Friday, September 16, 2011


Last month I had the privilege of being a bridesmaid in one of best friend's weddings. Between myself living in Seattle, the bride living in Austin, and one of the other bridesmaid's living in London (lucky girl!) it was definitely a full-fledged friendship reunion, complete with catching up, manicures, champagne, and the occasional bout of happy tears.  And it got me thinking about friendship more.

Girlfriends really are a necessity in life: they cheer us up when we are down, tell us we look amazing even with those extra pounds, console us after a breakup, laugh with us over chick flicks, celebrate our achievements, and provide that sympathetic listening ear that frankly, men just can't quite match. I don't know what I've done to deserve it, but I have some pretty great friends.

I've had girlfriends send me flowers at work when they knew my mom was sick and in the hospital for an extended period of time.

I've had girlfriends throw me a surprise birthday party, complete with cake, on a day that wasn't my birthday as a makeup for all the b-day parties I missed as a kid from being raised in a strict religious family.

There have been numerous rides to the airport and assistance with moving; two tasks nobody likes doing.

I've received greeting cards in the mail for no other reason than just to say thinking about you.

I've had a girlfriend come pick me up and take me out to dinner, her treat, so I would stop sitting at home having a pity party by myself.

And I would like to think that hopefully, I am in return a good friend as well. 

As the bride, myself, and the other bridesmaid were leaving Austin the day after the wedding, due to last minute changes in flights and delays at security, we almost didn't missed each other in the airport.  After making it through security, I quickly headed to their gate, hoping they hadn't left yet.  The bride met me halfway, almost in tears at having to say farewell for a year or more, and the thought that they were going to jet off without saying goodbye. And the feelings were mutual. Which made me think – that is true friendship.

So to all my girlfriends, if I haven't told you or shown you lately - you are an amazing person and I'm honored to have you as a friend.

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Flying Trapeze and a Leap of Faith

"Do one thing every day that scares" ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

I took these words to heart last weekend when I did my first ever flying trapeze class. Having bought a coupon off of Living Social, I'd decided it was time to go redeem it.

I'm not sure what I thought I was getting myself into when I signed up, but upon arriving at Emerald City Trapeze Arts, it dawned on that I would be jumping off of a platform 30-something feet up in the air while clutching a thin metal bar and swinging 20-something feet out over a yawning expanse of empty space. Oh, and guess who was nominated by the instructor to go first?

After about a 30 minute ground lesson explaining what to do (and not do) and getting rigged up in our safety harnesses, I made the mistake of standing closest to the ladder and before I knew it, the instructor says, alright you're first and snaps my harness into the safety line of the ladder.

As I began scaling the ladder, my adrenaline starting pumping. Honestly, it would probably be fairly difficult to actually hurt yourself, as you're strapped into a safety harness the entire time and there is a net at the bottom.  But there is a certain irrational and instinctive feat that takes over. It's the body's natural response to tell you that jumping from heights is not a good idea and you may very well plummet to your death or dismemberment, which my body was doing a good job of letting of me know this.

When I reach the platform at the top, I am greeted by a second instructor. I ask if it's normal to be nervous and he says yes, and that in fact, some people cry. Okay, good I think I'm not so scared that I'm going to cry, so check one for me. The instructor pulls the bar in and hands it to me. Grasping it with both hands, the steel feels more like an anchor than my flying companion. I leaned out over the edge of the platform as the instructor holds the back of the belt. Then the call comes, "Ready", I bend my knees, "Hup" and I jump.

And then I'm flying! I'm sailing through the air 30 feet up and this is one of the funnest things I've ever done. I'm so distracted by how utterly amazing and thrilling this feeling is that I momentarily forget to follow the instructors calls and don't quite execute the skill I'm supposed to be doing.

However, by my third turn, I've done my knee hang into a back flip well enough that I've graduated onto a catch. I'm once again nominated by the instructor to go first. Scared all over again that I'm going to be releasing from my bar to be catch mid-air by the other instructor, I climb the ladder. The instructor gives the call again, "Ready", "Hup" and I jump and swing forward. As I start to swing back I quickly get my knees up on the bar to be in the right position. As I start to swing forward again, I release with my hands and arch backward. I'm sailing in reverse, so I can't see the instructor on the other bar at all. The call comes, "Legs straight" and I release with my knees. blindly reaching out and.........

For a split-second I'm in mid-air and then instructor has caught me by the wrists!

Needless, to say I'm addicted and can't wait for my next class. In fact, I may even quit my job and join the circus. Watch out Cirque du Soleil!

So how about you? What have you done lately that scares you? Nothing in awhile? Then today might be the day to try something new.

Photo Credit: Emerald City Trapeze Arts