There are a handful of times in my journey in the realm of hooping that have really changed my viewpoint on myself, others, and how I approach life itself. Two experiences stand out:
1. This summer I went camping upstate in a beautiful State Park. I decided to bring my hoop along because I had been dancing in my dank basement for far too long. I wanted to share my art with others. But, I was afraid. The first few days we were there I only hooped in dark corners where only a few people might sneak a peak at my moves. I definitely turned the few heads that were nearby. To my surprise, people weren’t judging, but rather intrigued with this dance form they had never seen before. I gained some confidence. Enough self-assurance, in fact, to bring my hoop into the open. I tried hooping at the campsite where many people nearby could view my dance. They were all interested and quite amazed with the tricks I was totally nailing (although, unlike them, I knew how easy these tricks were). Then, something purely awesome happened. We were camping beside a family with about three children around the age of seven. They had been running around all day, engrossed in their make-believe games and conquests of the vast nature before them. However, when they first saw me twirling my hoop they literally stopped in their tracks, mouths agape, and watched the rest of my dance in awe. I heard the most outgoing little boy say to his mother, “Whoa! She’s got skills.” I blushed, but I was not embarrassed. I mean, seriously, this compliment from an elementary schooler reminded me why I started hooping in the first place: for the magic of discovering the beauty of movement. I thanked the little tyke and vowed to never hide my dance again.
2. Having made my new commitment to showing the world my moves, I took my hoop along to the beach. My family was staying in a rather quiet, secluded area in the back bay. It was warm, but the weather is always right for hooping. I followed the adults of the family to a little jut of land near the ocean with my hoop in tow. I began to play around and feel the air and my body. When it became too dark to see we ventured back to the house. On our way back, a kind family stopped us to offer crabs they had caught and were unable to finish for dinner. While the adults were conversing an amiable older woman walked up to me and said, “You’re really good with that hula hoop!” I was taken by surprise. I smiled and humbly thanked her. A man, whom I assumed was her husband said, “I didn’t get to see her use it, I just saw her carry it back and forth.” The woman assured him that I was talented beyond her belief. I didn’t know what to say. A younger boy about my age, their son, caught my gaze when I looked up from the ground. He gave me a coy smile as if to approve of my hobby. Thank goodness it was too dark for him to see how flushed my face became. I was flattered. Here I was, a shy, awkward girl just doing what made her happy and getting compliments from elderly strangers (and one unbelievably adorable young man). My love of the hoop was affirmed once again.
Here’s to finding myself, in and outside of the hoop!