Posts Tagged ‘passion’


April 19, 2012 2 comments

One year ago today I took my first flying trapeze class, and today, I took my first swing out of safety lines.

I’ve been working towards this milestone for months, passing conditioning requirements, trampoline skills requirements, and trapeze safety requirements.  I’ve stressed about getting to it, very nearly cried about not getting there fast enough, and worried I’d be too scared to do it once I was allowed.  But then today the instructors watched my first turns, signed off on all the required forms, I took the bar without safety lines and flew – and it felt great.  Not scary, not stressful, just right.  Everything my body’s learned how to do over the last year I did today without thinking or worrying, and it was exhilarating.

Doing trapeze for the last year has changed how my body looks and how I relate to it.  I’m incredibly strong now, and getting stronger, and I have become so much more aware of and in control of my body’s movements.  I’m still not graceful (or flexible), by any means, but I’ve become connected to my body in a way I never expected to be.

Earning out of lines status is a big milestone, to be sure, but I expect I’ll look back on this as just the beginning of my trapeze journey.  Each time I learn a new trick, twist my body in a new way, or figure out how to tense a muscle I’d never known I had I get hooked all over again, and I know there’s a whole lot left to learn.


Cataloging the aches and pains

May 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Thanks to a series of uncoordinated choices, I ended up taking 3 trapeze classes in 4 days this week.  It probably would have worked out if I’d done it earlier in my progression, or if I’d stalled on the pullover shoot.  Instead, I’ve spent 2 of the 3 days doing the most physically and mentally intensive work yet, and my body is feeling the effects.

Starting at toes and going up:

  • My shin hurts if it touches something or if I walk quickly.
  • The abrasion on my shin hasn’t started to scab, which is starting to worry me.
  • My quads flinch when I walk.
  • The abrasion on my hip is healing, but hurts if I bend or twist.
  • My back is a single knot of tension and pain.
  • My shoulders and upper arms are sore in a “I might not be able to move them in the morning” kind of way.
  • My hands are so covered in fast-developing blisters that I can only grip with my fingertips.
And yet I still can’t wait to go back on Monday.

Pullover shoot update

May 26, 2011 Leave a comment

I showed my kids the video of my pullover shoot this afternoon.  They were suitably impressed.  After watching it twice in a row, one asked, “can you show us the second video now?”  I was confused for a moment, then realized that I’ve always had at least two videos from each class (and would have from this one, but the videographer pushed the wrong button).  When I explained I just had the one new one, another kid said, “we could watch the old ones.  Tran [our new student] hasn’t seen them.”  So we went back through my files and played the highlights.

Pullover shoot!

May 24, 2011 Leave a comment

I’ve been spending an enormous amount of time and money on trapeze over the last month and I’m absolutely loving it.  Great physical and intellectual exercise, alongside great people.  I’m riding high tonight because after weeks of learning all the basic tricks, tonight I learned the pullover shoot, which is a rite of passage at the school.  It’s the trick you learn after the basics and that you have to master before you move on to learning the swing (which is the foundation of all the really cool tricks).  To do it, you swing off the board, pull yourself over the bar so you’re upright, arms locked, looking forward, then you push off the bar and try to “rocket” forward to the catcher.

Most people talk about how the pullover shoot is awful and they stalled out on it for 2-5 classes, bruising their hips against the bar and getting hugely frustrated.  Even the instructor told us “so it’s pullover shoot today.  I’m not going to lie.  It’s going to suck.”  And it did suck for a lot of class.  While I could do the pullover part from the very beginning (getting up and over the bar then balancing there), I could not do the “shoot” part (wherein you fly off the bar) to save my life.  In my first attempt I threw the bar against my shin (leading to blood and a huge black and blue bump), in my second I fell headfirst off the bar, in my third I hesitated, then went too fast, leading to a comical fall from the bar, but in the fourth I seemed to get it, because the instructor said I should try to catch it (much to my surprise).

