Aerial Silks – Week 6 – Defying Gravity

I’m going to go off script a little bit.

Since this is my last week… I can do that.

I want to tell you all the most important thing I’ve gotten out of these last six weeks of aerial silks.  I’ll warn you right now, this post won’t be nearly as fun/funny as my others, but I think it’s vital that I share this with you.

When Angela first asked me about taking the class and blogging about it, of course I thought it would be a hoot and a half. I’m always up for an adventure. Deep down inside, there was a small part of me that was very excited because I genuinely wanted to float gently like a feather on a breeze. That small part stays locked up with Doubt and Fear standing guard.

It was all fine and well to do this as an experiment, or something to make people laugh. But, I’m a grown ass woman. I’m not going to get hired by Cirque du Soleil anytime soon, so what business do I have seriously taking a 6 week silks class?!

EVERY @#$%&* BUSINESS!

Let me tell you. Every one of you with that small, deep down part; that part that speaks very softly, and often gets ignored. Start listening to it. Start respecting it. Start honoring it.

Life is TOO short, and we spend TOO much time doing so many things we don’t WANT to do, or feel like we HAVE to do. Sometimes, you need to pursue floating like a feather, or galloping like a majestic gazelle. Because, I’m here to tell you, there’s something so beautiful on the other side of it! There’s going to be so many things you gain that you would have never expected.

I honestly ran through every single reason why I would NOT be good at this. My height, my weight, my age, my job, my time, my money. Whenever I ran out of negative things to say, my body was ready to chime in (as you’ve noticed). At the end of this session, I realize that I’ve done things in this class that I never thought possible. I’ve done things at week 6 that actually WERE impossible when I first started.

I gained knowledge and understanding that had to do with much more than circus arts.

On my first day, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I sat on the gym mat, excited and nervous at the same time. As my classmates piled in, I did what I always do in these situations.

I have a bad habit of comparing myself to others. I think most people (especially women) have this same problem. And, yes, it is a problem. Every person that came in, I immediately assessed them.

“She’s going to do great because she’s a lot younger than me.”

“This will be easy for her because she’s a lot thinner than me.”

Before long, you’ve already started discouraging yourself before you’ve even TRIED anything.

Women get a bad rep for being catty and generally shady in a group setting. I’ve seen it myself many times. There’s so much pressure to be the best, that it gets very easy to act/think negatively of people you think have an advantage over you. And it all starts with that initial comparison. “She’s younger than me.” “She’s thinner than me.” “She’s taller than me.” “She’s prettier than me.”

Getting a group of strangers together, in a setting where it’s entirely possible that they’ll make a fool of themselves, is sometimes just asking for trouble. My class this time happened to be all women. I went in with my pre-conceived notions about everyone’s aptitude (including my own). The first class, everyone was understandably hesitant. Flopping around in fabric is not the most flattering of impressions you want to make.

When I started writing these blog posts, of course I wanted to make it entertaining, and fun. What I didn’t expect was for it to be a bridge to common ground. I started having people coming up to me and saying “I read your blog… I swear I’m thinking the SAME thing when we’re in class!”

My immediate thought is

“But you’re so tiny! You can’t understand my fat girl struggles!”

But the more I talked to people, the more I realized that we all have the same insecurities, the same pains, the same conversations with our bodies. It helped me to look at people objectively, and when I did, it was like I was seeing them for the first time.

All of us had areas where we struggled in class, and we all had areas where we excelled.

Ashley is like the tiniest most perfect little ginger elven princess… and she discovered that she would like a tiny roll of fat to protect her little hip bones…

I’ve totally GOT one of those! And it’s WONDERFUL (thin girl struggles… WHO KNEW?!)

Alex is this tall, graceful willow of the forest and there were things she struggled with… BECAUSE she’s so tall! She had to adjust her approach with things in a way I didn’t have to with my stumpy legs!

I actually started to really get to know these women, and of course, they became well acquainted with my smart mouth. But the great thing about it is, they knew they could speak their minds, they knew there was someone there that understood and could commiserate. Next thing I know, classes started getting really fun!

Once we climbed out of our bubbles and really looked at each other, we started having a good time together. Then, something amazing happened.

We started helping each other!

I had no problem going up to someone and saying “You’re having trouble because you’re doing this… because that’s what I was doing at first too!”

I couldn’t climb, no matter how hard I tried. Kathy showed me The Hip Thing (trademark pending on that name) and now I’m defying gravity! All of us hated the dead hang, but then Deeeeeee came up with the “not really” cheat code for it to psych us into making it easier.

When all I wanted to do was to float gently like a feather on the breeze, I instead found myself part of a community, filled with some pretty amazing women. We laughed together, we shared our pain, we plotted to lock Sara up in the closet…

It was great!

The first time I climbed more than six inches off the ground, these women all clapped for me. I hadn’t even known they were watching. For a moment, I forgot to be self conscious, I forgot that I’m supposed to always be “on”, that I was supposed to be perfect, or at least not let anyone see my imperfection.

For that moment, it was just me and my silks… and I just tried my best. I was rewarded with unwavering support from people that had only known me a couple of weeks. (I actually teared up writing that)

At this point, I’m further away from being a feather than I was that first day, and I couldn’t care less.

I don’t have to be a feather… I’ve been an airplane, a kite, a lotus… I’ve been the Dreamworks Pictures guy…

I’ve been a phoenix, and I’ve damn sure been a majestic #$@%*! gazelle.

I don’t need to float, because I learned to climb.

I’ve learned to fly.

I’ve learned to let go.

I’ve learned to hold on.

… okay funny story about holding on….

So… We’re in the last class, and Sara is showing us how to do some lovely hanging poses. Well, I get my foot up into my knot, I pull up strong and…

I don’t know WHAT the hell happened, but my foot just went

Now, I’m up pretty high, so I saw my whole life flash before my eyes (it was like the boat scene from Willy Wonka)

But, somehow, some way, my body went into survivor mode. I can’t tell you WHAT I did, all I know is it felt like a Spiderman move, and when I opened my eyes, one foot was out in front, the other was behind me somewhere, both arms were behind my head and gripping that silk for all I was worth!

Apparently, the mechanics of how to make the silks taut had been drilled into my head so much, that I was able to save myself from sudden death.

Me:  What the HELL happened, guys?!

Body:  WHAT?! oh sorry… we were… sorry…

Sara: That…. WAS AWESOME! You know that’s an actual pose you’re doing, right?!

Me:

I couldn’t go 6 weeks without almost busting my ass!

But, that happens sometimes. And, for a moment, once I figured out where my body was and how to get it down, I didn’t really want to try again. It was scary, the thought of falling flat on my face. Had it happened the first week, I may have never continued.

Sara wouldn’t let me quit. She saw me standing on the ground, staring at the silks. She saw it.

“Uh-uh!… put some rosin on your feet, and get back up here. You’re fine. You did great.”

And I did.

I’d gained a certain amount of confidence in my own skills and abilities, so I put some rosin on my feet… and I got back up there.

I may be far from being a feather, but I’m also far from the girl who screamed at her first inversion.

I’m far from the girl who could only get up to her calf when she did tree pose

(I now can do UPPER calf…. )

I’m far from the girl who could only get 6 inches off the ground.

My hands don’t hurt as much.

My body doesn’t complain as often.

I let go easier.

