The Circus Saved My Life
When I was younger all my friends would tell me how sweet and loving my Mom was. Heck, that is still a common theme today! She is a walking heart and a second Mom to all who meet her! But my favorite story to tell about her has always been the story of how the circus saved her life. Why? Because it shows that deep down she‘s a closet bad a**.
When my mom was younger she used to dance in the circus. Her dance troupe was the act between acts as they cleaned up the elephant poo (her words, not mine). In her time there she was surrounded by circus artists of all kinds, but her favorite was flying trapeze. To her excitement she was eventually one of a few girls they let try it out! It is from these flying trapeze lessons that she learned how to tuck when landing in the net as to protect her neck from injury. That repetition became engrained in her mind, which was a blessing because it later came in handy. When my Mom was in her 20s she was in a horrible motorcycle accident. As she flew through the air and landed on the hard concrete, her immediate reaction was to tuck and protect her neck. Though she did sustain injuries from the crash, it was that instinctual tuck that saved her life.
I guess this is a common theme in my family because the circus also saved MY life, albeit in a very different way. About 4 years ago I hit what I deemed my own personal rock bottom. I had just gotten out of a 4 year toxic relationship, I was out of work, nearly out of money, and in the depths of manic depression. The one thing that was keeping me stable during this time was taking my aerial classes (aka, circus arts). The darkest night of my depression occurred the night before a morning of double classes. To make a very long story short, I had broken up with my boyfriend some months before but we were still in contact. I personally had the intention of getting back together but seemingly out of nowhere he ghosted me (not a smart thing to do to someone with bipolar experiencing heavy episodes). So I showed up at his brother’s house where he was living. After a very long, embarrassing, mania infused conversation I left, broken hearted, with full intention to take my own life. But when I got home, as I sat there in the tub, a light switch went off in my brain... I have class in 2 hours. So I picked myself up, got myself a coffee, and went to class. I was running off of zero sleep but that was of no consequence to me. I wasn’t going to miss my aerial classes. And as I was sitting there in the middle of a deep stretch I made a decision... today is the day I am going to change my life. And I did.
Immediately after I set my sights for change, I picked up my first ever personal development book, and I couldn’t put it down! I started watching YouTube videos about self help, meditating daily, podcasting, and I threw myself fully into circus training. In a matter of months I went from beginner to free lance performer, starting with low paying acts in Hollywood to quoting $200 for a 3 minute piece and getting paid $300 in turn for the quality of work I put out. I was finally beginning to understand my own value and opportunity began flowing my way. And it was upon that realization that the most important opportunity of my lifetime presented itself; I met my now husband. I remember him distinctly saying, “Give me one year and I will change your life.” And he did. We quickly got engaged, started a nutrition business, opened a brick and mortar smoothie bar, got married, and all in the matter of, you guessed it, 1 year! And it all started with that moment in the tub where I had a singular decision to make... the easy way or the hard way.
Looking back now, amidst every challenge I have faced since the night depression almost had the best of me, I am SO grateful that I chose the hard way. I am blessed that through something as simple as not missing my aerial classes, God was able to give me the opportunity to choose life and I took Him up on it. And though at the end of the day it was through His will, not my own, I am thankful that the circus saved my life.