Nearly every time I feel like I’ve forgotten how to sit silently and read, I learn that all I need is an empty day. The simple time makes me so happy, I know it’s important for my mental health.
There wasn’t much talk about mental health when I swam competitively, over a decade ago. Performance mattered, but it didn’t feel like the person behind the performance did. At this meet, I should have been celebrating how much the team overcame together, but all I could really think about was what I hadn’t accomplished as my swimming career ended.
It’s commendable for Simone Biles to make the decision to protect her mental and physical health—we won’t know more unless she chooses to share. It’s hard enough for an athlete to speak up about struggling when they strive to be the best, to be seen as strong. She’s paving the way for young athletes. Coaches, take note.
Speaking of mental health, I talked about the intersection of mental health and chronic illness with Amatus Health. You can listen to podcast Episode 30 of Share here. Also listen in for the sarcasm I drip on words like *hysterical*.
Summer is supposed to be down time for me, but it hasn’t been. At Lyra Choreography last week, I let my entire body melt into the mat. For the first time in weeks, I felt like I slowed down. It was 9:30pm on a Thursday.
Running is moving along. Despite the level of business, I am happy with how half marathon training has progressed, especially in the extreme heat and humidity in Baltimore. To stay balanced in running, I lean on the creativity of circus arts.
Circus arts take incredible strength and endurance, separate from running. On lyra, my first movement love, you hold on, pretending to be graceful while using different points of pressure on your body to create gravity defying shapes. Add a spin, and no one can tell how hard it is as long as you control your face too. This is all while trying not to fall to the floor.
It’s a safe space for me to explore when my mind and the outside world feel like chaos. Recently, the choreography class was spent exploring emotion and shape. Our coach played a song and asked us to lead with our elbows, then picked another song and asked us to lead with our hips.
There is a foundation in all the movements, but after the foundation, possibilities are endless. As much as I love running, lyra and other circus arts allow more creativity. It’s not like a road race, where strategy still depends on speed.
Books I’m thinking about/recently read:
- How Beautiful We Were, Imbolo Mbue
- On Juneteenth, Annette Gordon-Reed
Stay sweaty and glittery. Black Lives Matter.