I hold on tighter.

I defy gravity.

By no means was it easy, or simple…

Yes, actually; on several occasions.

But it was worth it! It’s worth it to listen to that little excited part of yourself. You have every business following your dreams, your passions, or even just trying something out because you think you might enjoy it. Never underestimate what you might learn from something you just did for a laugh. Never underestimate yourself.

So… when my new friends ask me if I’m going to sign up for the next class…

I automatically say…

Are you KIDDING me?! A chance to float gently in the air like a glorious feather on a breeze, draped in miles of shimmery soft fabric?!

Sign Me UP!

Inverted Smiles,

RCB

Here’s some of the things we’ve learned in class 🙂

 

Aerial Silks – Week 5 – Still I Rise

I can’t believe it’s almost over. It’s not until I sit and reflect on my first class, when I screamed attempting a simple inversion, that I realize how far I’ve come.

The class started as expecting, with stretching and yoga. We even got our heart pumping with some jumping jacks (which Sara somehow still managed to make difficult). It wasn’t until the warm-up was over that I realized I got through the whole thing without having to stop. I mean, I was still sweating like

But SUCCESS!

We started reviewing everything we’ve learned so far, and learning how to clean up our poses. Of course, we have to do our dead hang, our tuck and straddle, blah blah blah, but I’m rushing past all this because…

I learned something NEW!

We were working on our climbing, and I made it about as far up as I made it last week, but just couldn’t seem to get the strength to make it up higher, which was frustrating. That was, until a sweet angel of mercy taught me a hip thing… I call it…

THE HIP THING!

So, apparently, in the midst of my climbing panic to scurry up the silk, I ended up making it harder on myself, and was basically forcing my arms to pull up all of this weight by itself.

What I needed to do was to calm down, first of all (imagine me having a problem doing that) and then wrap the silk around my leg with my knee as high as it can go..

Now, that part was easy, but I found that what I was doing was lowering my leg to bring my other foot on top to trap the fabric. I need to keep my leg high, but then when I bring my foot on top, kick both legs out and make a triangle out of myself and the silk…

Sara taught us that two weeks ago… I remember when she did that, but I was on the floor… dying… and so I forgot.

From the triangle, when you get your hands as high as you can, you push up with your hips, using your legs to take the brunt of your weight.

Body: DUDE! this is sooooo easy!

Me: I KNOW RIGHT?!

Next thing I know, I was able to get as high as I did last week in ONE pull. Before I realized it I was at LEAST a good 5 feet off the ground. I could’ve fit a whole other me underneath me!

I looked down, and everyone in class was looking at me, and they were all clapping. I honestly wanted to cry, because in my excitement…

I forgot I had to get down now.

Sara: “Hand under hand… you can do it!”

After a deep breath, I started slowly moving, hand under hand until I felt the mat under my feet.

Me: OMG that was amazing! I can’t believe we did that! I feel like we can do anything!

Body: How about sitting down for a minute?!

Me: I’d LOVE to!

But… I climbed!

I scurried up that silk almost as well as a toddler!

Score 1 for the old team!

Sara: “Now, I want us to learn a foot lock!”

Body: That sounds like something that doesn’t require us to pull or flip or die!

Me: That’s something I can get behind!

Brain: I don’t know… Sara sounded awfully excited…

Sara: “We’re going to wrap the silk, just like we’re about to climb, keeping our foot flexed, but then, we’re going to take the fabric and pull up… right to heart level, so we have some slack. Then we wrap it under the foot, from little toe to big toe, making sure we can see all of our toes, and wiggle them, and make sure we can see our heel. Then, we pull up strong! From here we can do our arm locks… we can stand pretty!

Me: That seems… totally doable guys!

Body: It does!…. what’s the catch?

I’ll tell you what the catch is. The catch is, your foot… and your hand… have to be in very close proximity to each other… while you’re standing. You have to practically bend in half while standing! Either your hand has to go down to where your foot is, or your foot has to come up to where your hand is…

My hand and my foot, are going through a messy divorce right now.

Me: Okay… we’ve got the silk wrapped around the leg. We pull up, creating a little slack… now we wrap the foot… we wrap the foot… hey guys! Little help?!

Hand: tell the foot to get it’s lazy ass up here!

Ass: Hey, leave us out of this!

Foot: I’m well within my rights to be here.

Hand: I don’t know how you expect me to get you wrapped if you won’t cooperate. You at least have to meet me halfway!

Foot:

Me: oooookaaaaay. 

Brain: 

So, I had to give a lot more slack, and bend way over to get my foot wrapped. I checked to make sure all was in order.

Me: Where the hell are my toes?!

Toes: 

It took some adjusting, but eventually, I found them. I wiggled them a little bit. They retained 75% of their feeling, which I think was good enough. So, I tried out my foot lock.

It worked!

I was able to pull up, get a nice arm hang on each side. It felt pretty good! As the 75% started dropping, it was time to get out of it, though. I practiced it a few times and it definitely got better. I’m getting more comfortable relying on the silks to do their job of holding me up.

Our final torture for the evening was our partner ab work. It’s really hard work, but after holding yourself up, you’ll do anything to be able to lie on your back for a while. Still, even in this, I’m feeling stronger and more confident. I can really tell a difference. It makes me a little sad that the next class is the last of the session.

Just a little.

Inverted Smiles,

RCB

Aerial Silks – Week 4 – Rise Up

Week 4! Just over the hump!

I was a little tired, but still excited about what this class would bring. I noticed in the past week that my body has undergone little changes. For instance, you know how I told you my fingers would hurt during class? Well, they just… hurt all the time now… so… that’s a thing.

I’m just kidding…

but in all seriousness, I’m starting to feel and become aware of muscles that I don’t think moved in until I started this series. My grip has improved, but I definitely feel gentle soreness in my knuckles. My shoulders are starting to feel tighter, my hips are just… angry.

All in all, my body is like a grumpy old man right now. Like, it’s not giving me any trouble, it just wants to complain about… being.

My body is Walter Matthau right now.

But, I’m starting to look fantastic! Things that are supposed to be tight… are not… entirely loose anymore. It’s a start!

I happened to be walking up a flight of stairs in front of one of my friends and she says “I don’t know what those aerial things are, but they are WORKING!”

I caught a glimpse of myself in a window I was passing and I had to admit…

If I never float gently on the breeze, I can still be a hella sexy feather!

That gave me the fuel I needed to stand in this class, thinking that I’m going to do ALL the fantastic things.

… let me dream, y’all.

Class starts off in typical fashion. We do the stretchings, trees, cats and cows (oh my) We throw in a couple of dogs (downward 3-legged ones) and once we’ve lathered up a nice sheen of perspiration, we can actually get to the hard stuff.

yay.

Sara: “I’d like for us to work on cleaning up some of the poses we’ve already learned!”

Me: What? So, flopping around like a fish until the silks do what you ask is not what we’re going for?

Body: Well dang! We just got really good at the flopping!

*mental high five*

Sara: “Let’s put our knots in, and start with the diaper pose.”

yay.

