I Might as well Join the Circus

Aug 22, 2015 by

08.22.2015 - I Might as Well Join the Circus

 
          “So what brought you here, Maria?” Laura of the Toronto School of Circus Arts asked me when I met her atop a small platform located at the end of what must have been a 50-foot ladder.

          “I write a blog called The Happiness Experiment, so I have to do cool things like this,” I explained.

          “I wish I had a job where I got to do cool things all the time,” she said. “Oh wait, I do have a job where I get to do cool things all the time. Never mind!” she beamed, making me laugh. “Okay, Maria, feet at the edge of the platform.”

          “You’ve got me?” I asked with my mouth dry.

          “I’ve got you!” she assured. “Reach your right hand out for the bar in front of you.”

          I followed her guide.

          “Now your left.”

          “I don’t feel like I’ve got it, girl,” I told her nervously, my hands clammy. My palms had been sweating from the moment I watched the first person go. I was the 16th. I had a lot of time to stress.

          “Try adjusting your grip,” she suggested, by which she meant try leaning further past the platform I already felt like I was going to fall off of.

          I breathed in deeply before forcing myself to place my second hand on the trapeze.

          “Happy thoughts, Maria!” she reminded.

          “Always!” I replied.

          “Maria, ready, hop!” she cued for me to jump.

          I soared – after my second jump attempt. My feet didn’t leave the platform after the first. #fulldisclosure

 

***

 

          Over two years ago, when I began The Happiness Experiment, I wrote a list of things I could do to excite my life. It wasn’t a to-do list or even a bucket list. It was just a brainstorm of ideas to open my mind to ways I could make friends and develop interests. I needed interests. There was nothing that intrigued me about my life. I didn’t have any activities that I enjoyed, and The Happiness Experiment was so new that I didn’t even know I liked writing yet.

          I scoured Google for realistic options. It was crucial that the ideas on the list be accessible. The purpose was to show myself that there were fun things within my financial means that I could to do at home. Anything I wanted to do abroad, like take a macaron class in Paris, did not go on the list. I was trying to demonstrate that happiness was attainable in the short term and didn’t require getting on a plane. I told myself that I didn’t even need to use the list; I just needed to believe in the possibility of happiness.

          Once created, I never referred to it. In fact, I completely forgot about it. I’m not even sure if I still have it. It may have been lost in the crash of 2014. After my April 2013 night in Niagara, I had the belief in happiness and the motivation to maintain it that I required, displacing my need for the list. It wasn’t until May of this year that I remembered there was one.

          On behalf of a coworker, I had asked Jeanie where someone would be able to try lyra (aerial hoop). She suggested the Toronto School of Circus Arts (TSCA). I went to the TSCA’s website to pull up the schedule for my coworker, and when I did, I noticed drop-in flying trapeze classes.

          My mouth dropped.

          Memory: sparked!

          Drop-in flying trapeze was on my list! Oh my God, I recalled, I had a list! I have to do this!

          Last night, I did. I was terrified! It was incredible! Fear and the rush of conquering it is exactly why I do things like swing on a flying trapeze. Not to mention the people I meet. For two hours, the beautiful strangers at the TSCA and I formed a sense of camaraderie via shared terror and accomplishment, cheering each other on for every swing and flip. Yes, I flipped! There was much miscommunication in the process, but it happened! Check out the videos below!

 

***

 

          “She writes a blog called The Happiness Experiment,” I heard Gill, who I had just met, say when she reached Laura at the top of the ladder for her second swing.

          “She was saying!” Laura said. “Isn’t that cool?”

          I smiled to myself in pride. When I added drop-in flying trapeze to that list over two years ago, I had no idea whether or not The Happiness Experiment would work to make me happy. And there I was over two years later in a drop-in flying trapeze class, proving for the countless time that it had.

 

 

 
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