Thursday, December 9, 2010

bruised and thankful for it

No, this isn't an epic tale of how I'm grateful for surviving some horrible accident with only a few bruises.

Nor is it precisely a story about how we should be thankful for the bruises and scars that mark us, make us who we are.

Not precisely, anyway.

It's about this:

When I finished my doctorate, I promised myself I would find an entirely different challenge, a physical one rather than an intellectual one.

My life would have been so much simpler had I fallen in with triathletes back then. Certainly, a triathlon would have fit the criteria. Or even a marathon.

But I always did have to be different.

I kept walking past a circus school, thinking "if only I was a kid, I could try gymnastics classes there! I could be an acrobat!" I assumed only kids or professionals could go to circus school.

One day, I looked at their web site. There was a class entitled "Absolute Beginning Static Trapeze". I signed up.

I was humbled that first class. I didn't know how incredibly weak I was. I was sore for days afterwards. But also hooked.

It hasn't been a straightforward journey, and I'll never be much more than a mediocre aerialist. It isn't about performing for me, although that's a challenge I'm looking forward to. It's the challenge, the absorption. The coming home with bruises and rope burn and sore muscles and knowing it's from hard work and that I am making progress.

The way I lose track of time, and I don't think about work. Or whatever else might be demanding my attention.

That when I'm on the bar, I only think about where this hand goes, where that foot needs to be, how do I make this look pretty, what's the timing on that move to get around.

That I can do pullups without thinking about them.
That I've gotten so much stronger, learned to push myself harder.
That I've come back to the trapeze after a serious shoulder injury and subsequent injury, that I could commit to that process. That I could be patient enough to not push past the limits, but also care enough to keep pushing.

The friends I've made. Circus folks are a quirky group. And it's sometimes really amazing to me that I fit in (don't get me wrong, I know I'm quirky! But not quite the same manner of quirky, I would have thought).

All of these things.
And so much inexplicable more.

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