Sara: “We start with our backpack, into our inversion, nice and pretty with a straddle. Toes pointed we thread our right leg up, and then our left, flexing at the end. Keeping the foot flexed, we bend our right knee as we reach up above our leg. While we bend our left knee, making sure the silks are nice and tight behind the knee pit (i know….), we reach up above our legs and we pull up strong, simultaneously pushing our legs down, climbing our way up the silks evenly and then… TADA! Diaper. Now you guys try…”

Me:

Body: …. that’s one dirty diaper…

So… I had a theory…

I have ONE major roll… in the mid section of my body. Now, it’s getting smaller, but it has not disappeared. Every time I’ve done an inversion, the roll would stop the silks… like an evil little roundabout. It would be mildly uncomfortable to have the silks pushing down on my fat like that. So, in my brain… it stood to reason, if I was more vigilant about making sure the silks made it past my roll and onto my actual hip bone, it would be even better, and lessen the floppings…

Apparently, I need my roll to stay where the hell it is… it protects all the things! My hip bone served me with a restraining order.

In the midst of this unpleasant inversion, I had another bright idea. In the past, whenever I got myself into the diaper pose, the silks would be tight around my thighs. Again… mild discomfort. So, my brain figured. Perhaps if we pulled ourselves up just a little bit more, so we got the silks to come to more of a “V” in the groin area, it would be more comfortable…

This is not the day to be trying new things.

Oh, the silks got all up into a “V” alright… it just happened to be one that I NEED on a daily basis… so from now on, we keep those bad boys all up and around the thigh area. thank you VERY much!

So. diaper went about as well as I expected…

Sara: “Let’s try our lotus pose next! Make sure to get our foot at a nice right angle and when you bring your other foot in to get it very flush. This will help cement this pose!”

yay.

Me: Alrighty guys. Let’s get into this, with the knowledge that we’re going to IMMEDIATELY invert.

Brain: Okay I’ve got a theory on how we MAY be able to stay upright…

Me: Ooh, guess who DOESN’T get to come up with any more ideas today?!

Brain:

Me: Inverted Lotus, people… let’s do this!

Body:

That was easy.

Sara: “Very good everybody! Alright, now, let’s strengthen our core a little bit, I want you all to try an inversion without the silk knot.”

Me: But… I need the knot… for to have the backpacks… and then, the flippings….

Sara: “First, get into your wrist lock, then you’re going to want to pull up while activating your core, leaning back, we’re going to gently invert into a pike, and then shoot into our arrow! From here, if you can, go back and forth between pike and arrow as many times as you can…”

Me: You lost me after wrist lock…

Body: 

Me: But, it doesn’t look like something completely out of the realm of possibility… I mean, look how far we’ve come!

Brain: I actually have been running the numbers on this…

Me: Look guys,  all we have to do is… hold on tight, pull up strong … activate the core… get the legs uuuup…. get the legs uuuuuup….. UUUuuup!

Body: 

Me: Okay, maybe if we jump into it a little… 

Body: You look stupid right now.

Me: Alright… you know what? If we just, get a running start, sheer momentum will get us up far enough where we can just gently go over.

Brain: um….

Me: 1,2,3 GO!

Body: 

Me:……….. SARA!

Sara: “Okay, good! now, can you shoot up into an arrow for me?”

Me: uh no… no I can’t.

Sara: “Can you straighten your legs for me?”

well… that would require knowing where any of my body parts actually are at the moment.

Me:… nope! Actually, I’m gonna need for you to put me back the way I came.

The panic in my voice reached her, and she set me back to rights.

Body: Let’s not do that again…

Me: Agreed.

Sara: “Alright, lets work on those for a few minutes, or you can work on your tuck and straddle…”

It’s a sad day when the tuck and straddle is the lesser of two evils.

We finally got to the end of class, which ended with us practicing our climbing. I was a little discouraged after not getting anywhere last week, but I knew I at least had the motions down. I simply needed to figure out a way to get higher, or at least stop sliding back down the silks.

My arms felt like jelly and I was sweaty and tired, but, I was determined to at least get a little more off the ground. It wasn’t the prettiest… I mean, I was thrashing around trying to get the silk to slide down my foot, but hand over hand over hand,…

I felt like I was going to die.

Finally I had to stop and just breathe for a second. My arms hurt so bad. I’m clinging to the silks for dear life. But, when I opened my eyes and looked down, I had made it a good three feet off the ground! It wasn’t the highest I could go, I was sure, but it was the highest I had gone so far.

Sometimes you just got to celebrate the small wins.

… with a spotlight swing party

See you next week!

Inverted Smiles,

RCB

Aerial Silks – Week 3 – You WreeEecked Me

So… normally it takes a full week to get back to Monday. However, I feel like Monday came rolling back around in less than 5 days. Still, this is something to celebrate, because I have officially reached the humpday of the series!

That’s right! Week 3 out of 6! This is a good day for me to evaluate what I’ve learned, and how far I’ve come at this halfway point.

I’m so excited!

I get to class and it starts off as expected with our usual round of stretching. Neck, shoulders, arms.. they’re all present and accounted for, though not particularly happy to be there. We stretch out our backs and hips, and it comes time for our tree pose.

Me: Hey guys… do we want to try for the thigh this time?

Body: 

Me: Awww… it’s been a couple of weeks, I think we might actually be able to pull it off… how about it?!

Body: 

I decided not to press my luck. It was, after all, still the beginning of class. But, I was totally going to try closing my eyes this time. I’ll just spring that on my body last minute…

That should go well.

I get into my tree relatively easily. My branches were a little wobbly, but the breeze didn’t knock me down…

Sara: “Alright, on the count of three, we’re going to close our eyes! 1…2…3!

Me: 

Not the best, but I stayed what one might consider to be “upright”… so I’m gonna count that as a win!

Sara: “Now… let’s see if we can go ahead and kick our leg straight out to the side!”

Me:

… baby steps.

Finally, we’re ready to get into the silks!

Sara: “Alright, I want to work on some conditioning exercises today!”

Body: hmm… that… that doesn’t sound good.

Me: 

Sara: “Everyone get into your wrist locks and we’re going to practice holding our tuck”

Body: Dude… just say the word… *click*

Me: 

The tuck… is pretty much where you have your wrists locked into the silks, but you’re still holding on with your hands (We’ll get into that component in just a second). Then, you have to raise your knees and tuck your feet under.

Thats right.

Your feet have to actually leave the ground, and you have to try to hold yourself up for as long as you can.

Yeah…

Now, beyond the standard issue torture this puts on your body, you are gripping the silks with your hands… Tightly… on account of the holding yourself up. This is very different from your run-of-the-mill pull-up. First of all, your grip is vertical, not horizontal. Secondly, um…

IT’S FABRIC!

There’s nothing metal to let your hands know “hey… you’ve done enough, good job!” No… this fabric is just like

Listen to me very carefully when I say this. After doing everything you could possibly do in this class, after all the muscles you use that you didn’t even know existed (and honestly, probably don’t) the one thing on me that always hurts more than anything else…

My hands.

Ugh! Tuck practice is the worst!

Sara: “Now, while you’re holding your tuck, I want you to alternate between tucking, and stretching your legs out in a straddle. Tuck…straddle…tuck….straddle”

Brain: What did she say?!

Me: C’mon guys… maybe it won’t be so bad!

Body: Maybe it… I will do no such thing, Madam! 

Me: It’ll be fine… look! tuck…str…

Body: 

Me: TUCK… STRA…

Body: 

Me: C’moooon Man!

Body: I can do this all day.

So, the tuck and straddle didn’t go as planned… Ugh, that has to be the absolute worst!

