Taking my soul for a spin

I twirled today.

For those of you read­ing this who are not per­son­al­ly acquaint­ed with this author, this may seem a very curi­ous state­ment. Per­haps it seems so even to those who do know me, who know the me I have been of late. But I am reawak­en­ing to a strug­gle to uncov­er my true God-giv­en self, and I realised tonight that one small but impor­tant aspect of that true self is the twirl.

I do not recall when I first start­ing twirling. It is not a com­plex action: just a snap­py lit­tle run­way turn I learned in my 4‑H fash­ion mod­el days. I am strid­ing along and with­out warn­ing exe­cute a quick 180º piv­ot on the balls of my feet. On the cat­walk I would then reverse this turn and con­tin­ue on strut­ting my stuff, but at some point my col­lege-age self decid­ed two things. The first was a tech­ni­cal mod­i­fi­ca­tion: by shift­ing my weight to what had orig­i­nal­ly been my back foot and swing­ing what had been my front foot quick­ly around in the direc­tion of the turn, I could make this sil­ly lit­tle back-and-forth move into a full rev­o­lu­tion with­out real­ly break­ing my stride. The sec­ond deci­sion I made was that I could do this move any­where, at any time.

And so I became a twirler. I do not think I real­ly start­ed doing this on any reg­u­lar basis until after I grad­u­at­ed from col­lege, for I am fair­ly cer­tain that it was a book­store friend who dubbed the move thus. “Beanie, did you just twirl?” she asked me, and what could I say? I so obvi­ous­ly had, and would con­tin­ue to do so for sev­er­al years. Before long I came to find it an effec­tive way to turn cor­ners while main­tain­ing a quick pace; instead of a 360º rev­o­lu­tion, it stretched into a 450º as I spun quick­ly in the direc­tion oppo­site from my intend­ed turn and then straight­ened it out, using my momen­tum from the twirl to con­tin­ue my lanky stride off in the new direc­tion. I don’t know what cus­tomers thought of this dis­play, for I nev­er asked them. But I do know my friends and co-work­ers were all bemused to var­i­ous extents. It was just anoth­er eccen­tric­i­ty in the ever-expand­ing odd­i­ty that was the dai­ly Bean­er Show.

Tonight I was strid­ing home along the dark­ened side­walk, eager to arrive home after yet anoth­er long soul-devour­ing day at work. There is a sig­nif­i­cant detail I need to point out in that sen­tence: I was strid­ing. I do not daw­dle on my night­ly return to the bosom of my fam­i­ly, but the appel­la­tion I typ­i­cal­ly employ in ref­er­ence to my pace is slog. It is sim­ply the most I can push myself to on most days. But tonight, for the first time in a very long time, I was strid­ing again.

It was a won­der­ful feel­ing, and car­ried away by the small eupho­ria of the moment, I twirled. It was dark, the side­walk is not par­tic­u­lar­ly well-lit along that stretch of my walk home, but it is a busy res­i­den­tial street, and many cars were pass­ing from both direc­tions at that par­tic­u­lar moment. I can­not be sure some­one saw me, but it is not unlike­ly. And I felt so free, so unchained, so alive. I felt myself again.

It imme­di­ate­ly occurred to me that for all my trade­mark twirling in pre­ced­ing years, I had nev­er before done it alone in pub­lic like this. I had of course twirled many times in var­i­ous pub­lic places in the com­pa­ny of my friends. But it seems to me that in the com­pa­ny of a group of friends, par­tic­u­lar­ly at a cer­tain stage of young adult­hood, you cre­ate a sort of rov­ing pri­vate wher­ev­er you go. My friends formed an unseen bub­ble of shared expe­ri­ence that enabled me to be as, well, as shame­less as I was at that time. But now I was tru­ly out on my own. I had no posse of amused con­tem­po­raries to smile at my antics. I had no emo­tion­al screen from the pub­lic gaze. But I realised that that need not pre­vent me from spon­ta­neous exu­ber­ance. And with that real­i­sa­tion I took an impor­tant step, or rather an impor­tant twirl, toward shed­ding the dead­weight that I have allowed to encrust my once-flam­boy­ant soul. Soon, I hope, I can spin it all away, and begin to live a life of free­dom and joy once again. I think I know a young wife some­where who would­n’t mind if that came to pass.


  1. Very nice. I say twirl away. And I can only think that per­haps a passer­by in a car, upon see­ing you twirl, thought, ‘hey, that was cool. That guy twirled. He’s a twirler. He’s livin life.’

  2. You raise an inter­est­ing addi­tion­al point. I won­der if this can be said to be true, that we can­not hope to inspire oth­ers unless we are first able to inspire our­selves. Or, to put it anoth­er way, if our life is all dark­ness, we will not shed any light out into the world until we first bring light back into our own soul. I hope this is a sign of things get­ting better.

  3. I wear my tiara when I’m cap­tured by the same mood. I don’t think tiaras are very man­ly, but you’re wel­come to bor­row mine when the side­walks are too icy for twirling.

  4. It is fun­ny that you should men­tion a tiara. When I was in 4‑H, the awards at our coun­ty Fash­ion Revue show includ­ed a tiara and sash. This is large­ly what inspired me to take up sewing in high school: I want­ed to wear the tiara and sash (for the absur­di­ty of it, mind you, no oth­er rea­son). Alas, my reg­is­tra­tion caused them to aban­don the tiara and replace it with a rather unim­pres­sive neck rib­bon. So I nev­er got to wear the tiara…

    True sto­ry.

  5. Twirl away. As I catch up on your life in blogs, I was sad­dened to find you don’t twirl any more, I was hap­py to read (belat­ed­ly) that you found it again. May it inspire us all!

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