Sure, you just push your lips together and blow. Right?
If you’re blowing a raspberry right now, then I’m in love with you. Just for the record.
Learning is such an odd thing. It’s a constant process, ongoing throughout your life (apart from for the people who harden up, stop learning, and become useless and horrible). But some things, it feels like if you don’t learn young, you never will.
Old dogs, new tricks, and all that jazz.
I still remember the week, at about the age of eleven or twelve, when I not only learnt how to whistle after years of being totally unable to, but also click my fingers properly.
I felt like I was king of the world. I literally spent about two days clicking fingers and whistling, mostly without rhythm or melody, just making as much noise as I could, all day long.
It was great. I felt like I’d mastered some new control over my body. It felt like I’d become a little more adult and a little more real. I could do things that I couldn’t before. This was fantastic.
I was learning.
There’s something beautiful about learning to use your body. For me, I have spent large parts of my life thinking about my body as a clunky machine that I have to use to get things done.
It’s only recently, as I’ve become a bit more sensual, got into Tai Chi, and started feeling more self confident that I’ve started to actually feel more suitably attached and inside my body.
Perhaps the learning stretches back further than I think. I mean, I’ve enjoyed dancing for long enough (though it’s always been clunky, it’s not something I do well).
Making noise is another way of staking your claim on the air and the world around you. One thing I’m fond of is exploring the range of my voice. Creating noise and whistles and burps and grunts and howls and wails and delicate little falsetto melodies.
Ideally all at once.
It’s amazing the full range of the mouth and lungs and the bits in between.
It’s such a complicated organ (or organ system, more precisely?). A huge multi purpose structure that allows us to eat, to breathe, absolutely vital to life, and almost as an after thought, it’s an incredibly versatile tool of communication. And not even just verbal communication, think of the range of emotion you can get across with a non-verbal noise.
We’re so versatile. Maybe that’s why it’s such an important organ. Maybe evolution is trying to tell us something about the importance of communication and social aspects of life.
It’s as important as eating and breathing.
So you should definitely try to learn to whistle, because it extends your range, but you know what? If you can’t just settle for talking. And singing. And grunting. And moaning.
It’s all important, it’s all expression. It’s something that can feel good and help you connect with other people.
Illustration by Adam.