The music catches me mid-breath, makes me forget what I’m doing, reminds me that memory has no place here. My hands clench around curved metal, black nails against white tape. The first step is always the strangest, traversing from earth to air, throwing myself backward until something else takes over. And it does. Locked arms lift me into my suspended stage. I recline, a semblance of relaxation with every muscle tensed. Fingers trace thin air on either side, delight in disconnectedness. In a moment hands find hoop, arms extend, my right foot touches the zenith of my orb without hesitation. It simply belongs there right now. Feeling more secure than I ever do on earth I let go, lean back, feel the balance, fly.
When I’m up there, I cannot see my body to critique its lines and curves, but I can feel it. I feel it moving fluidly, executing thoughts before they’re fully formed. I feel each tiny tremor leading to another, adding up to something momentous. I feel new instincts, bypassing worry as I adapt to strange orientations. I feel every inch of my body at once, I trust it, and I love it.
I’m by no means an expert aerialiste, and there’s always more to learn, but with every hour in my perfect circle I find myself stronger, more flexible, more able to control gravity’s hold on me. I can’t think of it as exercise; it was never about looking good. It was about feeling immortal.
Thanks to the magical creatures at Teardrop Circus in Brighton for helping me take to the air once again!