Sara: “Now, let’s try a dead hang!”

Brain: …standby.

Sara: “Take your hands out of your wrist locks. We’re going to want to keep our shoulders down and back, not over extended. Gripping the silks with just your hands, you’re going to just let your body hang as you lift your feet off of the ground, arms straight.”

Me: 

Brain: so… after a preliminary check, we don’t think this is something we want to do.

Me: I know, but… we have to, if we’re going to get stronger…

Brain: it has the word “dead” in the title… you heard that right?

Me: Yes. Yes, I heard that. But let’s just get through it.

Brain: You realize you’ll be holding up the entirety of your body weight with just your already sore hands, right?

Me: Alright, that’s enough

Brain: Do you remember how much you weigh?

Me:

Okay, so we’re 0/2 with the hangings and the holdings…

Sara: “It’s good to push yourself, but make sure to always listen to your body!”

Body: Get your coat…

Me: But…

Body:

This humpday is not going as planned.

Sara: “That was very good, everybody!”

… it’s adorable when she lies.

Sara: “Okay, let’s put our silk knot in and try a pose!”

POSE! You just said the magic word! I’ve never knotted a silk so fast in my life.

LET’S GO!

Sara: “Today I want us to try the Lotus Pose!”

Brain: *researching everything having to do with Lotus + Pose*

Me: *IMMEDIATE Skeptical Fry*

This time, I didn’t even get to voice my concern, because everyone in class realized the same thing I did…

Sara sounded way too excited about this.

“uhhh… is this going to be as hard as the diaper pose?”

AHA! a comrade!

Sara: “it’s… a little different than the diaper pose…”

Everyone in class: 

Me:

Sara: *noncommittal smile of tomfoolery* “You’re going to want to start with your foot on top of the knot sideways at a right angle. Once your foot is in position, we’re going to grab our silks, pull up strong, bringing our other foot in to match it and settle down to a comfortable spot. From here, we’re going to bring one shoulder in front of the silks, then the other. Keep your back straight and tall, pushing back with your feet and your shoulders to get a nice tight hold keeping you upright, and when you feel stable… you can let go of the silks and bring your hands in front for prayer position.”

Me: 

Sara: “From here, you can bring your hands behind you, grab the silks, let yourself roll forward and *super dumb dummy head smile* Tada! Inverted Lotus! Everybody ready to try it?!”

Me: 

No… I can do this.. Okay, foot, on top of the knot. Check. Okay. Foot’s feeling good right there all sideways. Alright, lets grab ahold and 1,2,3 UP! Quick, settle in! Okay… status report…

Body: We’re … I think we’re okay. We lost contact below the calves, though.

Me: Boost the signal! Hello Hello? Are you guys reading me down there?!

Feet: 

Body: Maybe it’ll help if we go ahead and get our shoulders in front of the silks.

Me: Good Idea! Now we’re playing as a team!

Brain: Um… I’ve been doing some calculations…

Me: Later, Brain! Shoulders! We need you on the front lines!

Shoulders: Oui, Mon Capitan!

(don’t ask me why my shoulders are French)

Me: This is nice! Alright, here we go… hands in prayer position!

*IMMEDIATE inversion*

Me: WHOA! no no! ABORT! ABORT! 

Body: 

My hands somehow had the good sense to grab onto the silks (when in doubt, grab onto the silks!)

Me: What the HELL happened, y’all?!

Brain: Like I was saying… I did some calculations, and it would appear that your major cargo hold is located in the upper portion of your front quadrant…

Me: In English, please?

Brain: Your boobs are huge and drag you down like an anchor.

Me: Ah… okey dokey then.

I tried a couple of times to get my hands into prayer position, but as soon as I would let go of the silks, I’d immediately start to topple forward… so…

This is as lotus-y as it was gonna get.

I tried the inverted lotus, which was a lot better, but I ended up getting stuck, and had to call Sara to “unlotus” me. We’ll add that to the “Needs More Practice” list… which is getting pretty long.

Sara: “Alright, now that we’ve given our hands a rest, let’s work on our climbing a little bit!”

Me… Oh joy of joys! 

Climbing is at the TOP of that “Needs More Practice” list. I’ll admit it…

I suck at climbing!

I’m really great at trapping the fabric. a little bit too great, because I can never seem to get it to slide down my leg … and then my body feels super heavy, and my arms get tired , and my hands hurt.

UGH!… Climbing.

Me: Okay guys, I want us to just give this a good try, I mean really put all your effort into it!

Body: … I think we should see other people.

Me: Okay, here we go, knees high, we’re wrapping the fabric around bringing it across the foot, pull up strong! Other foot traps it! Whew! okay, let’s just swing here for a while. Now, let’s see if we can get the fabric to slide down… unravel!

Leg:  I’m trying!

Me: Okay, you keep working on it, in the meantime, let’s try to pull up!

Arms: 

Me: OMG… I … I think we’re doing it! We’re doing it!

Sara: “Great Job, Sheenal!”

Me: OMG I’m the itsy bitsy-est of spiders! Climb! CLIIIIIMB!

Sara: “Make sure to save enough energy to come down slowly and controlled, one hand under the other…”

Me: Yeah… okay, let’s not push it… great job everybody! Let’s make our way down…

Inspiring right?! Well, I happened to look down, only to realize that I had climbed my @$$ off, and I only got 6 inches higher than where I started. I was literally like:

… Tragic

But, I did it… and it that’s what counts, right?

Now, I’m feeling pretty good about myself. This halfway point wasn’t the triumph I was expecting, but it’s definitely starting to look up.

Sara: “Alright, let’s tie another silk knot, but this time let’s tie it low.”

Me: Okaaaay. I like the sound of this!

Sara: “Let’s go ahead and lie down, put our feet in the silks for a nice restorative/resting pose.”

Me: 

It’s like Santa read all those letters!

I don’t want to brag, but my resting game is SO STRONG!

It’s Rassy’s time to shine!

Sara: “Feel free to swing your feet to and fro…”

Me: I’m to’ng and fro’ng so HARD right now!

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This is the best moment of my life right now!

Sara: “Now, let’s flip over on our stomachs…”

Me: You’ve got it ma’am! Whatever you say! Life is glorious! *flip*

Sara: “And let’s go ahead and take our right foot out of the silks… leave the left one in there, let’s just drop the right foot down to the floor.

Brain: 

Me: um… okay… this should be fine… life is still good…

Sara: “On the count of three, we’re going to go up into a plank pose, bringing our right foot up at the same level as our left, outside of the silk. 1,2,3!”

Me: 

Brain: I believe she’s talking to you…

 

Sara: “Good, everybody! Hold it for as long as you can!”

*drip drip*

Brain: Dude, are you crying?

Me: B***h, I might be… 

Body: 

Do you know how long 30 seconds is?

…. two hours. I’ve checked.

After I collapsed onto the mat in a pile of my own despair, Sara announced we had one last activity.

Well, unless it’s a full scale mutiny… count me OUT!

Sara: “Sheenal, you wanna help me demonstrate?!”

Me: 

We all partnered up, Sara was my partner (I’m sure her spidey sense alerted her that I was about to bolt) And we did a very effective, only mildly torturous core exercise where you lie down and your partner has to try to push your feet to the ground, and you have to keep popping them back up.

