After feeling ambivalent for quite some time, I have finally decided to retire from the flying trapeze.
I decided that I was holding on the trapeze because I was afraid to let it go (which obviously defeats the purpose of trapeze as a metaphor, if nothing else!). As I wrote in a prior post, I kind of dread going every time. I think part of it is that I still carry around fear as a result of my injury, but there are other reasons as well. I don’t fly enough to toughen up the skin on my hands, so I’m constantly worried about blisters and rips on my palms. I also don’t fly enough to feel comfortable and confident in “working the board” (for the uninitiated, this means helping other flyers by grabbing and throwing bars, dealing with safety lines and giving other technical assistance all at exactly the right time while moving around on that tiny platform 2 stories up). I am not around enough to feel connected or accepted in the trapeze community in L.A. (such as it is). And, most importantly, I’m not committed to going to trapeze often enough to really improve any of these aspects of my experience.
In truth, I have been in pretty much this exact same place for the past 12 – 18 months. So why quit now?
Because, even though I do still derive some enjoyment from flying, I realized (just a few days ago) that I wasn’t really going to trapeze anymore because of how much fun it is. I was actually holding on to being a flyer because: it made me feel unique; I thought it made me seem more interesting and exciting to others; I was afraid of not having a built-in reason to see my friend Maile (we met doing trapeze and she has become a very good friend); I am not a quitter; I was afraid of feeling bad (left out, excluded, a loser, a has-been) when I see someone else flying and I’m not doing it anymore.
I think this all boils down to me being afraid of feeling less special. But when I really lay it out like that, I can’t even convince myself that being a struggling amateur flying trapeze artist is actually a significant (or even relevant) piece of what connects me to others or how I make my contribution in the world.
So I’m officially grounded. And officially relieved!!!!!