On being a Psychedelic Unicorn

What being a Psychedelic Unicorn means to me

Back in the latter part of 2012, I knew Tara and Sunshine as part of my bellydance network, but the term "acquaintance" probably would have been more appropriate than "friend." But they were "friends" on Facebook, which is why I happened to see Tara's post about forming a team for Color Vibe in my feed.

It was on her bucket list, she said, to do one of these color-run 5Ks. She was forming a team called the Psychedelic Unicorns for this one, which was in Ft. Lauderdale, and inviting anyone who was interested to come to join her team.

Now, I'd never even heard of a color run at that time, so I did some research. There are several different groups that put on similar events, such as The Color Run, Color Me Rad, and of course the one Tara had signed up for, Color Vibe. It's a 5K run/walk, just for fun, and for everyone--young, old, fast, slow, solo, or with a team. It's not timed, so you can go at your own pace. And the reason it's called a color run is that at various places along the route, there are volunteers who throw different colored powders at you. And at the end, of course, there's a party with a bunch more colored powder being tossed around. So everyone ends up covered in color (which is, of course, easily washable...)

I was intrigued that Tara said this was on her bucket list. I mean, I personally had never even given any thought to a "bucket list" per se, and she's quite a bit younger than me. But then, I'd never heard of a color run before either. But now that I had, I wanted to do one too! I thought it sounded like great fun, so I went ahead and signed up with Tara's team. But despite several other people having expressed interest on Tara's original Facebook post, it ended up being just the 3 of us: me, Sunshine, and Tara.

I'd been pleasantly amused by Tara's sense of humor in her original postings, and continued to be so as we messaged back and forth for planning. I asked her if, being unicorns, we were supposed to wear a horn for the event (having read that some teams have team costumes). She said she wasn't planning to; she just picked the team name because it was magical and colorful. When I told her I had an idea about how I could make some for the 3 of us using old party horns and duct tape, she was totally enthusiastic: "That sounds like a fantastic idea!!! I'm super excited and can't wait... VIVA LA LOCA PEOPLEO WITH HORNO's!!!!"

Finally the big day arrived, but conditions weren't great. It had rained during the night, and it was still drizzling off and on. Also, both Tara and I had developed some knee issues. Regardless, all 3 of us were determined to go on anyway. We wore our horns proudly (see pic at left), and with the mantra "No UNICORN left behind," we all finished the 5K well and appropriately covered in color:

So, all in all, it was a fun event. But it was a lot more than that--that little event has had a lasting impact on me.

For one thing, I got to know Tara and Sunshine a lot better. We had plenty of time to talk and learn more about each other as we did the walk. I think we bonded, so they're not just Facebook friends any more, they're real friends. And I think that's great, because they're both delightful people.

Another thing, related to that friendship, is that unicorns have become an ongoing source of amusement. For example, any time I see a silly meme like the following, I have to share it with my Psychedelic Unicorn teammates.


And Tara and Sunshine do the same, sharing unicorn fun with me. (I don't feel any compulsion to share unicorn sillies with other people; I guess I figure most people won't find it as amusing as we do.)

And sure, it's all well and good to make new friends and share an inside joke. But there's more to it than that. Being a Psychedelic Unicorn has occupied way too much of my consciousness to be a trivial event. I mean, I even feel compelled to write about it in this article. Clearly there is something more profound going on here. Still, I'm not sure how to explain it... it's like a new spirit, a new attitude, a joie de vivre. I can't think how to say it without resorting to cliches. "Sieze the day." "Just do it." "Enjoy yourself." They give the idea, but don't seem quite right either. It's like a sense of freedom to experience crazy things just because you want to.

This is not a complete change of attitude for me; I did, after all, sign up to do this crazy event. But it's kind of like becoming a Psychedelic Unicorn makes it official. Or something like that. It's an enabler-- since being a Psychedelic Unicorn, I have felt enabled to do things that I'm sure I would not have done previously. For example, if I hadn't been a Psychedelic Unicorn, I would never have been a Beach Zombie either.

Well, maybe I can't explain it very well. But I can definitely feel it. And I'd say "it" has definitely put a little more magic into my life. Which I guess is what unicorns are supposed to do.

So thank you, Captain Tara (and Sunshine)!

(Photo ganked from the Internet after doing a search for "Psychedelic Unicorn")

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