kim making circus toys look like a place to lounge!
About 6 months ago I had the extreme pleasure of watching my awesome friend and TGL guest blogger, Kim, show off her trapeze skills during one of her classes at the Circus Center in San Francisco. It was an impromptu tag along--we'd been spending the afternoon together and decided there was no reason for the fun to stop. Why don't you come with me and maybe give it a shot?, Kim asked. A quick change into gym gear and we were on our way!
But when we got to the center I instantly knew I would not be participating. If I'm honest, I think I knew it the moment we walked out of my apartment. Kim's class mates and instructors were so sweet and encouraging during my visit (You'll love it, we swear! It's not hard, we promise!). They were so sweet and encouraging that I kinda wanted to make a fist and tell them to shut their traps, or else! in my best Jersey voice. I politely smiled and declined their numerous offers to give it a go, honestly replying that I really did not feel a desire to participate today and would rather observe Kimmy while taking photos and video of her. I told Kim that this was one of those instances where "no" was actually a "yes" for what I really wanted, parked myself on the sidelines and enjoyed the trapeze show.
But the truth was, a part of me really did want to participate. And I was not just saying no because it didn't appeal to me at the time. I was saying no because, frankly, I was terrified. Full blown, butterflies if you make me do this, first day of school, give a speech to a full auditorium, biggest game of the year nerves.
It's important to keep in mind as this little story unfolds that I am not usually one to shy away from a unique challenge. I have been skydiving (twice), white water rafting in Alaska (I was 7, but still), flown in puddle-jumper sized planes, zip-lined upside down across the jungle, etc etc. I am a lover of roller coasters, travel, and things that move fast. High adrenaline activities do not, generally speaking, scare me.
So why on earth was the idea of taking a stab at trapeze so intimidating to me?
When it comes down to it, I am easily able to put my trust in others. You want to strap me to your front and jump out of a plane with me? Let's do it. You pull the shoot and I'll squeal with delight on the way down. You want to take me for a flight around the Bay a few days after getting your pilots license? Sweet! Can I take pictures? The kind of adventure activities that are so glaringly outside of my control once I have accepted my role in them have little to no affect on me. I'm almost completely un-phased by the "risks".
But when it comes to putting trust in myself...to owning up to all potential mess ups, boo boos, epic failures or "embarrassing" moments inevitable to learning a new skill (and walking away with my head held high)...well...we've got some issues.
There were several aspects of trapeze that brought my insecurities bubbling, piping hot, to the surface: The act of climbing the ladder. eek. What if I stumble and fall? Standing on a tiny platform, death gripping the poles. wowza. What if I trip and fall? And reaching out to hold onto a bar that will then swing me over a net until I am instructed to get my legs up and hands off of said bar. um yea. What if I can't do it and look like a total doink? Behold, the mama of all ego based insecurity.
So that was my first experience at the Circus Center: a slightly anxious view from the sidelines, a proverbial spot on the bench. And I have to tell you--it didn't sit right with me. That tiny, brave voice in my heart kept nagging at me for days following, telling me to try, try, try! despite my best efforts to silence her.
And when Kimmy offered to take me again, along with my bff who was in town for a week (and who excitedly jumped at the opportunity without batting an eye...she's way cooler than me), I decided it was time to suit up, woman up and take the damn leap already.
Can you guess how the day panned out? Stay tuned for part two....