Dear Mom: I Joined the Circus Part 3

Do your limbs hang low?

My limbs have been hanging around 3-4 feet above ground lately. I have Bird’s Eye View Circus and their beginner aerial silks class to thank for that. Sometimes my limbs are shaky, especially when I can’t get them to stay in position. Other times, my limbs, particularly my arms, seem to possess a superhuman strength I had no idea I was capable of. My limbs—though lanky as they are—are hanging low, high, right side up, upside-down, in single foot knots, and in double foot knots. My limbs, at the moment, aren’t quite sure what to think of me.

“Who is this active person who wants me to hang on these silky threads suspended from the sky?” My limbs ask.

Do they wobble to and fro?

There may have been a fair amount of wobbling this past week. However, as is the case with every new technique we are taught, after the initial “good old college try,” I’m usually able to control the wobbling and get to a position where I’m able to sit or stand still and pose for a beautiful photo.


This week’s “cuddle” trick was a prime example of the wobbles releasing themselves from my body. I hung in the air, my right knee cuddling one silk and my left armpit sweating all over the second silk with my feet clamped together. It was a beautiful and painful moment I wish I could relish forever.

Can you tie them in a knot, can you tie them in a bow?

If you classify the silks securing my feet in single and double foot knots, then yes, I can tie my legs into knots. The double foot knot is actually tricky. The idea is to have both your left and right feet secured in knots at the same height. If they’re off balance—well, there’s no telling what kind of position you might find yourself in.  Luckily, my double foot knots brought me to an intentional lunge. Others in my class were able to do the splits. No, I’m not quite there.

Can you throw them over your shoulder like a Continental soldier?

xbackerinI’m certainly no Private Rippe, but I would definitely want instructor Erin Garber-Pearson in my brigade. This week, Erin showed us the X-Back. It’s a multi-step technique that she said could sometimes take weeks or months to “conquer.” Of course, it involves forming an X across you back and hanging upside down, throwing your limbs over your shoulders and hanging by your feet. Many of us stared at Erin in disbelief. “Go easy on yourselves,” she said. “You probably won’t get this on your first try.”

And while I didn’t get the X-Back on my first, second or even third try, I didn’t let it get the best of me. Silks is a demanding sport, and I’m thankful that Erin is showing us what we will someday be capable of doing. It’s a goal to achieve, even if right now it seems rather lofty.

Oh, we’re half way there

We are officially half way through the beginner’s silks six-week session, and I’m really proud of how far I’ve come. The muscle pain only exists a day or two after the workout. My limbs are getting more flexible by the hour. I’m no longer nervous about being the first one to test out a new skill. Even though they’re the hardest, I’ve gotten used to the stretchiness of the black silks, my preferred equipment. I keep telling myself that if I learn to master them, I will be one heck of an aerialist someday.


*Photos courtesy of Matthew Miller, ProMedica HealthConnect Photographer/Videographer.