… I did pretty good at this 🙂 It was hard work, but she never got me down.

And that’s what this class is really about. Nobody said this would be easy. Nobody really explained how hard it would get sometimes, but still, you don’t let anything that happens get you down. You keep popping up, you keep climbing, you keep holding on.

Maybe that’s really what I needed to learn at the halfway point. I’m still here. I’m still doing it… I’m still…

Sara: Okay, we’ve got a couple of minutes left if you want to practice your tuck, or your climbing…

Me: NOPE! Good day, one and all! You’ve wrecked me enough for one evening…

But, I’ll see you all again next week.

Inverted Smiles,

RCB

 

Aerial Silks – Week 2 – The Majestic Gazelle Gallops On

That time of the week rolled back around, and once again it was Monday.

No problem, though, because I’ve been upside down and rolled up into a ball… so CLEARLY I’ve got this silks thing all sewed up!

The Majestic Gazelle Gallops On!

I strut my confident self right into Cirque de Vol. I’m so excited, I’m even early. The kid’s aerial class is still in session… how adorable. No prob… I’ll just have a seat in the corner over here.

Look at the little kiddies… ahh… I remember when I was a beginner…

say…. what’s that they’re doing, right there?

Angela: Oh, Sara’s teaching them how to climb today.

Me: Climb?

Angela: ** sinister chuckle** you’ll find out.

First of all, that chuckle was all kinds of unnecessary. I am a majestic #&@%! gazelle in case everyone’s forgotten.

Then, I happen to look up, and this little girl goes scurrying up the silk like a freaking squirrel!

Let me repeat that. A little girl… I don’t know, like 5 or something (I don’t have kids, I don’t know at what age they’re able to scurry up things) went zipping up the silk, with just her hands and feet… !!!!

Brain: uh Jim, we’re gonna need a confidence drain in sector 5

Me: Belay that, Jim!

**Tiny Mary Lou Retton scampers back down the silk flawlessly**

Me: … alright… go ahead, Jim.

Right about now, I would really like to eat a bucket of chili cheese fries and three donuts in my bed. But I remember that, at some point, I was a majestic gazelle…

The Majestic Gazelle Gallops On!

Class ends, and all the little showoffs go home with their parents (I hope they have tons of homework, too… like fractions and stuff!) and it’s time for me to try to remember what I was so proud of just twenty minutes ago.

We begin much like last time, stretching our necks and shoulders and arms, which is very important. Then, as expected, we went right into our tree pose. I powered down, foot to calf, and stretched my glorious branches up and out high. I even survived a fairly stiff breeze.

Sara: “Now, when you find a steady point, let’s close our eyes…”

Me:

We headed into our downward dog, getting a lovely stretch in our hips and thighs and all those things I have no earthly business stretching.

Sara: “Okay, now we’re going to take our right leg, bring your knee to your chest and then kick it up behind you, now let your knee bend, dropping the foot back and then we’re going to stretch and look underneath our right arm up to the ceiling!”

Me:

Someone forgot to tell Sara that we are still in downward dog… but she just sounds so excited…

bless her heart.

So… I’m trying to do this thing… and I don’t know if it actually has a name, if it does, I’m positive it’s not something I’d want to say in polite company. The best way I can describe it is… imagine a flamingo… then give it T-Rex arms. Now, stand behind it….

and push it over.

Arms: We’re cutting you out of the will.

Me: … fair enough.

Sara: “Now, we’re going to take our leg and we’re going to extend it out real wide and I want you to give me five biiiiig hip circles!”

Now… while it’s true that my hips don’t lie…

those hussies will plead the 5th in a minute!

Hips: Um… yeaahhh. We don’t do that.

Me: I know, but we’ve gotta try.

Legs:

Me: Are we doing it?!

Hips:

Okay, so my hips will lie. Good to know.

Sara: Alright, now let’s do the other side!

Me:

Nailed it.

I’ve never been so happy to do Cat-Cow in my entire life! We moved on from there to stretching out our legs, ankles and such, and finally it’s time to get on the silks.

It’s a good thing I’m a gazelle, because I look like I’ve just been running through the Serengeti for real! This gazelle is tired, and doesn’t want to gallop on! Where’s a hungry lion when you need one?!

Sara: “Alright, let’s get our knots tied and see what you remember from last week!”

Me:

Inversions are my new favorite thing! I want to be upside down all the time! But, I still had to try out my wrist lock and pull up, and of course, my Phoenix and Gazelle. I’m psyched. I’m pumped. I’m so ready!

Sara: “Alright, let’s take those knots out and learn our first lesson! Okay we’re going to bend our right knee, and what you’re going to want to do is wrap one pole of the silk around your right leg, all the way around so it goes across your ankle, then you’re going to want to pull up strong, bringing your left foot on top of your right, so that it makes a +, trapping the silk, then you will have started your first step to climbing!”

Me: Climbing? **looks at Angela**

Angela:

Brain: We don’t like Angela

Me: Nope… me either.

Alrighty… let’s do this. On the ground. Yeah, let’s do this on the ground first. Okay we wrap the silk… all the way around. and then I put my foot across it like… this. Okay. This looks good – in theory. Now, let’s try it off the ground.

Right Knee: RK, reporting for duty!

Leg: Got the silk wrapped from knee to ankle ma’am, foot overhang is textbook!

Me: Left foot, you ready to deploy?

Left Foot: I’m getting static over the comms… over!

Arms: We need a go/no-go for launch!

Me: GO GO GO GO!

Body: We have liftoff!

I did it!

Sara: “Now, if you think you have a handle on it, and you’re feeling brave, just repeat the motion and try to climb up the silk!”

Body:

Me: Aw c’mon! we at least have to try it!

Body: You keep saying that… but we really don’t!

Me: C’mon. One climb up.

So… apparently my body was right on this one. Climbing was not in the cards. I’m clearly not stronger than a 5yo (or however old that tiny squirrel was)

Sara: “Are we ready to learn another pose?”

Me: YES! Poses are everything!

Body: Can we talk to you for a second?

Me: Shh! Sara is speaking!

Sara: “Alright! We’re going to go into our inversion, but this time, I want you to wrap your legs around the silks and stretch them up.”

Me: Oh piece of cake! We’ve got this!

Body: We really need to have a chat with you

Me: It’s an inversion. You love inversions!

Body: We think we might have to murder Sara…

Me: Are you insane?! Absolutely not! I like Sara! I forbid it!

Sara: “After you’ve gotten into your pose,  I want you to give me 10 crunches!”

Me: Still… doesn’t hurt to hear the plan…

Crunches… upside down… dangling and swinging…

But… I got through it… somehow.

On to the next pose!

Sara: “Alright, now we’re going to get into the same pose, but this time we’re going to climb up the rope!”

You know those flash mobs when everybody stops, making it seem like the world has suddenly ended? Yeah, you could’ve heard a cricket eating a marshmallow in the corner for how quiet it got. Everyone thought we were going to have to climb up the rope while upside down, and probably doing 10 crunches. We were all gonna murder Sara!

Sara: “From your inversion, legs wrapped, we’re going to reach up and grab the silk, pull up strong, pushing your legs down, and keep climbing until you have… TADA! Diaper Pose!”

Yes, it is as uncomfortable and awkward as it sounds. This one is definitely going to take more practice, because the only thing more graceless than me in the diaper pose, is me trying to get into the diaper pose. But in the end…

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I’ve got a pretty pair of pink huggies!

