X-ray of a circus artists's hand

Pain

Alright.  Let’s talk for a little bit about pain.  As far as I can tell, there are a few main kinds when you go to circus school. 

The first is muscle pain from strength training.  This one is the least of my troubles.  I think it is because I was already strong to begin with, and even when I do feel it, it is something that I am used to to the degree that it does not slow me down any. 

Then there is the pain from gaining flexibility.  For me, this pain is always going to be in the background of everything that I do if only because I am incredibly inflexible.  It’s weird, though, because you only feel it when you try to stretch out a muscle a little bit, and once you warm up, it is okay.  When you get cold, however, it is always happy to remind you that it is there! 

Ah, and the pain from being stretched out.  This is probably the sharpest, most intense pain that I feel.  It makes me feel like I want to pass out, and it just keeps getting worse and worse even though you are thinking to yourself “alright, that must be about as bad as it will feel.”  It makes you sweat, it makes you breathe heavily and loudly, it sucks.  But, the pleasure you feel afterwards is immense!  All those endorphins added to the feeling that you are just a little bit more flexible now really help you deal with the pain. 

Now we have the most annoying pain: apparatus burn.  This is what I currently have all over my upper thighs due to working tissus for the first time.  I learned about 4 figures today, but I need to remember to bring some nice sort of skin guard for my next lesson.  At least my teacher is cool, and she is really excited about this tissus tramp thing that was a complete accident.  This sort of pain just sticks with you and makes it hard to wear long pants and to sit with the skin touching itself and to take showers.  Every apparatus does it, though, it is a fact of circus life! 

Then there are old, familiar pains, like my back.  These will never go away, and one has to wear it like a badge of honor.  You’ve earned these pains! 

And, finally, the pain that everyone would like to ignore:  the pain from injury.  Easily the most important pain, but we still work through it like idiots.  My right calf and back are bothering me now. 

Some firsts to mention:  My first time bringing food to the school (almost ate a whole loaf of bread in the form of tuna fish sandwiches!) 

My first tissus class, my first aerial class (did korean cradle for the first time.)  Being a flyer was fun, but the tuck I was supposed to do really threw me.  You can’t hold it in at all, and you need to bring your chest forward, exactly the way that they tell you never to do in gymnastics.  Weird! 

First juggling class (will be boring, but a nice break!  The Clown is really, really good).  First hand to hand class, but I was a porter.  I think I’m pretty good at it, but would much rather be a top.  And finally, I had my first “movement” class.  It was basically contact improv with all the weirdness associated with that, but I actually got to see people who were really good at it.  Some of the older students are excellent.  The teacher is weird and was doing some exercises involving grabbing himself under his penis.  Whacked. 

I also got some lessons at butterflies and side summies from a bunch of people.  It was cool. 

Also got an invitation to take flying trap with one of my fellow first years.  Will definitely take her up on that. 

Ah well.  Tomorrow! 

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