Sunday, May 15, 2016

Fat Girl On A Bar: Surrender

It's been a long time since I posted a status report on trapeze. I am still at it but there was this crossroads moment a couple of weeks ago that required some thinking through. I got home from that class beat up. I mean seriously just beat up. I had what turned out to be second degree rope burn under my knee from where my capri's rode up and my bare legs slid down the rope. I had lesser rope burn on my ankles and my fingers were so messed up I couldn't close them fully. H took one look at me and was "Like what the fuck?" I kind of felt like that too. It wasn't that the class was over the top hard or even frustrating. I still struggled with one sequence but I felt good about the other one. I just realized that I was the only person in the class who couldn't do both and it was kind of a whoa moment. Like you don't want to be the person who is holding everyone back. That's the struggle for me with group exercise. There's all those other people. I decided that night that I was giving myself the summer to get it and if it didn't click I was going to start over. Or maybe just stop.

Time only made my decision seem right. I've taken up running again and over the last few weeks, my time spent actually running (a loose term for my movement I admit) has increased rather dramatically. First a 5k seemed totally doable and the other day I realized that when I hit week 8 of Zombies, Run, I'd be able to easily run a 5k. Then I started to think about running the Athens Half. Second, I fell back in love with running. I always hate it at first but then at some point the joy hits. Being able to do it without my body falling apart like it did last year is even better. But also I loved being alone. I know I'm slow so I don't plan on winning any medals but it doesn't matter cause no one is going to lose shit if I'm slow. I'm just a good person for you to pass and maybe make you feel better about your pace. I'm super cool with that role. Oddly running just doesn't ever made me feel competitive. It's always been about the love of the solitude of it all.

I had a plan for trapeze. Yeah the summer. But I wasn't going to half wing it. I made arrangements to take a couple of private sessions with another classmate and an instructor who I knew could help me. I also signed up for a conditioning class with my trapeze guru Ann. Then I did thing I used to do when I fall in love with someone impossible. I did it with H. I backed off. If I could manage to build a wall around my tender emotional heart thingie, then when the person ultimately rejected me, I'd be sheltered a bit from the storm. It's never worked. Didn't work with H and of course ya'll know the end of that story. But falling in love is just sometimes painful and no matter what I did I just couldn't help throwing it all in the ring. I'm an all or nothing kind of person. Go big or go home. That's me when it comes to love. And yeah it doesn't matter if I get my heart  broken over and over. But I figured I'd try again. After all I had a lot of love already in my life. Trapeze didn't have to be that hill right?

Despite a week off to let new skin grow under my knee, I didn't feel any enthusiasm as the next Thursday rolled around. I talked about it with my friend who ended up not being able to go. I wanted to stay home and work on my novel which after having jumped the shark for a while was back on track. My friend wasn't going to be there and it would suck without her. I had a whole list of reasons to keep my distance but I ended up just sucking it up and going. And of course the whole night was a reminder of both why I love and hate trapeze.

The entire first half to the class was devoted to me failing. Move after move of Ginger just can't do the thing. I sat there at one point exhausted and right on that edge of feeling like a total failure. But I made that conscious decision I've mentioned before of not going down that path. "You're not out here to be a professional." And the whole while I kept up that studied indifference. Oh yeah hai bar I'm not really into you. But of course I felt my heart breaking a little as we learned another move that I couldn't do.

At some point, someone from the intermediate class called over "Nice hip hang" after I fell out of the move I was supposed to be doing and sent myself into a wild spin. I thought "Seriously?" But because I couldn't argue with whoever called out the compliment I was stuck with it. I sat on the floor for a minute to get my bearings. And then I thought "Someone just complimented you on the move that you hate the most in the world.  The move that you sucked at for so long. The move that you had to fight fear to do." I got up feeling a little dizzy. "You just did hip hang while spinning." I DID HIP HANG ON A MOVING BAR.

When Jo announced we were doing surrender, I was calm. I didn't think I could do it. And I still had that summer plan in mind but now it was different. I wouldn't quit. I might have to redo a beginner's class but I wasn't leaving trapeze. I worked hard for the little bit I knew and while it wasn't nearly as impressive as some of the other things people could do it was a pretty big deal for me. I watched Jo show us the movements and I thought "That's not as bad as I thought." I've watched all my kids learn surrender and every time I am always just like "Wow." It's a pretty move and it looks damn impressive from the floor. But watching Jo do it I thought "I can do that." And I felt my heart perk up. "Get down," I thought sternly, "We're not quitting but that doesn't mean we're falling in love either."

I got up on the bar with my ugly little half hop thing and I stood. I'm good at standing. I usually wait for the others to try it first but this time. This time I wanted this to much to wait. And I wanted to do it alone with everyone working on it. No eyes on me. I stuck my leg out toe pointed like a damn lady and I wrapped it around the rope. For some that tight feeling it left might be panic inducing but I liked the way it held my leg in place. I was trapped but it was okay. I made sure my ankle was against the elbow and then I kicked my free leg forward and back and I slid off the fucking bar. There was only a second hesitation, a moment when I felt a panicked "Oh fuck what have you done?" My lets slid down and the ropes snapped under my arms cradling me. I hung there with my arms out and my back arched held from the ground by the bar that I realized at that moment I couldn't help but love.

Surrender is the move that encapsulates my aerial dance experience. It's aptly named. I step off the bar and I release myself to the ropes. To my body. Trusting my body is not something at which I exel. And I suspect many of my problems with trapeze involve this fundamental mistrust. I don't trust my body to pull me over the bar. I don't trust my body to hold weight in my hands. But on Thursday night I step into the air and let the ropes catch me. I aung there suspended with my arms out and my legs bend with nothing between the ground and I but a bar and a pair of white ropes. It is a strange moment. A peaceful moment. An act of letting go. Of surrender. Kind of like when you fall in love.