The Joy of Taking Breaks and Learning Something New Doing real things with my real muscles

Sage Harrington as a clown - Pyragraph

Me and my new circus pals, Callie and Tasha.

Due to the crappy way I’ve been feeling lately (as discussed previously) I needed, just needed, to do something real. Something, er, analog. Something that did not involve pixels. Something that did not involve booking underpaying shows that I would struggle to get through.

I wanted to do real things with my real muscles, so I signed up for a circus intensive. Besides, I didn’t have any shows booked (I was tired of the pixels, remember?) so what else was I gonna do with myself? It was perfect timing.

What can I say about it? It was so much fun. It was beyond liberating to do something so new, so exciting, so beyond my brain’s normal functioning patterns. It was a six-week intensive with classes in all sorts of disciplines: aerials (fabrics and trapeze), clowning, physical theater, stilts, acrobalance.

This is really refreshing. I’m loving being a beginner.

There’s this thing that happens when you’re taking a fabrics class, for example, and you’re a beginner. The teacher shows you how to do something (and usually they show you about three different things you can do once you’re all twisted up in there), and you go, “Oh, cool, okay, I could totally swing that, that looks super do-able,” then you get up there, you reach for the apparatus, and you’re like, “…uhh…”

Everything’s gone.

You have no idea what to do, and feel totally lost.

This is really refreshing. I’m loving being a beginner. Not to say that I don’t feel like a beginner at music in a lot of ways—I totally do!–but it’s so exciting being at the very start (like, three months and counting!) of this aerial thing. What’s exciting about being at the very beginning is seeing your own progress. Because during one class you’re hanging upside-down, inexplicably not knowing which way is up (note to self: the ceiling is up), and the next you’ve totally got it: What seemed like an interminably long sequence of impossibly complicated tasks has somehow solidified. Understanding has come to the fore from a dark, foggy netherworld of confusion.

And when that happens, it is beautiful. It looks like this, but in your mind.

Rainbow, clouds parting - Pyragraph

Courtesy of kansasphoto.

I’ve got circus muscles now. I have upper body strength, which is something that I’ve never had any reason to develop before. Flashback to Sage’s early teens: At a summer dance intensive I attended, a yoga instructor referred to all us ballerinas as having “weak little dancer arms.” So, that’s been the image of my upper body strength I’ve carried for all these years. Until now.

Surrounded by wonderful women at this wonderful studio (by the way, I am totally going to keep taking classes up there—the atmosphere is just so dang warm and supportive), I’ve become stronger, more confident, and totally jazzed to keep learning the aerial arts.

I feel like a strong, tricked-out trapeze badass.

The workshop concluded with a series of performances. I performed in a clown act (hence, the nose you see in the above photo) and a trapeze act. And, ironically enough, we choreographed our trapeze act to this steampunk song about the evils of the man who invented digital clocks. (It’s ironic because I didn’t choose the song—my trapeze partner did. Remember how I said I was tired of the pixels?)

And now I feel like a strong, tricked-out trapeze badass.

I took a fabrics class the other night and climbed all the way to the fuckin’ top—although I think it was maybe a little shorter than the ones I’ve become accustomed to climbing—I MEAN, it was the longest fabric ever and I just feel so confident, strong, and totally refreshed.

I’m so excited to keep going with this.

Sage Harrington

About Sage Harrington

Sage Harrington is a musician and Managing Editor for Pyragraph. She writes songs on her ukulele and plays them with her duo, Sage and Jared’s Happy Gland Band. They make videos and post them on the internet, while tending to their flock of urban chickens, two tiny dogs, and other small creatures.

2 Comments

  1. Tabatha Shaun on July 9, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    What an inspirational post! It’s easy to forget about how many new experiences you can have without going far from home. I’m getting so fatigued with sitting down for hours every day at my sewing machine. My guitar is only twenty feet away and I feel it might want to be dusted, tuned, and played for the first time in a year.

  2. Sage Harrington Sage Harrington on July 10, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Thanks, Tabatha! It’s true-it’s important to remember why we love doing things in the first place, and not get bogged down and fatigued! (And if you want to play music together sometime, let’s!) :)

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