams
You're not named Whitney IRL, are you?

Date: 2018-12-24 04:30 am (UTC)
mrissa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrissa
Not even a little. My name and my face are pretty close to what my passport will show you.

Date: 2018-12-22 08:27 pm (UTC)
queenoftheskies: queenoftheskies (Default)
From: [personal profile] queenoftheskies
I think there are people who want to be special if it sets them higher than others.

But, for most, I think special is a personal thing. They want to be special to themselves. Inside.

Date: 2018-12-22 09:27 pm (UTC)
minoanmiss: Nubian Minoan Lady (Nubian Minoan Lady)
From: [personal profile] minoanmiss
Was the person who said "no one wants to be special at all" a POC?

One thing that has been part of my experience of being a Black girl is how being special in "Good" ways can be socially punished. People from one's group think one is trying to show off and a fake member (an "Oreo" in my case); people from the majority treat one more like a trick pony than a talented human.

Date: 2018-12-23 03:15 am (UTC)
minoanmiss: (Default)
From: [personal profile] minoanmiss

nod MAny working class people also have that experience. I would speculate about sociopolitics but I have both too much and not enough cold medicine in me. :)

Date: 2018-12-22 09:53 pm (UTC)
cmcmck: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cmcmck
Oddly, when I was working with people with dyslexia, getting them to balance on one leg with eyes closed was a really good way of focusing the mind to deal with some of the issues the condition creates.

Shame it doesn't seem to help those of us who are dysnumeric!

Date: 2018-12-22 10:33 pm (UTC)
okrablossom: (somerville watercolor)
From: [personal profile] okrablossom
Ha! Balancing with my eyes closed is my physical therapy "homework" while I'm in yoga classes. The PT said "it's never too early to force your vestibular balance system to improve!" It's a good thing to do even in two-footed poses, like warriors.

Nice to hear from you!

Date: 2018-12-23 02:57 am (UTC)
amaebi: black fox (Default)
From: [personal profile] amaebi
For myself, I found when I needed to do some therapy for seminary that my experience is that when people tell me I'm special in any way they're about to try to hurt me.

As an observer: So many people do indeed seem intent on internal certainty that they're special. Extra-bad tempers, uniquely musical, geniuses or near-geniuses, psychic healers, and so on.

Date: 2018-12-23 03:55 am (UTC)
sonia: Quilted wall-hanging (Default)
From: [personal profile] sonia
I wouldn't have been able to put it into words, but this resonated for me unexpectedly, that when people say I'm special they're about to try to hurt me. A manipulative tool.

I'm sorry that that happened to you, and I am sincerely hoping that you put it into words in therapy, rather than the therapists themselves hurting you.

And, even when people mean it kindly, there is sometimes an undertow of, "It's okay, you can't help being different."

Date: 2018-12-23 07:48 pm (UTC)
sonia: Quilted wall-hanging (Default)
From: [personal profile] sonia
That's a wise approach! I would like to not care about not fitting in, but at some level I do wish I could.

Date: 2018-12-23 01:18 pm (UTC)
amaebi: black fox (Default)
From: [personal profile] amaebi
Most of my childhood was really excellent, I think. Maybe you're confusing me with someone else? Until my father died I didn't get any of this at home, afterward from my sister, but she was younger, and it took me quite a while to parse out what was up. While my mother was pro-Amanda and anti-me, it wasn't on those grounds.

My father habitually treated everyone s distinctive and important, bless him. And I think I learned that perspective from him.

I think that little girls are often, maybe in usually allowed to be capable in the United States. It's women who are supposed to be good-natured just-capable-enough minions. And admirers.
Edited Date: 2018-12-23 01:20 pm (UTC)

Date: 2018-12-23 03:18 pm (UTC)
amaebi: black fox (Default)
From: [personal profile] amaebi
I should never have doubted you. :)

As a child and in my early teens, I think I was as much of an "I'm special" twerp as anyone. :D

Date: 2018-12-23 03:39 pm (UTC)
st_martin_a: (Default)
From: [personal profile] st_martin_a
I've seen Roma advertised.
It's one I want to see.

And I'm going to have to try standing in one leg with my eyes closed now too.

Date: 2018-12-23 09:24 pm (UTC)
st_martin_a: (Default)
From: [personal profile] st_martin_a
I'll let you know.
:)

Date: 2019-01-02 08:25 am (UTC)
wayfaringwordhack: (art - monk)
From: [personal profile] wayfaringwordhack
Of course, I had to stand up immediately and try to balance when you said that healing angel did, too. :P I was able to do it with eyes close and now wonder if a blindfold matters. Wait, let me try... Nope, didn't make a difference.

I loved this thread and all the ideas and pitfalls behind words and how we use them.

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