Me: Status report!

Body: 98% of the population is alive and well

Me: Has anyone heard from the thighs? Thighs! Come in!

Thighs:

Sara: “Okay, now we’re going to learn how to scissor-kick onto our silk!”

Me:

I wish I had some scissors.

Sara: “So we’re going to tie our knot a little higher. We’re going to grab one pole of our silk with both hands, and then **unnecessarily ridiculous flip** you want to kick up, and get one of your legs in between the silks. From there, you grab the other side of your silk, stiffen your leg and push down while pulling up strong, we’ll get your other leg through and then **big dumb dummyhead smile of accomplishment** we sit pretty!”

Body:

Me: … I know… Just… don’t say anything.

Brain: Has anyone noticed that we keep getting higher?

Me: Just… **sigh** everybody shut up.

So I tied the knot around shoulder high, then I wrapped both of my hands around one leg of the silk… and proceeded to stand there and stare at the place that my leg was supposed to land. Like, I honestly did calculus or whatever math subject deals with making the impossible happen. I feel like hypotenuse is a term I should be using. Either way, once again, solve for NOPE.

Sara clearly saw my distress and came right over. I almost felt bad for calling her a dumb dummyhead in my mind. I just kept looking down at my foot and up to the silks in my hand like … “just… please get up there!” But Sara was very sweet and patient.

Sara: “You can do it… it’ll get up there, I promise. Just kick up strong.”

Body: It’s a trap.

Me: I think I can get my leg up that high, but getting it between the silks requires more coordination than I think I have.

It’s not fun having to admit something like that. I see everyone else around me, and I pretty much feel like everyone can do this but me.

Sara: “Will it help if I hold the other end out of the way?”

Me:

Sara: “Okay. I’ll try to stand out of the way so you don’t kick me in the face.”

Me: I’m gonna do my best not to kick you in the face.

Body:

Me: Shut up, Body!

So, I tightened my grip and kicked up with all my might, and SUCCESS! One leg is perched upon my knot and the other is dangling precariously (and heavily) below me.

Me: I forgot what I’m supposed to do next!

Sara: “Grab the other pole, straighten your leg, push down hard, pull up strong! There you go!”

Me: Okay, I’m putting the nobody-kills-Sara rule back in effect!

Body:

Me: Angela! Take a picture! Cuz I’m only doing this once tonight!

silkssitpretty

They say a picture is worth 1000 words. My favorite part is what they leave out! I look good right?! Who would’ve thought?!

Alas, class had come to an end.

I came in full of confidence.

I came in and got showed up by a bunch of toddlers.

I came in thinking that there’s no way I can possibly do the things I’ve seen people do on tv.

I came in believing I’d never make it more than two feet off the ground.

I came…

I came in…

 

Until next week!

Inverted Smiles,

RCB

 

 

 

 

 

Aerial Silks – Week 1 – The World Turned Upside Down

My mouth has a bad habit of writing checks. Unfortunately, my… er… hind quarters constantly find themselves in the middle of a bank holiday.

So, when my friend suggests that I take a 6-week aerial silks class, I automatically say:

Are you KIDDING me?! A chance to float gently in the air like a glorious feather on a breeze, draped in miles of shimmery soft fabric?!

Plus… I’ve seen Cirque du Soleil… so I’m practically already a pro.

SIGN ME UP!

I’m not entirely sure if I forgot that I was 5’5″, almost 200lbs and not the most graceful of creatures, or if I just chose to live in denial of these facts. Aerial silks seemed completely plausible to me.

The day finally came, and I’m super duper excited!

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Look! Look at me! Do you see that smile?! I am so ready for all the things!

… poor child.

The time comes for class to start and our lovely instructor Sara, starts us out with some stretching. Makes sense! Stretching is sure to help with the floating gently on the breeze… alright! Let’s do some stretching! We warmed up our shoulders, our arms and our necks. Pretty easy, I’ve totally got this.

Sara: “Next, we’re going to start with a tree pose. I want you to stretch out your toes.. stretch them out wide, and power through all four quadrants of your foot and root it to the earth.”

Me: I’ve been doing tree pose for three years. My wii never told me to do anything special with my feet! And since when does my feet have quadrants?… When did we get those?!

Body: Three weeks ago, the invoice is on your desk.

Good to know. Alright, so we’re rooting our foot. I didn’t even know I could do that. I’m not sure I’m doing it right, but my foot looks hella weird, so I’m going to assume everything is in working order.

Sara: “You are going to take your right foot and bring it to rest on your thigh, or on your calf. You do NOT want to rest it on your knee.”

No problem! Here we go!

Body: Hey buuuuddy… whatcha doin’?

Me: I’m going to put this foot up on the thigh here… tree pose.

Body: You sure you don’t wanna go for the calf, there?

Me: Nah. We’ve got this!

Body: 

……….

Me: soooo… do we want to try the calf?

Body: …You’re the boss.

No shame. I put my foot up as high on my calf as I could get it. I am going to float gently on the breeze if it kills me.

Sara: “Alright, once you feel secure, you can bring your hands in prayer position in front of your heart. If you’re feeling unsteady, it might help to focus on a fixed point.”

Alright! Look at me. I’m a tree. Apparently my root has taken hold because my trunk is strong and solid and I’m the steadiest stump in the forest!

Sara: “Now, we want to extend our branches up hiiiigh… reaching to the sky!”

Me:… uh… o..0kay. 

So I reached up, and out, slowly… but I got there. Yes! Gaze upon my branches! High and outstretched they are!

Sara: “Now, let’s get a breeze going!”

Me: Whyyy? Why would we do that? Why can’t it just be a mild spring day, and we just stand here… still and tree-like?

Floating…. Gently. We can do this.

Sara: “Now, bring your hands back to prayer position, and when you feel steady again, if you’re brave, try to close your eyes.”

Body: We took a vote. We’re going to suggest you not do that.

Me: I feel like we can do this. I mean, we just survived a pretty strong breeze, I really think we’ve got this, guys!

Body: Here’s the petition. We have about 500 signatures.

Me: Nope! We’re floating gently on the breeze! Eyes closed!

Body: Alright, Bob… close’m up!

Me:  IMMEDIATELY

Okay, so I didn’t faceplant, but yes, from now on, I stay eyes wide shut.

Sara: Alright! Let’s warm up our spines! Let’s do a little Cat-Cow Pose!”

Me: ooh! Cat-Cow! That sounds interesting… and she sounds super excited about it. I wonder what this is going to be?

Body: Uh… so, I don’t know if you noticed, but we seem to be warming up a lot of parts of us. We were wondering how gentle is this breeze we’re preparing to float on?

Me: SHH! We’re gonna do Cat-Cow!

OTHER PEOPLE DOING CAT-COW POSE:

ME DOING CAT-COW POSE:

But, my spine is sufficiently stretched. and after being a tree in the wind, it felt pretty good. Next we did a series of downward dog/plank/cobra poses.

In summary:

It was finally time to be draped in shimmery soft fabric!

Body: You do realize you haven’t even started yet, and you’re already sweating, right?!

Me: 

So our first order of business was to learn how to secure our wrists with the silks, in order to do a standard hold, raising our knees to our chest.

