As I waited to climb up the fabric towards the ceiling, I took a look around me… people doing handstands, swinging from trapezes, and stretching in silky hammocks. What a world of people exploring their potential, what a crazy place….
Last night I went to Cirque School. I’d purchased a Living Social voucher for 5 classes, since I have a growing fascination (hey, thank you spellcheck! Missed that ‘s’…) with aerial silks. I attended the aerial fitness and conditioning class, since you need approval to move on to the aerial tricks class. All I really wanted to do was get tangled up in fabric, 10 feet in the air. But we rotated between the mat, trapeze and silks too frequently to do much of anything up there. At first I was frustrated and disappointed. But soon I was too weak to even get halfway up the silks anyway. I knew it wasn’t a good idea to take Krav Maga and silks class in the same day.
I started thinking, well shoot… maybe I can’t do this. Look how strong these people are. That’s not me. Maybe I can just be happy having no real muscle, and just keeping my feet on the ground. As I left class, looking at the photos on the wall of circus performers bent over backwards and hanging precariously from a hoop in the air, I thought “this is plain dangerous for someone like me. I’m not like them.”
But then as I thought about it, walking to my car (caaaaar! How I’ve missed you) I thought… no. The only reason they aren’t like you is because they put the time and effort into it. You can’t compare yourself to someone who’s had a head start. You can’t set a limit on yourself after looking at someone who’s better than you only because they’ve been working at it for much longer. OK, sure, they started younger, I’m guessing, but it’s not like I want to start a career in the circus. There’s nothing stopping me from learning how to do handstands, building muscle and doing crazy tricks in the air. Just me. Just my thoughts of “you haven’t done it yet, you can’t do it now, it’s too late to get good at these things.”
Not that I need to prove these thoughts wrong just by looking for other people who have defied them, but a quick Google search shows me how wrong some of these discouraging thoughts can be. Jessica in Washington DC took her first class at age 32 and is now an aerialist. In fact, one woman, Kathie Hightower started learning at age 57.
But really, the lesson I’ve been learning, through all the classes I’m taking and all the adventures I go on is to never say I can’t do something until I’ve actually made an effort to do it. Not just one class while I’m still out of shape. Not just one trip somewhere that doesn’t go right. Nothing. And I know when I’ve given 100% and when I haven’t.
This morning I woke up to a new blog post by Niel Doherty on limiting beliefs and reference experiences, so I thought I’d reference it here. Niel has a great blog chronicling his adventures across the globe without flying. I may not personally agree with his “pick up dealio” (you can judge a person’s interest in you without bringing her, or any other problems, home for the night. You don’t know these people… that’s just…. ew) but hey, it’s nice to see a guy really learning from experiences! I feel like a lot of people don’t push their boundaries enough to grow, or they experience things without really learning anything about themselves through it.
My lovely friend Zach of The True Generalist also recently posted about thinking from the future, and not dwelling on what could have been, but what can still be. Looks like many of us think about these things. 🙂
Anyway. Although I’m not a fan of push-ups or curls and really want to just wrap myself in silks, I will return to class to strengthen my muscles so that I can find my potential. I will continue tripping over myself in burlesque class to find my sexy. I will continue flinging my limp noodle arms at a tombstone pad to learn how to defend myself. I will continue to do things that challenge me to grow, so I can look back and say, “I did it!”