My favourite movie when I was growing up was the Wizard of Oz. I am actually reluctant to watch it now because I’m scared it wont be as good as it used to be or I won’t love it as much and I want to hold on to the idea I have of it rather than be disappointed. I loved the songs and the lion and the big balloon ride and the moment when Dorothy first lands in oz and it’s all colourful. Even at a young age I loved how at the beginning it’s dedicated to those who are young at heart.
It’s scary when you really want something. Scary to hope that it might actually happen, or come to you or turn out the way you want. It can feel unsafe to hope because if it doesn’t work out the way you want it to you will be disappointed and we all want to protect ourselves from that grief, sadness and hurt feeling. And when we are disappointed who else are we going to turn on than that little hopeful part of us and blame them for being naïve enough to believe it was possible. We call ourselves a fool and promise we will never make the same mistake; never hope again.
I recently realised that the fool is one of my very favourite tarot cards. In traditional-type depictions he looks like he’s about to dance right off the edge of a cliff, completely unaware of what’s facing him. He’s not looking at the ground or what’s actually around him, but has his eyes cast upwards, to the future, to what’s possible. I think his name – the fool – suggests a bit of a negative undertone which I don’t think he deserves. He’s not really bad or good, just hopeful, happy and having a good time in his dreamy world.
Maybe I feel affinity with the fool because for the past few years, I gotta say, predominantly I have felt pretty foolish. I haven’t had much structure or stability or financial security at all. To the objective, unbiased onlooker; it has all looked pretty foolish. I have kept trying to look up, to believe, hope and pray when all around are warning signs, bills to pay, worries to worry about. It’s been hard at times not to feel completely stupid, irresponsible and a damned fool.
There is so much pressure on us all the time to know everything, to be comfortable in every situation, to be aware and responsible and sensible, to have all the answers and all the right things to say; to know who we are and where we’re going. And there is so much fear in being labelled foolish or unaware, lost or naïve. But if the truth is that we’re not in control, and we honestly don’t know everything, maybe sometimes we are just going to have to play the fool and learn to be ok with that.
When you start a new job or relationship or educational course or you’re using a foreign public transport system or you go to a library you’ve never been to before or basically anything that’s new to you, where there’s something to figure out that you don’t know about; then it’s likely you’re going to feel a bit foolish until you do. Rather than be ashamed of it, we should be able to accept that as a normal part of life. Not a sign of weakness or stupidity just an opportunity to learn more, to broaden our understanding, and even sort of nice to feel humbled by our lack of knowledge and our ignorance.
When we hope something will happen, maybe we are just going to feel like a fool until or unless it does. I think there’s a lot of vulnerability in hoping and wishing despite not knowing if things will be ok. It often feels like a very young, precious part of us that hopes over and over again. And despite being disappointed before, this part of us will still earnestly cross fingers and toes and overall believe in the very exciting prospects of life.
This hopeful part of us isn’t really concerned with day to day, grounded reality – and maybe it shouldn’t be. Maybe it’s where all our unbridled creativity comes from. Maybe in this reality, anything is possible; all the light, passion, love, beauty in the world is there and available. Risks aren’t worth worrying about and everything you want, your wildest dreams can manifest.
I’m not saying that being cautious or sensible and responsible doesn’t have its place. Because after a few years without much of it, I have really come to value security, like I never had before. But we also need to embrace that side of us that is a bit of a fool. That will keep hoping, despite the odds; that doesn’t know everything and doesn’t pretend to; that is innocent and optimistic and precious and that part of you that will forever be, no matter what life throws at you, young at heart.