I over-thought every movement in my first catch attempt and did another headlong fall from the bar, but in my second attempt everything clicked, I pulled over, I shot…and I was caught!  I’ve been watching the video over and over tonight and every time I see the catch I shriek excitedly and clap my hands.  I am so totally proud of me – and I can’t wait to show the video to my kids!

An interesting life?

August 1, 2010 1 comment

Penelope Trunk, who always makes me think, wrote a post a few weeks ago on the choice people make between being interesting and being content.  She suggested that many people make choices that take them away from valued relationships, jobs, or locations because they’re looking for interestingness rather than contentment.  Her comments struck a chord with me.

As I look back on my life since college I often wonder at the dichotomy of my choices.  On the one hand, I love being part of a community and feeling that I really know the area in which I live and the people I live with.  On the other hand, I keep moving every few years, barely giving myself time to put down roots before I’m transplanting myself again.  I mourn the lack of stability – and I’m sure my lack of a long-term relationship is related to my constant movement – but my craving for roots can’t compete against my restlessness, against the sense that the next place, the next apartment, the next job will be so interesting that I just have to give it a try.  I feel like there’s so much to do in this world, so much to learn, that being comfortable, being content, makes me feel like I’m missing out.

It’s why I applied to graduate school when I could have stayed in a great job, why I moved to Charlottesville when I could have stayed near my friends and boyfriend, why I put everything in storage and went to England, why I’m about to leave a wonderful group of friends to start over, again, in DC.  I miss the lives I’ve left behind with each move, but when I talk with people about my life, I feel the richness and variety of my experiences.  That texture – the coexisting expertise in toddler development, business school admissions, life in an old mill town or big city living – it’s all a part of me and how I view the world.  My hope is that someday I’ll find a place, job, or person that makes me feel I can combine interestingness and contentment, but until then I have to keep seeking interesting.

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Giving thanks

May 11, 2010 Leave a comment

I finished my last graduate school class yesterday. Looking back on my two years in the program, I realize I have a lot of people I need to thank for my experience. From the very beginning I have worked with remarkably talented, passionate professors. These women shared their love of their fields – reading, curriculum development, literature, writing, mathematics, instruction – and their commitment to good teaching. Their unabashed enthusiasm for research and teaching nurtured my own enthusiasm and helped me feel comfortable sharing it with others.  They focus on different areas of learning, but they all work towards the same goal – improving students’ lives and helping them learn.

After my two years at the Curry School of Education, I know that I have a rich network of brilliant, caring professors to call on as I navigate the ups and downs of classroom life.  I think we often forget that there are people who dedicate their lives to teaching our country’s future teachers.  As I wrap up a life-changing two years and prepare to head into my own classroom, I think it’s a good time to say thank you to these master teachers – and their colleagues at education schools across the country – for everything they do.

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This we believe

April 28, 2010 Leave a comment

For the final discussion session in one of my courses, the 15 students in the section had the option of sharing our This I Believe statements with the rest of the group.  Since class would have ended immediately if no one decided to share, at first we didn’t have any volunteers.  But then one person said she wanted to share her statement – and it was great.  She spoke movingly about rediscovering her passion for teaching and demonstrated more depth in the two pages of text than I’ve seen from her in two years of classes.  After that, volunteers came steadily.  Not every statement was beautifully written or perfectly articulated, but they all showed a lot of heart and thought.  I so often hear only about what my classmates don’t like and don’t want to do; hearing them present impassioned defenses of their core educational beliefs showed me another, much more impressive side of them.  I enjoyed, too, the camaraderie that developed as we shared.  Murmurs of “that was great,” or “wow,” followed many of the speakers, and people offered reassurance and encouragement to two girls who were hesitant to share.  We’ve spent most of our Masters program in classes with 50 or more students; on this final day of our final required class, we finally created some of the community we’ve been lacking.  Afterwards, our TA told us to remember this class session and the passion, idealism, and commitment we expressed.  After some days in the classroom, he said, we’ll lose our sense of direction or forget why we wanted to become teachers.  During those days, we need to pull out our This I Believe essays and think back to the ideas we shared this evening.  We know what our vision for education is, and shared experiences like that tonight help us recommit to it.

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