Second Chance

I am a firm believer in the idea that first impressions are not the be all and end all. I feel that as a species, humans can be harshly and somewhat unfairly judgmental.

This belief has its roots planted in my tendency to panic when I first meet people and appear to lack a mental filter.

Either I ask something I know the answer to, or say something that, as my friend Ashleigh has to regularly remind me, you “don’t tell people that you don’t know very well”. Such an impression was illustrated the other weekend when I asked, while watching a football match, “why that guy has a different uniform to everyone else”, only to realise, as the words had been released into the air, that he was the goalie. Thus, as a result of avoiding looking uneducated, the alternate first impression I make is to appear quiet or unopinionated because I stand by the words of Abraham Lincoln: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”   

But regardless of my own personal reasons for believing in second chances, the mentality that you only have one shot at anything really concerns me on a general level. You cannot do everything perfectly the first time – you need to hit and miss. Nobody is perfect, right? On that note, I can think of a prime example of someone whose first impression was hugely impactful on me yet is now ranked very lowly in my books.

Miley, I love you. Or should I rather say: I loved you.

I loved your voice and I still think you are hugely talented. I am not ashamed to admit this. It is because of you that I have always secretly wanted an undercover double life and it is because of you that I know that nobody is perfect. So yes, I get it. Nobody is perfect. Maybe we should let you be…?

But answer me this first: what are you doing and why are you doing it? I find myself having to listen to extensive Hannah Montana songs until I start to relax after the stress that is caused from listening to or watching the music videos for some of your recent work.

I understand that it is hard being a Disney star and how long you have worked to be seen as an independent musician as opposed to a teen pop sensation. Many artists go through this same dilemma. I do not know but can only imagine how hugely frustrating it must be to be unemployable outside the realm of quirky barn dancing due to a label hovering over your head and the desire to break this mould so severely that such associations dissolve.

I also understand that you are going through the time in your life where you want to experiment and discover yourself. However, I do not understand why you seem to think this can be gained through making yourself a sex icon. It is entirely incongruent. Are you not losing whatever identity you had by becoming yet another cop-out, drug-abusing, fame-seeking star? I hope for you, Miley. The life you are currently living is not a matter of finding yourself. It is of losing yourself and it saddens me that you either don’t see this or that you don’t care.

While Miley’s first impression was leagues ahead of her second one for me, a first impression that was turned around for me was my experience of Bikram Yoga. For those of you who are unaware of what exactly it means to undergo a Bikram Yoga session, I will quite simply summarize it as: an ordinary session of yoga class in a room that is heated to 40 degrees. When I was first plunged into Satan’s fiery pits, I promptly passed out from the heat. I was thereafter denied mercy by the psychotic instructor who is probably named something like Aloe. Aloe insisted, in a sickly sweet voice, that I was “disrupting the energy in the room” by leaving and that it was a matter of my will (and not the fact that I was melting) that was making me want to leave the room. Apparently staying, envisioning my imminent drowning in a pool of my own sweat, while promising myself that I will be forever productive and kind if I made it out alive, would be “good for my skin if nothing else”… I vowed that there wasn’t a snowball’s hope in that studio that I would ever step foot in another Yoga studio.

However, something beyond this world possessed me to try it again and despite it being just as hot, it was remarkably better (in that I didn’t pass out or try escape). I now go to yoga classes three times a week… Okay fine… I go when the guilt of the slab of chocolate I have eaten outweighs the pull of my bed. I am not very good at it, sometimes have to sit down and have a little chat with myself, often start laughing when people fall over or grunt and regularly get chastised for making dramatic sighs that disrupt this bloody “energy” that Aloe is so concerned about. However, I am glad I didn’t surrender to the mentality that that which I attempt once and do not enjoy will retain the same conclusion every time.

I recently watched the film “La Haine” as one of my prescribed texts for my “Film and Media” course. There is a reoccurring quote in this film that follows the idea that the fall is irrelevant – it is the landing that matters.  So I am quite set in living by this idea and, no matter how shoddy a first impression I have on someone or something, or that they or it has on me, that I wait to see if I can stick the landing first.

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