**WARNING**

At no point… has your body… gotten any lighter than when you started! Please take that into account when doing your calculations on how easy this should be.

(solve for NOPE)

Next, we got to learn how to tie a silk knot. This knot is deceptively simple. It’s really easy to tie, it’s really easy to untie, and yet, it is able to hold all of my weight without coming undone!

I totally nailed tying that knot. I’m practically a sailor now!

We came to our first lesson… a simple inversion. My knot was where it should be, I “put on my backpack” as instructed. I leaned back, feeling the support of my weight by the silks … and then… I….

So, you don’t expect to learn certain things about yourself while taking a simple class. But apparently… I have trust issues (and control issues. and issues letting go… quite literally). So an inversion, is not unlike a trust fall. You’re safe and secure, your feet planted on the ground, your hands holding you upright. You know the knot is tight, you can feel it completely supporting you. You simply need to… let yourself go… backwards.

And just like that, my world turned upside down. (And yes, I screamed) The silks held me firmly in place by the hips. My hands were still gripping the silks (like death itself) and my legs… I don’t know what the hell they were doing because I couldn’t exactly find them.

I hear Angela in the background shouting “LET GO!”

…. calm down Sonny Jim… that’s enough out of you right now.

Me: Hey guys, can we put an APB out on the legs?

Body: **ALARMS** We’ll have to get back to you! We’ve just had several emergency calls come in at once!

Luckily, Sara was there to guide me. AND… she found my legs!

After the initial shock of putting everything back to rights, I was completely hooked. It still takes me a moment to trust that I can let go and everything will be okay, but each time gets easier. And it feels AMAZING!

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I was once again ready for all the things!

Next, we were going to be an AIRPLANE! It wasn’t exactly a feather on the breeze, but I’ll take it!

Sara: First we want to sit in our silk like a swing

FINALLY! I’ve been practicing for this my whole life! I don’t want to brag… but I don’t know if there’s anyone in class better at sitting than me.

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That is some top-notch sittage!

Sara: Then we’re going to slide back, so that the knot comes under our knees.

Are you KIDDING me?! DEEP SITTING?! You might as well send everyone else home… I’ve SO got this!

Sara: Now, we’re going to lift our right knee and place our foot onto the knot, then we’re going to pull up, standing up tall, then extending the arms, pushing the hips forward and we’re going to be a wonderful airplane

Me: 

Ugh… I don’t even want to BE an airplane. Why are we going to ruin all of this beautiful sitting by standing up … on a knot!

First of all, I forgot to slide back, so I was trying to get my foot in a place that my butt was already occupying. Once I corrected that, getting my foot in position, I couldn’t figure out how to get my body upright, apparently, that’s where that first lesson of the standard hold came in handy. So I pulled myself in to some semblance of a shaky stance.

Me: I don’t think I like it up here…

Body: We’re plotting to murder you.

Me: What?!

Body: Sorry… was this thing on?

Sara: So push your foot back, and shift your hips forward, spread your arms wide.

Me: But… isn’t that how the death happens?

But apparently, the combination of those actions actually cause you to be more stable despite being held up completely by fabric…

But, I trusted Sara and wouldn’t you know…

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I’m an airplane!

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Body: Alright, let’s not get cocky…

Me: 

Sara: “Would you like to learn one more?!”

ABSOLUTELY!

Sara: Alright, we’re going to start with your simple inversion, but this time I want you to bring your left leg across the front of the silks, perpendicular to your body. Your other leg you’re going to let drop, then arch your back, reaching around to grab your other foot and then you have…. the GAZELLE POSE…. everybody got it?

Me: 

Body: Did she seriously twist herself into a pretzel, unwind herself like a french braid and ask if we “got it?”

Me: shh… poker face.

Body: We’re going to die, you realize that right?

Me: Well, we are going to die floating gently on the breeze… like a FEATHER!

Body: Okay dude… seriously…

Me: Shut up! We’re doing this!

Body:

Me: Okay… inversion… and then we bring… the leg… oh god where are my legs?!

Body: **radio silence in protest**

Me: Hey! There’s one of them, okay, this one comes across here. **looking around** yup. Okay now the other one we drop

Leg: **standing straight up**

Me: DROP!

Leg: 

Me: Okay… then we grab… we grab… WHERE DID IT GO?!

Sara found my foot for me, and put it in my hands. I feel awkward and ungainly. I feel chunky and weird and dangly. I am spinning, and most definitely not floating gently.

… I’m not a glorious feather…

I’m not a feather at all. 😦

You never expect to learn certain things about yourself by taking a simple class. I learned more than my fair share on this night. Yes, it’s true, I’m 5’5″, almost 200lbs with a wealth of emotional and psychological hangups. I may not be the most graceful of creatures, and I may not even be a feather. But do you know what I am?

 

 

 

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A MAJESTIC @$#%! GAZELLE!!!

And, I’ll see you all next week!

Inverted Smiles,

RCB

 

 

 

Hannibal

Okay so…

Starz has been showing Hannibal quite a bit this month. When I first saw it listed in my guide, I was naturally excited. I love these movies. Hannibal Lecter is one of the most charismatic and likable “villains” ever portrayed, and Sir Anthony Hopkins does a FANTASTIC job.

Now, I admittedly haven’t seen Hannibal in a few years. Though Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon (my least favorite of the series) play very often, Hannibal doesn’t make it’s way across my tv very often. And while I always loved these movies, I’ve recently started seeing them in a little bit of a different light.

I discovered something about myself that forced me to text my best friend in a panic… knowing she would be the only one who would understand.

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Now, stick with me on this.

While I can go into an entire tirade on the love story that is Hannibal and Clarice, I have other things to write and I don’t have the time, so we’ll focus on the last 30 minutes.

**spoiler alert**

 

 

 

 

We have Hannibal who has just been captured by the insane man that wants him to die in the most horrible way, and has been plotting said death for YEARS (obsessed much?). Enter Clarice, Knight(tress) in shining FBI badge who saves the day, but in the process ends up getting shot.

This doesn’t stop the madman (who oddly enough, is not the cannibal serial killer) who is hoping above hope that his plan will still be carried through. But, the only thing that’s carried… is Clarice. In the midst of the melee, Hannibal frees himself, lifting an unconscious Clarice above a sea of murderous beasts, with little to no concern for his own safety. He calmly begins strolling out of his prison, Clarice in arms and tells the madman’s exhausted minion that he can feel free to kill him…

“You can always say it was me.”

Naturally, Cordell takes him up on this offer. But it’s not the offer thats the great part. It’s the fact that it was honestly the fact that this was an afterthought, a byproduct of an argument overheard. This man, who had orchestrated every part of Hannibal’s attempted demise, was met with a “meh” kind of an end. This becomes important later.

Now, we see Hannibal driving Clarice off to an undisclosed location while she slips in and out of consciousness. Flash to their arrival. Hannibal (who is a doctor… lest we forget) is seen tending to Clarice’s gunshot wound. He removes a bullet, and fixes her up with a perfectly beautiful … blanket stitch or whatever the hell you call that thing… whatever it was… it was ridiculously precise and absolutely gorgeous as far as stitches go.

Now, I know you might be thinking… “Why are you going on and on about someone stitching up a wounded woman?” Let’s remember… this wounded woman has been HUNTING him… trying to put him in PRISON…. FOREVER. Some of y’all are sitting next to a dude right now who wouldn’t go to a store and buy you a pack of tampons cuz the thought of you bleeding naturally “freaks him out” gtfoh.

