A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to This Blog Post
If you’re wondering why I’m so overdue in posting, it’s because I joined the circus. Just kidding. Kind of. After one of my last postings in which I mentioned being up for anything, especially the circus, my friend Cindy emailed me and asked if I would be interested in taking an aerial class with her. Would I? Yes, please! Another friend, Krisanne, has been doing aerial work for years, and she invited me to join her last semester in a class, but it didn’t work with my schedule. I feel like when one person asks you to do something, and then a second person asks you to do the same thing, you should probably seriously consider it.* I have secretly always loved the acrobatic part of the circus and, aside from a very brief stint in gymnastics as a child (my feet touched the ground on the high bar at age ten), I have come to terms with the fact that I would probably never swing from a trapeze or pose on a rope.
After sending in my application, and pre-emptively purchasing a Groupon for a chiropractic consultation and a massage**, I was all set. Or so I thought. I’ve been doing core exercises and working out with dumbbells as well as running a few times a week, so I thought I would be okay, at least the first night, which was last night. I didn’t quite expect to be thrown (swung?) into things so quickly. I am so sore it feels like someone took a meat tenderizer to my upper body and a cheese grater to the top of my foot. Hey, wait a minute.
“Okay, grab the bar with both hands, wrap your thumbs around it, kick up and pull your knees over the bar,”*** one of the teachers instructed us, as if she were asking us to touch our noses or locate Earth on a map of the world. Despite my best efforts, I didn’t manage to do that by myself the entire night, but once I got on the bar I fared a little better. I even hung upside down by my ankles (yes, ankles!) at one point and leaned both forward and backward on one leg. Not bad for a klutz with no upper-arm strength. I did a less than graceful**** spin around one of the ropes and the mermaid pose to round out my trapezial repertoire. By the time we switched stations, my biceps had begun to burn.
The second station we went to was the rope, or what they call the Spanish web. I have no idea why they call it this, but I learned the importance of knots and gravity at this rotation. I made it almost halfway up the rope and probably would have made it farther on fresh arms, but I felt pretty good about my progress, especially considering I have a large rope burn on my foot from the effort. After trying to climb on the opposite leg, we learned how to use a knot to “pose” on the rope. And how to, in theory, wrap the rope around one foot using only the other foot. I say “in theory” because I never got the hang (pun intended) of this move, but that just gives me something to work on next time. And I very nearly was able to bend myself completely horizontal on the rope. Impressed? Me too.
The last station we went to was the tumbling. I had peeked at the other groups at this location, so I knew a little of what we were in for: forward rolls and cartwheels. Easy enough. I had perhaps the wobbliest forward roll in the world, but I managed to do it without injuring myself, and my cartwheels were nearly flawless. Except they made me a little dizzy. And arm wobbly. Since we did so well with those, would we like to try double somersaults and double cartwheels? Gulp. The double somersaults are kind of fun, if you can get over the fact that your head is basically (or completely) in someone else’s crotch (sorry, Krisanne!), but the double cartwheels will have to wait until next time, I think.
I’m pretty proud of myself. And Cindy. We did a lot for beginners, and she and I both tried just about everything. And Krisanne may have felt a little rusty going in, but she looked amazing. Excuse me, I need to go ice my biceps. Hey, I just noticed the word “ice” is in “bicep.” And “noticed.” English is awesome.
*Except marriage proposals. I’ve already been proposed to twice and I don’t feel bad about saying “no” either time. Maybe some things are “third time’s the charm”?
**This is how I cobble together all my healthcare needs. For real. It’s pretty sad that I’m 30 and have to wait for a dentist’s office coupon in order to get my teeth cleaned, but what can you do?
***Basically it’s like doing a pull-up and a crunch at the same time. I could probably do one or the other but not both. I guess I shouldn’t have expected that working with three-pound weights would prepare me for lifting my entire body and contorting it, but it’s better than nothing, right?
****I looked like a one-legged stork with vertigo trying to do a mating dance during this move. I’m pretty sure adolescent penguins have more grace.