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About Beating Up Colleagues, Play and Anger

So last week I beat up my colleagues. No joke. Obviously it’s not as bad as it sounds – here’s what happened. I often work with a brilliant training company called Loopbaangroep (Career Learning Group) in the Netherlands, and twice a year all the trainers and staff have a get-together. And our lovely boss arranges a team building/reconnecting activity and this time it was a self defence/assertivity thing. Involving pool noodles. 

Obviously, it was mayhem – and so much fun. We hacked and we slashed and we blocked to our hearts content, waving around our pool noodles and our kickboxing gloves. Knowing my colleagues as I do, I was not surprised that a few of them took to this kind of thing like a duck to water. But there were also several people who were showing a side to them that was… unexpected. Killer instinct and unstoppable force are words that come to mind. 

Also unexpected was my reaction to some of the activities. There was an exercise where a colleague grabbed me with their noodle, and I had to get free. And it really pissed me off. I did NOT like this At. All.  I don’t get angry very quickly, or very often. But I did here. Of course, I understand there was some fight/flight response there. And some healthy ‘nah, I don’t think so’- reaction to being grabbed. But maybe also some ‘stuff’ that doesn’t get let out very often. I saw it happen around me too, to both men and women. Some very real reactions, like mine. Of something – anger? – that looked like it was good it was let out. Some, one kickboxing yoga teacher for example, looked quite comfortable with that. But there were also a few that looked a bit, well, vulnerable? Raw? 

On the flip side, I did get some really good whacks in with my noodle. But really, mostly, I had a hard time not letting the fun outweigh the fierce – I was laughing so much that it was hard to aim. Which made me think; when was the last time I really played? Most of the things I enjoy – gardening, drawing, crochet, etc- are lovely, but more the meditative, quiet sort of enjoyment. Fun, but not belly laugh inducing, generally. And I think that’s a shame really. I think I would like some more belly laughing fun in my life.

Afterwards, it was all good – there was a bit of blood but no one got seriously hurt, plus there was wine. On the way home, I was thinking about how impactful a Pool Noodle Play Fight was and how in our normal adult lives (or maybe just in mine) both anger and play don’t get to come out very often. And how it may be quite a good thing to make a bit more space for ‘stuff’ that could do with being let out or looked after. 

All in all, it felt very healthy, pummelling my colleagues with pool noodles. And while I’m not quite sure what I’ll be adding to my life to get that belly laugh, now I know it’s missing, I know I’ll be able to find something 😊.

When did you last belly laugh? And what is your equivalent of a noodle fight? 

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