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April 26, 2012 / ccollinsonjones1

The sideshow

Fuck you, ropes. Fuck you.

After a year and a half of ditch the treadmill, I have met my nemesis: the rope. It’s actually quite hard for me to write ‘rope’ without putting an expletive in front of it.

This week a friend and I began an aerial arts training course at Circus Space. We will do four weeks on the flying trapeze, four weeks on the static trapeze, and four weeks on the rope. Nick started with static trapeze, I started with rope. That’s right, FOUR EFFING TORTUROUS WEEKS on the rope.

My trouble is this: my shoulders (in fact all my joints) dislocate very easily, sometimes even in my sleep. While I’m usually fine avoiding this during exercise there are one or two things that I simply can’t do without risk of an arm falling off. One is control a bumper car (spin, wrench, pop, ARGH!) and the other is put my hands straight up over my head with my palms touching for any length of time. So imagine my delight when I realised that this is pretty much how I’ll spend every Tuesday night for a month.

Basically rope involves hanging regularly in that position. In my case this means it also involves using some rather puny shoulder muscles to hold my arms in their sockets lest I fall apart like the old Sindy doll at the bottom of the toy box.

I am the circus sideshow. Roll up, roll up to see the amazing DISLOCATING WOMAN.

I’m not too proud to admit that I whinged a lot, swore a lot, walked out early and then sobbed pathetically in the changing room afterwards. I told myself I was being a wimp and making excuses. I told myself to man up and deal with it. It didn’t work.

Mostly it was fear and frustration that ruined it for me. I didn’t actually dislocate anything, I merely had to live with the feeling that it could go at any second, with the extra strain of holding everything in place (and trying not to throw up). From the first exercise I told myself I couldn’t do it so as the class romped ahead I just got more fearful and frustrated, which of course made it worse.

After the session I was told I might not be allowed to continue. I am awaiting a phone call about it. Hopefully they’ll tell me I can carry on but move to the static trapeze so I won’t be forced into the DANGER position for an hour and a half each week.

Nick looked like a pro on the static trapeze within about 15 minutes, though he hobbled away with giant bruises on the balls of his feet like he’d been dancing in 7 inch tranny heels all night. He loved it though.

So it wasn’t a resounding success for me but I hope that in the course of the next 12 weeks I’ll overcome all this and make it to the top of the rope where I shall spin and tumble (on purpose).

Onward and (hopefully at some point) upward.

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