On Monday morning, I was having a quick catch up call with one of my girl friends, and the conversation went something like this:
Friend: “So what’s on your agenda for the day?”
Me: “Well, a sitter is on the way to watch Jameson. I’ve got to head to the office to take care of some things for church. And then I’m headed to trapeze class.”
Friend: “Trapeze class?! Ok, you’re just gonna drop that in there, huh?”
Yes, on Monday, Jordan and I went on a day date to the Trapeze School of New York for a beginners class. This is something I’ve wanted to try for years, and once when we were driving down the West Side Highway, I pointed out the trapeze school and mentioned my dream of trying it to Jordan. Well, being the thoughtful guy he his, coupled with our mission to try a bunch of new stuff around the city this summer, he registered us.
The Trapeze School of New York is located on the top floor of the Pier 40 building, where you catch some pretty great views of downtown, the Statue of Liberty, and the Freedom Tower. When we arrived, I was really excited that we were actually doing this, but I was also thinking, “This might be a complete disaster.” Something tells me Jordan had a similar thought.Our instructors were incredibly helpful with getting our belts on and explaining how we’d climb up the ladder, get connected to the safety ropes, grab hold of the bar, and jump off the platform. At the same time that they were very helpful, they also told us we were going to get straight to it, with jumping off and hooking our knees on the bar and hanging with no hands. No beating around the bush. I was up first, and I did my best to laugh and act like this was no big deal. While you’re standing on the platform, you place your toes on the edge, and your spotter helps you get set with the bar. The bar is about 10 lbs, which for my weakling arms made me feel like I might get pulled off the ledge before ever making the decision to jump. You basically have to lean forward to hold the bar while trusting that the spotter will counter your weight and hold you until you jump. When it’s time to jump, the coaches yell “Hep!” and you just step off. With things like this, I know myself well, and knew that any moment of hesitation would just make things worse. So I went for it, and honestly, I was praying my pitiful upper body strength was enough to keep me holding onto that bar. I had flashbacks to failed attempts on the monkey bars on my elementary school playground. And then I thought, “Jessica, you would be the person who chooses a trapeze class as their first exercise class since giving birth.” smh. Check out the intensity, my friends. (And yes, I opted to wear a shirt with a dove, which was intended to encourage my flying abilities.) One of the coaches is mic’d up, so you can hear your instructions. His first one to me was, “Don’t forget to breathe.” Uhhhhh, yeah! That little thing called breathing would probably help at a time like this.
As you start to swing back toward the platform, they call for you to place your knees on the bar. Between postpartum abs and the whole needing to do this while in motion thing, I thought for sure I’d fail at this. But the movement actually worked in my favor, and it was easier than I anticipated.And then you get the instruction to let go — not forcing it, but allowing the swing to do most of the work for you.Wheeeeeeee!! After dismounting off the net, it was Jordan’s turn to go, and my adrenaline was on a level 10. While we knew the 10 lb. trapeze bar would be no issue for Jordan, leading up to his first jump, we did joke about flexibility not exactly being one of his strong suits. ;-)But he did great! Especially when it was time to back flip off the bar.And in typical Jordan fashion, he became best friends with our instructors. It didn’t hurt that Travis, the guy giving the calls and helping us dismount also lives in Harlem, so we bonded over that too.We each got several chances to fly, building upon what we learned from the time before. And it was an incredible feeling to fly through the air. There’s something so rewarding about facing something new that kind of scares/intimidates you but pushing through to try it anyway. There’s something really cool about trusting that the spotter has you, so you can lean over the edge. Or that the swing will support you, so you can let go. Or that even if you don’t do something perfectly, there’s a perfectly safe landing spot in the net below you. So you can just breathe, let go, and fly.
I’ve always wanted to try trapeze because I thought it would be different and fun, but I surprisingly left with a whole metaphor for faith and life.
On my last jump, we went for the classic trapeze move of a catch and release — where I’d swing from my knees, and one of the instructors would catch me so I could swing from his hands. Check out the video below to see the moment in all it’s glory. If you can listen carefully, you’ll hear a lady standing near Jordan make a comment about how “animated” I am (ha! Lady, you are observant), and you’ll hear Jordan say, “I know she is terrified right now.” Both comments crack me up.
P.S. The adrenaline has totally worn off, and sev-er-al muscle groups on my body are sore. I’m talking arms, abs, and legs. But still oh so worth it.