Monday, February 22, 2010

Sit still said her father— / Quiet said her mom:

So she sat still and quiet
As an unexploded bomb.

That's a poem called "Sit Still," by JonArno Lawson, from his poetry collection Think Again.

Here's a conversation I had with my sister, secret codename: Apocalyptica the Flimflammer, early last week:

Me: I have my third trapeze lesson in a few days. I'm so nervous!

Apocalyptica: Oh? Why?

Me: I keep having these flashbacks to junior high, when we were picking teams for gym class, and the kids picked me last every time, week after week, for years on end.

Apocalyptica: I know what you mean. It's like pre-calc for me. You find a thing that's hard for you for some reason, and it colors your sense of your own capabilities for the rest of your life!

Me: Exactly. And the funny thing is, looking back now, I don't think the reason they always picked me last was because I actually was bad at sports. I think it was only because they hated me.

At this point, Apocalyptica and I began to laugh hysterically, because things can be so amusing from twenty years away. But at the time, they weren't amusing at all -- not the slightest bit.

I promise I won't write pseudo-inspirational mumbo jumbo every time I have a trapeze lesson, but there's a post I've been trying to write for some time, and it's something along the lines of this: I think being young is one of the hardest things we ever have to do. People who talk about the carefree lives of children, teenagers, and young adults boggle me. In addition to having very short memories, they aren't paying attention at all. Here's the thing I want to say: if you're young, and some things in life -- or many things -- or all things -- are horrible, please, please hang in there. Try to make decisions that are hopeful, because life DOES get better -- you just need to survive this stretch of time. I say this from my own experience, and I say it from watching the lives of loved ones who had childhoods and adolescences that made mine look like a picnic. We all survived -- and we're all glad we did, because I promise, it gets better. You gain power over your own life, and your vision clears. You'll get there -- as long as you don't give up.

If someone had told the 11- or 15- or 18- or 24-year-old me about the life I would be living when I was 33.... well, what I'm trying to say is, hang in there, because someday, you'll do something fabulous, and it'd sure be a shame to miss it.


The trick shown in the pictures below is called the set straddle whip, which you can read about and watch here, if you're interested. (Just to be clear, the video is not me, and the video location is not TSNY Beantown.)

Here I am, hanging onto the trapeze with my hands, resting my legs on my upper arms, and swinging upside down in a weird position (click to enbiggen).

At the command, "Hep!", I let go of the trapeze and swing my arms up.

Next, I extend myself into catching position while making a preposterous face.

When the catcher swings up into range, I whack him (rather hard) in the face.

And that's how to do a set straddle whip! Sort of. John, the catcher, was awfully nice about the part where I hit him. He told me afterwards, "It was good, because I was able to use my face to slow down your momentum and subsequently catch you!" I get the feeling that catchers, especially catchers catching novice flyers, take a lot of mid-air abuse.

I had a really hard time with this trick. We made both catches, but the first was the one above, and the second was one-handed. I'll work on it again next lesson.