During C's private lesson, Ann told me about a woman in the adult student classes who is sixty-three.
"Sixty-three," I thought, "That means I've got at least twenty years of trapeze in me."
A shift happened last week where I saw trapeze as something I could get better at, something that I loved so much I was willing to push through the failures and the tears. After my rather disastrous third class, I felt broken hearted. Yes some of my tears came from frustration at not being able to do something. But a lot of those tears came from a bad case of heartache. I loved trapeze. From the moment I touched that bar I knew I found that exercise sweet spot.
I've got this thing about pursuing things I suspect that I suck at. This has always been a thing for me, and I'm never sure when one quits. It got worse after the graduate school debacle. And of course I've got major imposter syndrome with the writing. How long does one determine when to just give up on something? Common sense told me three classes didn't really determine if I sucked or not. But when you're coming off feeling like a failure it's hard to see clear.
And like I said "Imposter syndrome." It sucks. And it's pretty much the underlying thing that makes me quit shit. But what exactly was I impostering this time? Nothing. I didn't want to be a professional. I just wanted to get on that damn bar and do the best I could at something that I loved. I like it all. Every bit of it. I like that it pushed me physically. I like the feeling of spinning in the air. Hell I even like the pain. And because I have nothing to lose, I allowed myself to keep taking the class good or bad. But when Ann told me that I took another step further and saw myself doing not just trapeze but maybe silks, lyra, Spanish web...the list spread out before me. And I let myself dream. The dream didn't involve being the best or being a professional. The dream involved me doing something I love for a really long time, and maybe trying other things I might love too.
The actual class? Fabulous. Not everything I tried I succeeded at this time so it was good to come off the class still feeling good. Last week, I felt on fire. This week I hit about half the moves. I pushed myself to try even the mounts because it is awful tempting to just keep hopping up. Got my toe on the bar this time which is a lot further than I was last week. We did our standing moves, and I still suck at bow sprint. Some of this comes from my bra. Hilarious right? With bow sprint, you have to push your chest against the rope while pushing the bar behind you with your foot. In order to take my hands off the rope in front me I have to wedge that damn rope between my boobs. Pretty hard in an industrial sports bra. I love how the solutions to my problems are not always about strength or flexibility. Skater is easy for me. I credit that to my fat ass since in order to balance in this move you have to wedge the rope between your butt cheeks. Charming I know.
And my mental work paid off too. Last week, I didn't quite get the air split. But I went over it in my head, realized I was not thrusting the bar out with my foot when I stepped backwards with my other foot. Nailed it first try this time. I love how I can go over these moves in my head and then make it all come together in class.
This week we added the airplane to our standing repertoire. Okay so I love this one. It hurts like hell but we've already established I'm a pain junkie, and it's rope pain. I'll just leave that there. This move involves having my arms against the ropes, stepping off with one foot and throwing my arms out. My arms hold my upper body while my foot on the bar pushes out to keep balance. This means the rope digs into your arm, and yes I had a bit of rope burn (still do actually). I loved it.
I had a feeling we'd be doing Catcher's Hang, and I was right. It's funny but I kind of know the process from watching so many beginner classes. Three so far. Catcher's Hang has a bit of history around here as it's the move that really scares R. She can do it one handed but getting her to let go of both hands is a battle. I made a deal with her before my class that if I let go with both hands she would let go too. It was a bet I made with a fair amount of trepidation. Catcher's hang is just that... a hang. Upside down. Meaning I'd have to pull myself up from being upside down. And of course it also involved the dreaded hated hip pullover. First time, I got up with a boast from a fellow classmate, and even though I didn't make it to dolphin (where the hell are my feet?) I did naturally get into Catcher's Hang position. I adored being upside down, and I liked the feel of the hang. With this one my legs came around the outside of the robes with my knees hugging the bar. As long as I remembered to keep my feet pointed toward my ass, it felt amazing. But I didn't dare let go. Not so much from fear of being upside down but from fear of not being able to get back up. I was exhausted after the first attempt, and feeling a little eh about the hip pull over but I remembered my promise to R. I got up again, and let go. Oh it was wonderful. Spinning slowly upside down. And then to my amazement I got my hands back to the bar.
We finished by learning skin the cat. Horrible name for what is my new least favorite move. I hate this one even more than the dreaded hip pullover. Basically it's a neater way to get off the bar. In practice, my legs are supposed to go under the bar toward my body and up over my head turning me into a backwards somersault. Didn't happen. I practiced lowering one leg at a time so I could get used to the feel of my body weight on my hands. I'll try again next week.
Even with this failure I left the class feeling really good. I have some problems, yes, but I'm holding my own too.
Fast forward to Saturday...guess who did her Catcher's Hang without hands?