Christine has been with us for almost a year now. She most recently rocked a performance in our Spring Showcase and was amazing! Here is what aerial has done for her since she began in June of 2015:
Throughout almost my entire life, I refused to acknowledge that choices I made about diet and exercise directly affected what I looked like. Instead, I hid behind my identity as a soft, pudgy, “big girl” and wallowed in self-pity while binge-eating 3500 calories after school. This led to me weighing approximately 220 pounds at the end of high school. Embarrassment and self-loathing didn’t even begin to cover what I felt every time I happened to catch my reflection in the mirror or in a particularly polished shop window. My weight has fluctuated quite a bit since then, but the battle between my brain and my body was ongoing. I was resigned to the fact that I was destined for a lifetime of feeling disconnected from, and ashamed of, my body.
However, I always wanted to be in shape, and to stop hating what I looked like. But I knew I wasn’t fast enough to run, wasn’t flexible enough for yoga, wasn’t driven enough for Crossfit. I am sure you can only imagine my confusion and skepticism when a friend suggested I try aerial.
When I tell you I was terrible, I mean that in the truest and sincerest form. I couldn’t do a shoulder lock-off. I couldn’t even really do a straight-arm hang. But something about the way I felt when I was in the air, the gratification of learning something new on my curriculum sheet, and the encouragement from my peers and instructors, kept me coming back week after week.
Weeks turned into months and things started to really change for me. Not all at once, but piece by piece. I became more serious about my diet and water intake because I realized that the things I put in my body turn into energy (a mind-blowing realization). I started tracking my macros to ensure I was getting enough protein. I wanted to get more sleep and eat more vegetables (did you guys know kale is pretty okay tasting?) so I could fly harder, and before I knew it, I was launching into ball flow, breezing through starfish, and even sucking less at straddles (still sucking some, but not as much).
Since I have started aerials, I still weigh about 15 pounds more than I did at my smallest. My shoulders are big and don’t fit into structured dresses and blouses. My hips are scarred with silk burns. The backs of my knees are permanently discolored. The lengths of my fingers and sides of my feet are calloused. All of these things that may have once made me feel ugly--my rough edges and the size of my shoulders and thighs--now make me feel invincible. Strong. Beautiful. They are my battle scars, and they are evidence of the things my body can do now--things I never thought I could be capable of in a million years.