My Hoop Journey

I took up hula hooping in the middle of January 2016. As I’ve just passed my 1 year “hoopiversary”, I decided to detail my journey from ‘fairly useless individual in a sports bra with a massive hoop’ to ‘actually quite competent’. I initially didn’t mean to write it in this style; it just sort of happened.

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Once upon a time, a soon-to-be university dropout in a tiny room in Reading bought herself a purple, gold and black hula hoop.

She’d got to try out a friend’s hoop a few months before. Inspired by the fact she could keep it on her waist, thought she’d tryscreen-shot-2017-02-15-at-22-43-08 and pursue it herself, when she finally left university for good (unlike her halls, her parents had a nice-sized garden).

She soon realised that learning to hula hoop in the middle of January probably wasn’t going to be the most pleasant experience. It was very cold – very cold- especially since she needed the exposed skin to keep the hoop spinning.

The bruises… they were something else.

She learned using online tutorials, and, whenever she could, and run outside to try it, and try it, and try it until she got it vaguely right. Admittedly, she wasn’t exactly the most elegant, but she was determined that she would be, one day.

Her breakthrough came to her in the form of her friend, who recommended her a class which was starting in the nearby village. She signed up straight away, and soon she was just-about-spinning with a few other ambitious hoopers. For the life of her, she couldn’t neck hoop – something which became a bit demoralising when she realised everyone else could do it. In all fairness, though, she was one of the first to figure out lifting off the waist (although online classes had helped a bit with that one..).

And, she practiced. She practiced a lot – in the park, whenever she could, she’d drag her screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-22-57-17boyfriend and her hoop to somewhere fairly hidden, so passers-by wouldn’t see her mess something up, mainly. In mid-February, her boyfriend bought her a beautiful, iridescent polypro hoop – lighter, and faster, and it made all the things she needed to do with her arms a lot easier. She wasn’t getting tired in the classes, anymore, and really felt she was progressing. Going from a beginner hoop to a polypro definitely took a bit of getting used to!

Not long after, she bought her second hoop, from her hoop teacher – a neon pink, naked polypro this time, taped around the middle, making it much easier to spin around thescreen-shot-2017-02-16-at-00-21-27 waist. She still hadn’t quite grasped neck hooping, though…

When she got her job, she had much, much less time for hooping. She started to lag a bit in her lessons, having to miss several due to back pains from standing all day, or just staying late to get things done. Work was worth it, but she began to notice a lot of the other members of the class surpass her in skill – even the people who started the course weeks after she did.

Still, she loved to hoop, and she didn’t give it up. She took her pink polypros to Wychwood Festival in Cheltenham, and danced the weekend away with her friend – they finally had the chance to jam together, if just for a couple of days.

After watching the fire dancers at the Avebury Summer Solstice in awe, she decided to keep some of her paycheque back, and eventually managed to save enough to order a LED hoop from the USA, as summer was just around the corner. It would be the perfect weather for hooping at night, especially at future festivals.

(It turned out not to arrive until a week after Boomtown, though.)

Just as she’d finascreen-shot-2017-02-16-at-00-51-48lly, sort of, managed to grasp neck hooping, she came across her next, biggest hurdle: chest hooping. Notoriously difficult, she was no stranger to its challenge. No amount of pumping and awkward wriggling could get it working. It became an impossible goal, in a way.

Shoulder hooping was somewhat more achievable, with her first successful attempt being made at Secret Garden Party. The combination of intensive heat and an open-minded, loving, festival atmosphere, meant that cropped tops and swimwear – perfect hooping attire – were more than acceptable.

Coincidentally, this was also the same festival in which she hooped naked a couple of times… which led to her first, real success with hooping around the leg, coincidentally.

With chest hooping still a distant dream, and shoulder hooping not much closer (but her vortex getting incredible), she was given the opportunity to try fire hooping. Nerve-wracking, yes, but fun, definitely. The smell and the sound blew her away, and she knew she wanted to take it up, someday. Someday, in a few years, probably.

It was difficult to learn more techniques while travelling around festivals, but the one screen-shot-2017-02-16-at-01-15-29thing she definitely got to work on was her flow. There was music everywhere.

By the time she had her last hoop lesson, before she moved to her new home in Brighton in September, she’d still not mastered chest hooping or escalators. But, a beautiful, fully-taped polypro and some good luck followed, and she found a hoop class near to her new home, by Live Love Hoop.

The class consisted of six, hour-long blocks, and focused on upper-body hooping. After just the first session, she knew she’d made significant progress, and she couldn’t have been happier. Her posture was corrected, and neck hooping came naturally. Shortly after, followed proper shoulder hooping, neck hooping with an arm lifted, almost a chest roll and, finally, finally, proper chest hooping. Though admittedly completing more than five rotations proved a bit too ambitious, it was a breakthrough, and a huge personal achievement, to boot.

