Hooping Under Pressure. There is plenty to read about how exercise and dance can relieve stress. This is not one ofthose articles. Oh no, my friends. I've got a different kind of pressure on my mind.
And its wrapped up in the fact that taking up hula hooping somehow seems to come automatically with a new identity. All of a sudden, you're "that hula hoop girl" to friends, family, and pretty much anyone who's ever seen you with a hoop.
Dance Monkey Dance. Whether your new hooping celebrity status is fun for you or leaves you a little out-of-sorts, it can seem like you're getting put on the spot a lot. (Is that just me? Nah, can't be). I tend to call these "Dance Monkey Dance" scenarios. I feel like I'm expected to pull out my hoop and WOW somebody in 10 seconds or less. I feel that way because I'm more comfortable being called "The Hula Hoop Lady" than being called "Bitch." Ouch.
Reality Check. Now, does that mean I have to hop into an impromptu performance every time? No, of course not. Is that what they're really asking for? Maybe, but it's more likely a show of curiosity and enthusiasm than it is an outright demand.
In my mind, Dance Monkey Dance scenarios fall into three general categories:
Friends and Family. Genuinely curious and probably already supportive of your newfound circle-love (even if they didn't even know it's a "thing"). This category is not-so-hard. I'm going to have a blast blowing Grandma's mind. Well, Mee-Maw, we do it a little differently nowadays. (See, I also get to say "nowadays" and might even throw in "new-fangled" for fun). And if they're not hip to the hip-groove already, I'm confident enough in my friend circle that they're going to LOVE it.
Now if you've got a particularly ornery family - and so many of us do, don't we?- they may fall squarely into the next category:
Random Observers. Here's where things get tricky. You're just trying to have a quiet practice session in the park. Or jam out to a great band at a music festival. You knew bringing your hoop would draw attention, but this is kinda out of hand and cramping your fun.
Now, in a random-observer DMD (Dance-Monkey-Dance) situation, you've got a few options. Maybe you're in the mood. Awesome. Go for it. But if you're not, there are a couple easy AND community-building ways to wiggle out of the spotlight gracefully.
Other Hoopers. Now we're in some Deep Doody, as my grandfather might have put it. As far as pressure goes, this can be an anxiety-producing situation. Just joining a hoop jam can be hard for a lot of us. Never mind putting out a video! And I'm not just writing that. I feel the pressure today WAY more than I felt it when I began hooping in 2002. You know why?
The new generation of hoopers is learning so much faster and creating so much more than we ever dreamed was possible back in the day. I often feel like a hooping dinosaur - out-dated and like I just can't (or don't care to) keep up. Yes, I know all that matters is that I'm having fun. I know that in my back yard. But when it comes to putting myself out there, I feel the squeeze more often than I'd like to admit. In that way, I suppose hooping is like every other activity. And it's a new challenge - hooping just keeps 'em coming, doesn't it?.
But when it's time to shake my hoopy bootay, I know that everyone who really loves hooping is looking at the smile on my face - not my isolation planes. I know that I'll have more fun and feel better myself if I hoop than if I don't. And hiding my hoop light under a shy bushel just isn't the way I roll. How can I ask others to give it a whirl for the first time in front of others if I won't do the same?
It's Not Vanity. Many people like to talk about "Pressures" as internal or external. But I don't really
see what difference it makes. No matter where the pressure seems to come "from," there's no mistaking
where it's felt. In our heads, in our bodies. It sucks hard. But it's not the same as being nervous.
Or vain. So you can stop chiding yourself about it, like, now.
pressure (n). finds its origins in the Latin pressura - literally meaning a form of torture by the 12th
century. 200 years later in Old French, the word took on connotations that indicated
"urgency," and a pressing on the mind or heart. By the 15th century, the word means
moral or mental coercion.
Mainly, when we feel "pressure," we're feeling compelled to do something that we don't want to
do or that don't want to do right away. When you were 6, you were pressured to eat your
vegetables. Now you just know you should. But that doesn't mean you want broccoli at 9 a.m. after a
6-mile run. So there's no guilt in saying "No, not right now" if pressure is what you're feeling.
Feel better already? Awesome.
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