Now, we see Agent Krendler, a misogynistic, disgusting asshole who has been the bane of Clarice’s existence the whole movie, yelling at his asst on the phone while driving his obvious “penis car” to his house in the middle of nowhere. He’s instantly chloroformed by Hannibal. (this is important later)

Clarice is lying on a bed… dressed BEAUTIFULLY, a single votive burning on the nightstand, and the ceiling fan rotating at a moderate pace (for her comfort, no doubt). She struggles to sit up, obviously drugged. It is at this moment that we notice that she is dressed in an outfit picked out of a magazine by Hannibal especially for her. Let’s talk about this outfit for a minute.

It’s beautiful. It’s even sexy… in an extremely classy way. Black halter with a low back, but tea length with fairly sensible strappy sandals. Now… not only does Hannibal have good taste, but this also shows forethought and planning. He had to ORDER SHIT!

And let’s talk about the fact that she was clearly undressed and redressed WITHOUT being molested in the slightest! Hannibal Lecter, in all his insanity, is above the base degradation that apparently resides in some of our more famous athletes, entertainers and politicians… but I digress.

As a woozy Clarice is stumbling around… Hannibal… is in the kitchen… COOKING!

Clarice happens upon her stuff, next to a telephone that’s been disabled. But she’s a smart lady, she works around that. Now, it’s notable that while she gave fleeting attention to the gun on the table, she never picked it up. It isn’t clear whether or not the clip is there, but no matter what, she chooses not to pursue using her gun as a means to ending this confrontation bound to happen. So, she gets the phone to work, and it’s one of those older model phones with the lights along the bottom, to let you know when it’s in use. Whilst cooking, Hannibal notices the illumination, knowing that Clarice is obviously using the phone… and not likely checking on movie times.

He checks his watch… then CONTINUES CHOPPING PARSLEY. He knows Clarice’s unwavering ethics. It’s one of the things he admires most about her. He knows she’s called for backup and he simply adjusts his time accordingly. He accepts Clarice as she is, and accepts the obvious limitations to their relationship.

Think about the last time you broke up with a dude. How many of you were NOT called a bitch, or a whore, or told you were no good in bed anyway?…. moving on.

Clarice takes one last look at her stash of belongings and makes her way down the stairs. As she approaches the dining room (where the voices are coming from)

“Clarice, what are you doing up? You should be resting. Get back to bed.”

Clarice enters the dining room and Hannibal is there, cooking table side, with Agent Krendler in attendance (obviously drugged out of his mind)

Now, All the alphabet organizations are on their way to the house… Clarice had intentions of bashing Hannibal over the head with a snow globe, and what does this man do? Takes the time to compliment Clarice on how she looks.

This entire time he is STILL calmly cooking….

He asks Agent Krendler to say grace… which quickly turns rude and disparaging towards Clarice.

“Paul, now you’re being rude. And I hate rude people.”

He hands Clarice a bowl a broth, and she tries a noble attempt at stabbing him. She’s easily overpowered, but instead of being angry, once again, he accepts that she has to try to detain him by any means. His punishment? he wrestles the knife from her, and gives her a not so sound wrap on the hand with said knife… a proverbial “slap on the wrist”. He loves that she’s so dedicated. He adores her purity of spirit.

It’s at this point that he takes off Paul’s hat, revealing that he has sawed the top of his skull off, to reveal his brain (such as it is) still residing inside his head. Paul is still mildly coherent, moving around, talking and such. Understandably uneasy at the sight, Clarice attempts to shift attention away from whatever Hannibal has planned. He immediately attempts to put her at ease, assuring her that Paul feels no pain.

She offers to trade him information in exchange for letting Paul be, and though very subdued, we see Hannibal’s first sign of temper. Not because she insulted him, and not because she doesn’t want him to do “his favorite thing” but because what she’s attempting is something so obviously beneath her, and in defense of someone who is, in his mind (and mine) a scumbag.

It’s at this point that he cuts out a portion of Paul’s brain, and begins to fry it… then proceeds to FEED IT TO HIM… while Clarice watches.

It’s at this point that I would like to backtrack a little bit. Let’s talk about Mason Verger. This man spent countless hours and dollars in an attempt to capture Hannibal, so he could sit and watch as wild boars tore him to pieces and ate him. Hannibal nonchalantly remarked that his assistant could feel free to kill him if he wished. The officer that snuck around trying to help in this capture, was disembowled and pushed out of a window to hang (all in all, a fairly quick death). The street thug who tried to get Hannibal’s fingerprint as proof of life was stabbed, a major artery hit, and bled to death (again fairly quickly).

Paul Krendler, who had never met Hannibal, didn’t really put any kind of effort into capturing him, and honestly had committed no infraction against Hannibal himself, except for the fact that he INSULTED CLARICE, and tried to ruin her career…

This man he drugged… sawed off the top of his HEAD… cut out a piece of his BRAIN… and FED IT TO HIM!!!!

Y’all are not hearing me… let’s continue.

Hannibal and Clarice have a discussion in which he asks her if she would deny him his life. He talks about her courage and incorruptibility and how she doesn’t need acceptance from the FBI or a medal for proof.

“All you would need for that, Clarice… is a mirror.”

Dude… for real?! I need a hero.

Now Paul, unable to leave well enough alone, chimes in, throwing more shade at Clarice. Realizing that time is running short, and that Paul is upsetting Clarice (also the fact that he’s officially made his point) he takes Paul away and starts cleaning up.

When is the last time your man did the dishes? Just… saying.

So, Clarice picks up a candlestick for what is to be the final showdown.

After a sexy little tussle (the refrigerator move was awesome) he asks her

“Would you ever say to me ‘Stop. If you loved me, you’d stop’?”

She tells him no… because as he does for her, she accepts him the way he is, and somewhere deep down respects and admires many things about him too. He of course loves this answer. He kisses her, and we hear the click of handcuffs (clearly the one thing she did decide to take from her belongings upstairs… where the hell was she hiding them, though?!) meanwhile, a single tear rolls down her cheek. She can’t change who she is… she has to do this.

He’s not even mad. At some level, he probably expected this. He asks her twice for the key. At an impasse, he grabs a cleaver, holding their hands together on the chopping block. This is all fun and games, but Clarice is now actively standing in the way of his freedom.

“Above, or blow the wrist, Clarice?”

I mean, you can’t blame the guy. If you were faced with spending the rest of your life in a 10×10 cell with no windows and little access to anything that might keep you sane (relative term, I know) what would you do?

I’ll tell you what Hannibal did.

“This is really gonna hurt.”

He cut his hand off.

Yeah… read that again. Let it sink in.

He cut… HIS… hand off!

There are dudes out here that can’t even be bothered to reply to a text… and this man, CUT OFF HIS HAND… instead of hers, to gain his freedom.

He was literally… sitting on a plane… WITHOUT A HAND! Leaving the woman trying to put him in jail… COMPLETELY in tact!

Now, make no mistake. I have no desire to be in a long term, long distance relationship with a serial killer or psycho, and especially not a cannibal. However, I reserve the right to say that…

That was downright sexy and romantic as hell.

What can I say… I’m an old softie 😉

Fortunately, I have friends that understand me.

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