Friday, June 17, 2011

The Only Way to Fly

I have a ton of work to do before I ninja out next week, but I really wanted to write this blog - so I am going to take 10 minutes and give you, my loyal, wonderful readers, some advice.

Take a flying trapeze lesson.

No.  Seriously.  Do it.

I think I've gotten this reputation with most of my friends as the "kooky, weird one."  I have a strange job, that teaches me strange things.  I go on crazy adventures.  I blog (for Chrissakes). I make jokes and have this bizarre Peter Pan syndrome that manifests itself in all kinds of ways (I am wearing a skirt with an owl on it today.  An Owl).  But just because something is strange or unfamiliar - doesn't mean it isn't something everyone should try once or twice.

When I was 18, my dear Mother purchased a flying trapeze lesson for me in New York City.  This was before the Sex and the City episode when Carrie flies, so it was pretty low key.  It was merely an adventure.  My Mom knew I was always down for some adventure. This was so long ago that the pictures aren't even digital.  They are actual pictures.  Crazy.

Anyway - now Trapeze School New York is kind of a big deal and they have a location in lovely Chi-town, just South of Belmont harbor.  The guy who is running it is a cool dude, and so he let me and a whole bunch of kids I work with go flying on Thursday.

It was the best-worst, funnest-scariest thing I've done...possibly ever.

I am so much more aware of fear these days.  In everything, I see how it might hurt me, or how in providing this service, someone else might get hurt.  But despite all that, my pride won out in the end.  There was no way I could tell a bunch of 15 year-olds that I was going to do something, and then back out.  They would never let me live it down.  

It never got less scary. That instant when your feet leave the platform was never really okay.  But I did it.  And it was amazing.  Through the pain (ouchie mcgouchies, armpit muscles) and the fear (I really do hate heights, I really do) - it was incredible.  There is this moment, when you are reaching out for the bar, when you are completely convinced you are about to tumble into the abyss.

But you never ever do.  Which is a lovely (albeit cliched) metaphor for life and whatnot.  There are people supporting you (sometimes strangers) and if you trust them and believe in them, they will keep you from falling to your death.

The craziest part is the catch though.  Its weird, because its all about timing.  You are in the air, which hasn't gotten any less crazy in the three times you've done it, and you're listening So.Hard for the guy on the ground who is telling you what to do.  And then its all over, in one second you go from hanging by your knees to being held by a deceptively strong young lad.

And then its all over.  And you realize you've survived.  You might be a little shaky, but you're also smiling, in awe of the things you can accomplish.  And how cool gravity and physics and the human body are.  And how amazing you are for trying it.  Because no matter how scary it is- when they say Hup, you always jump off that platform.  You always do it.  Because fear can be accepted, but it shouldn't be limiting.

And so you should do it.  Even if you don't really love heights, or being upside down or anything.  You should try.  Take it from your kooky, weird friend - its worth the ladder climb.

Enjoy the video below.  My form needs some serious work, but it shows just how easy it really is (in the catching video I scream really loudly the moment I am caught and it's pretty embarrassing - so don't expect to see that on YouTube anytime soon).


CarolineG said...

great post, fun read!

Rachel said...

Thank you so much! Please continue to read at your leisure. I don't normally take 2 months to respond to comments either.

She's pint-sized and amazing.