I like to think that my energy while hooping is always light, bright and full of fun, that hooping is nearly always a pure, wholesome experience of flowing connection between myself and my moving circle. I like to think that the hooping world is a blissful bastion of angelic interactions, somehow separate from the human ills that plague families, friendships, communities and our world at large. Alas, casting a wary, sheepish glance around my psyche I notice that there lurks a gloomy goblin, wielding my weakness as a weapon, working feverishly to convince me I’ll never be as good a hooper as THAT one over there.
Do you know the feeling? Even if you have convinced the world of your impervious nature, once or twice you’ve been bit by the jealousy bug. We all have. For some of us, it is what started us hooping in the first place, a feeling of: “I want THAT for myself, what ever THAT is.” I remember the first time I saw another hooper, she seemed to have one specific flow of movement, and it was so wildly different from anything I ever did that I felt immediately diminished in her presence. Lacking the luster of her specific movements, I turned my envy into fuel for my practice, trying to retrofit my spinning into an alien, albeit tantalizing, combination.
While I was able to wrest some positive power from the scenario, I quickly found that riding this particularly sticky emotional wave doesn’t always lead me to the promised land of blissful flow. In fact, the pattern can be deceptively sadistic: left unchecked my thoughts lead me through a labrynth of brambles, from “WOW! That’s cool, and it looks like fun,” to “I want to look like HER/HIM/THEM” to “I’ll NEVER make it look as smooth as they do,” to “I’m a loser, no-good, ugly waste of space!” The path can take hours, minutes or even seconds, but it almost always leads AWAY from joyful fulfillment, not toward it. Worse, as I’ve practiced over the years, the “jealousy” pattern can lose traction to become “hoop snob,” a wholly different monstrosity, though they are cut from the same cloth, manufactured by an evil corporation selling the brand “I AM NOT ENOUGH” in every flavor under the sun. And it’s all lurking right there under my bushy eyebrows.
Truth be told, there can be a devastatingly thin line between “hoop crush” and “hoop envy/snobbery.” And yet they come from opposite sides of the universe in terms of emotional energy! When we admire a member of our community for brushing up against ultimate perfection for THEM, we are exalting in our individuality and cheering ourselves forward toward aesthetic excellence. On the other hand, we can easily TAKE the spotlight for ourselves, to either magnify our faults and invite the world into our private pity party, or to blow our miniature successes up to epic proportions in an effort to get others to give us the credit we keep refusing to give ourselves.
Within each of us is a rockstar hooper grasping for mastery, however we each define it. We can fool ourselves into believing otherwise, clinging to mimicry and shallow praise, letting our own psychic goblins have their way with us. Or we can shadow-box our way to the sublime fruits of pleasurable movement, shedding our caustic self-sabotage camouflage. We can practice from EITHER end of the emotional spectrum at any time. The choice, of course, is ours. For my part: I am learning to adore YOU and MYSELF simultaneously, and it is getting easier every day I practice.
Casandra Tanenbaum has been spinning hoops and words for years at Hoopsofly and Florida Poetry Events and now she’s even getting people in shape with Hoola-Fit. If you’re in the great state of Florida, you know Casandra. She lives in Lake Worth, Florida, USA, and is the organizer of the annual Florida Flow Fest.