In my forty years, I have come to the conclusion that I am made up of two parts: my mind and my body. They are really two separate “beings” that tend to operate quite independently of each other and I just kind of watch. More often than not, my mind comes up with some grand idea and then just drags my body along for the ride.
I have never been considered as one who had any sort of athletic body. I am hindered, at times, by my right foot which has had a multitude of problems through out my life–starting with being born as a club foot. It was fixed when I was a baby and I don’t remember any of the surgeries or casts during the first two years of my life. I only know that I have a big scar running up the back of my heel and that my Mom would get mad every time we had to go shoe shopping, due to nothing fitting my foot. I think that is why I am not a shoe girl… As I have gotten older, it does cause problems here and there–sometimes I walk with a limp, or the time got plantar fasciitis in it for two years–but I just continue on.
It is with this non-athletic body that I have learned some tough lessons. As I have mentioned before, I don’t let fear get in my way of what I want to accomplish, but my body will create a hard stop every now and again. Like the time I signed up for the Susan G. Komen 3 Day breast cancer walk. How hard can walking be? It’s only 20 miles a day. I thought during my not so consistent training. Well, when I got myself shipped to the Emergency Room in an ambulance for shock on the second day, I realized that more training might have been a good idea. But again, I had never had my body fail on me like that before. I kind of just keep going–dragging my body behind me.
In coming up with items for the adventure list, I try to keep my eyes open to things that may not be so mainstream. I saw a post on Facebook talking about beginner aerial classes. That’s it! I thought.That is so up my alley! I have always loved watching people perform on the silks and just knew I would become–in just eight short lessons!–one of those graceful bodies floating through the air.
Tonight, my body created another hard stop.
I really had no idea what to expect going to the first class tonight. I had emailed the owner of the studio and she assured me that all levels of skill and body types were welcome. The class was for beginners, so I figured that it couldn’t be too bad.
We spent the first hour warming up and stretching–and I seriously thought I was going to throw up all over the mat within the first ten minutes. Now, I have taken dance lessons since I was 4 years old and can easily replicate any sort of movement immediately, but during the special aerial warm up things were just different.
We started with jumping jacks and as I was doing them, my ankle was clicking every time I landed. It was so loud that I was afraid everyone would think I was weird and it threw me off my jumping jack game. So now I was making a strange noise and looked like a fool who couldn’t do jumping jacks. Then we moved into running in place, knee lifts, shoulder stretches of all kinds and extensive leg stretching involving splits. There were times I would just have to stop and sit on the mat because there was no way I could hold that stretch any longer. The teacher, Emily, then had us do back bends! It has been, maybe, 25 years since I last did a back bend. I just laid there until she came over to me and asked if I would be able to do one. I did manage to raise up on my arms and do what could be perceived as one, but my back did not agree with me that I should be doing them at all.
After all of the warm up, we then moved onto learning actual tricks on the silks and trapeze bars. I will just say this–it is sooooo much harder than it looks! The artists who do the aerial tricks make it look so effortless and graceful, but are, in actuality so strong that they could probably crush your hand with a really firm handshake. I tried the first couple of tricks but quickly came to the realization that I definitely am not cut out for aerial acrobatics. When the class ended, I went up to Emily and thanked her for being such a great teacher. I was grateful for her help with me, but this class is not for me. She understood and wished me well. I dragged my self to the car and sat there for a few minutes. My poor body was already starting to get sore from all of the strange activity, but there was one thing that was bothering me more: failure. I had failed at this adventure.
When I started this journey, I hadn’t taken into account failing at these things I chose to do. And it wasn’t like I was purposely picking things that I wouldn’t fail at either. I had every intention of being the next famous flying trapeze artist and now had come to the painful realization that I was not going to be. It is a hard pill to swallow–and even harder to admit to people. But, I am not going to let that stop me. Bring it on, adventures, bring it on…