For the past three (ish) weeks, I’ve been taking Aerial Hoop classes and loving it. I’ve had five so far, and have learned a ton of positions, conditioning exercises and even how to start spinning!
Taking on this new activity has been challenging, both physically and emotionally. A lot of these maneuvers require a core and upper body strength that I don’t have right now. I know that I can get there, but sometimes class can be tough – especially at the end. My hands will burn, biceps and triceps will shake, and my abs will protest.
More challenging though, are the emotions. I’ll start comparing myself to the other women in the classes, and feel low when I’m not as good, or as strong, or as thin. Many of my fellow aerialists are petite and whipcord tough. I’m pretty strong, but I’ve also got about 30lbs and 5″ on most of them. I’ll forget that they’ve been attending classes for months, or were gymnasts for decades. The comparisons and negative competition in my head will lie to me, reminding me about my belly, or weak arms. A familiar siren song will play: “You’re not one of the be-est. People will se-eee. Might as we-ell stick to what you’re gooood at.” It’s a tune that I’ve listened to in the past. For example, the first time I went skiing, I was 4 and I couldn’t figure it out. I fell over again and again. I got increasingly frustrated (I’m fwustwated Mama!), and upset. Why couldn’t I do this?? Everyone else could! The answer? I was 4. It was the first time I was on skis. Everyone falls down, A LOT, the first time on skis. So then, instead of persisting, I refused. I was over that impossible shit. I lost 7 years of fun ski time, as I finally picked it back up at age 11. Nowadays, I LOVE to ski, and I wish I’d stuck with it.
The Don’t Suck Song is a liar. Comparisons and negative competition do no good, and keep us from the thrill of achieving hard fought goals. Feeding my insecurities doesn’t help me to perform better, and definitely doesn’t help form good relationships with my classmates. I’ve got to release my inner comparisons and appreciate what my body can do. Because my aerial classes will help to tone and strengthen me, but I’m never going to be one of the best, not even in the top 25%. I’ll get to about the middle, and will most likely stick around there. I’m going to be okay with that. For a recovering over achiever, a solid middle of the road performance can be SO freeing. So, goodbye comparisons, and hello appreciation!