Monday, March 1, 2010

Day 148

I don't even know where to begin describing what it feels like to trapeze. It's an odd mixture of feelings and I guess the bottom line is it's challenging but provides a great opportunity to extend one's comfort zone.

When I arrived at the aerial arts centre I wasn't feeling any nervousness or excitement. I was pretty void of emotion to be honest, because I was just so darn tired from only having had 9 hours sleep in the past 48 hours. A combination of possum adventures and my Aunty's 60th birthday party had me lacking in the 40 winks department. (My finger is fine by the way. It has a couple of crescent shaped possum teeth marks going through it but no hospital run, stitches, antibiotics or amputation necessary. I can't use it very well though so that proved to be a trapezing challenge. And it still hurts to type ...)

We did lots of stretching and flexing to get our bodies ready for the event and we had some lessons on a low level trapeze bar to get a feel for what it's like to hold your entire body weight with your hands. I was pleased to see that we were going to be harnessed and there was a huge net to land in should we ... I mean "when" we fall. The nerves only started to kick in when I had to climb the ladder.

As you know a combination of fibromyalgia and age has given me the gift of vertigo so the whole heights thing has become a problem in recent years. I am not going to say I am afraid of heights because I am not ... I just lose my equilibrium a bit when I am more than a metre or two above the ground. What am I talking about, I lose my equilibrium just standing on my own two feet some days ... but I guess it gets worse the higher up I go. So as you can imagine trapezing was going to provide me with a pretty big challenge.

I thought the ladder was bad. Standing on the suspended platform 3 storeys off the ground was no picnic. I was gripping onto the side bars with white knuckled intensity. Cue throbbing possum finger.

Then it was time to lean out in a curved swan like way (hips jutting forward) as I held onto the platform bar with my left hand and gripped the trapeze swing with my right (more throbbing finger). There was a great deal of trust in my instructor needed as she prevented me from falling off with her grip on my harness. It was then time to let go of my safety rung and take hold of the swing with my left hand as well (I am still being held by my harness to delay my trapeze by a few more seconds). She was telling me it was time to step off the platform.

I have to tell you, although this is not sky diving (the exit is a little lower than 14,000 feet), it is not rock climbing (you have a safety net to fall into), it is not scuba diving (there are no sharks to eat you) and it is not even boot camp (not a hill in sight), at that moment it was bloody terrifying. The amount of self talk, deep breathing and positive visualisation I had to do to get my foot to step into nothingness was incredible. And then I went. I was flying. I was FLYING! I swung out over the net and back again, and out, and back, and out, and back and when I had lost momentum I let go of the bar and dropped to the net in relief. I had done it! And that's when I started to shake uncontrollably as the adrenalin or nerves or relief or whatever it was set in. But it wasn't over yet, it was now time to do it all again only this time hanging by my legs and doing tricky somersaults to dismount. Shit ....

I won't go into all the details but I ended up climbing the ladder about 7 times in total, and by the end of the session I was able to swing out, hook my legs over the bar, hang upside down and bend back gracefully, then hook my legs back through to hang by my hands again, before I did a back flip to dismount and land in the net. I would like to say it got easier with each fly but it didn't. In fact my trembling intensified every time I went up there and it took twice as much self talk to get me to step off the platform, and it took ice packs in between each fly to take the burning out of my hands (which out-pained the finger throb), but I can safely say I will be going back for more. Despite my success yesterday I didn't quite get to the stage of joining forces with a catcher. I am going to do that. So watch this space in the next few months as I continue on my trapezing journey.

Right now though I need to sooth my aching muscles and rub some oil into my red raw hands. It was definitely a good way to take the focus off my finger ...


  1. Wow, that sounds like an amazing adventure! Good on you for having the guts to do it.

  2. This sounds like so much fun (in the completely terrifying, nail-biting kind of way)!!


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