Hobbies are wonderful things. They help us relax, let us blow off steam, teach us new skills, and allow us to try something fun while meeting new people. I have a lot of hobbies I enjoy; reading, scrapbooking, crocheting, playing music. Most of those are solitary hobbies, though and I wanted to try something out of my comfort zone that would help me interact with others.
A few years ago my younger sister invited me to watch her friend’s aerial performance. If you don’t know what aerial is, think Cirque Du Soleil. The people who do amazing feats in silks, ropes, and hoops high up in the air. I’ve always found it fascinating it, so I went and I was amazed. I also thought I want to do that. But I was worried with my chronic illness (fibromyalgia) my body wouldn’t allow it.
Never one to give up on a dream, I signed up for a silks class with my sister. It. Was. Hard. I knew it was going to be difficult, but my body did not like fighting with the fabric. Her friend suggested we try out lyra, or hoop. Since that is a hard apparatus and if you need to rest your muscles (like me) you can just swing back into the hoop and sit.
My first lyra class I fell in love. Until I dismounted wrong and broke my big toe. AT THE FIRST CLASS! It seemed life didn’t want me to partake in this new hobby, but when have I ever listened to someone telling me I can’t do something (never, the answer is never). After surgery, a few months of rest, and the doctor’s okay I was back in the hoop.
It’s been about a year since I started doing lyra classes. I go once a week and sometimes to an open gym session if my body will allow it. I love it. I can’t always perform the moves as well as my classmates, but I am proud of how much I am able to do. And it’s not just my body that has gotten stronger; my mind has improved as well. Aerials draws people from all walks of life, I’ve met scientists, teachers, students, stay-at-home-parents, retirees, flight attendants, and burlesque performers. It’s been a blast getting to know my circus family and learning about their lives.
Now some say exercise can give you an endorphin rush, but I find that it give me idea rushes. After class my mind is literally bursting with new plot bunnies. I find issues I’m running into with my story get solved while I’m ten feet in the air hanging by my ankles. It’s why I always have a notebook in my bag to jot down ideas before I even reach the parking lot.
The day after class my body runs low on spoons, or little energy for those of you not familiar with spoonie terminology. While this is frustrating for getting housework or errands done, it means I curl up in bed with my computer and use my brain instead of my body. I usually get my highest word counts the day after class.
In addition to being a great way to jiggle ideas loose from the old noggin, I enjoy my aerial hobby because it’s something just for me. Sure, I like to perform and show off the skills I’ve learned, but the reason I go to class every week is because there’s no pressure on me to make it anything more than what it is. It’s fun. It’s an hour where I don’t have to be a wife, mom, writer. I can just be Mariah. Doing my thing and having fun (and getting lots of bruises when the hoop bangs my shins, lol).
Hobbies are important. Whether they take you out of the house or keep you in. If you do them alone or in a group, it’s important to have something that makes you happy for no other reason than you like it. So if you like a physical hobby like me, or something more game related like Lincoln and Lilly’s shared love of pinball in The Best Man Problem, I hope you find a hobby that makes you happy.
Comment below on what your favorite hobby is and one random winner with receive a $10 Amazon e-gift card. If you want to see me trying my best at aerials check out my Instagram page and don’t forget to pick up your copy of The Best Man Problem out now!