Something about mastering the one thing she felt was holding her back spurred her on to practice more and more. She signed up for another class, this time on lower body hooping, and, while she was back in her hometown, made sure to practice every day, weather permitting. Five rotations became seven, then ten, and then, sustained.

screen-shot-2017-02-18-at-22-02-56Upon starting her leg hooping course, she was confident, and soon, by the end, more or less mastered a number of tricks on the legs. Eventually, she could work the hoop up and down her body, from her legs, to her chest, to her neck. She could keep up a flow, and even hoop on her foot without it flying off and hitting someone in the face. She definitely hit herself a couple of times, though…

As more and more assignments are handed in, she knows that she may not have as much time for hooping. However, as the days get warmer and longer, she promises herself that she will make the time for it. She has promised herself that she’ll perfect rolls and basic floor work before the year is done.

The progress has been huge, and she hopes she just keeps getting better.

It Started With “Hello” – Spoken Word Piece

So, for the past three months or so, I’ve been trying to write spoken word poetry, after being inspired by the Poetry Slam I watched at WOMAD World of Words. I appreciate that this isn’t the same effect as listening to it (although I may record it at a later date), and that it probably needs a lot of work – I’m still learning!

Another thing I want to mention, because I’m paranoid, is that this is a completely original work, and the only place I’m going to post it) as far as I know, is my Wattpad account (also GoldDustLizzy).

Anyway. This is a poem about love.

It Started With “Hello”

It started with “hello”,
A wave across a room,
A friendly smile,
And a suggestion that we meet for coffee.

He told me that he came from Reading originally,
But grew up in a small town outside of Windsor.
His parents divorced when he was ten,
And his older sister is married with a son.

And he was beautiful.
His eyes were kind,
His face elegantly angled,
And his voice was soft, like an angel’s song.

I asked him out for drinks, but he faltered;
He had plans with another girl.
I guess that’s fair enough –
He was an Adonis.

I asked what she was like,
But he refused to talk.
It doesn’t matter, he said,
They were going for dinner.

The next day, I persisted, and asked him about her.
He seemed more open.
They’d had a fight over…
…lasagne, or something?
He shrugged it off like it was nothing, but I saw my chance.

Their fights continued,
From what I can see.
He’d come in dejected, and I like to think
That seeing me would brighten his day.

He said he’d told her about me, once.
That she hadn’t been happy,
That she’d asked questions,
Interrogated him about me,
And I hope he said good things,
Like he said he did.

One night, he texted me,
Saying she was freaking out…
Again.
And could we talk about it tomorrow?
I said, “of course!”.
My face was glowing.

After that night, he was happy to see me.
We got drinks between lectures,
With no faltering this time.
He bought me a rum and coke,
Even though I’d offered to pay for it myself.
Yet, still, he ran back to the other girl.

What did he see in her?
She didn’t make him happy,
That much was clear.
What did she have that I didn’t?

It all made sense, when I met her later.
She was gorgeous.
Long hair, dark eyes, slight frame.
Little pout, shy mannerisms.

But how she shouted!
When she was set off, the heavens would shake.
So much anger in one so small.
Why did he put up with her?

Months into our friendship, he’d confide in me.
Many things would make her angry.
She was constantly distressed, and
I told him she wasn’t worth it, but he denied me.

At least, his words did.

“She hates how I -”
She hates you having fun.
“She hates when you -”
She hates you having a life.
“She hates how I talk about you.”
Because you can talk to me.
“She hates when I see you.”
She hates you having friends who aren’t her.

It was me he could trust,
Me he could confide in.
But she tied him down,
Relentlessly,
Angrily,
His freedom was compromised
As long as she was there.

I yearned for the day
When he’d finally realise
That she really wasn’t worth his commitment.
She’d never give him what he wished for.

I could.
I really could.
If only he’d see that.
If only, if only, if only…

Then, one night.

One strange, wonderful night,

He kissed me.

His lips were soft and sweet,
Like cotton candy,
To be cliched.
His touch was desperate,
Passionate,
Intense,
Clawing for affection
In that dingy nightclub,
Pulling me towards him,
As though he were clinging for his life.

He’d finally realised,
His decision was right.

Her?
She’s a problem no more.
A distant memory,
A wall between our love.
A wall which now has crumbled.

He and I were meant to be.
A love which was pure,
A love like no other.
She was just a jealous bitch,
Incapable of realising
That he was better off without her.

She is gone,
Her reign is over.

And, it makes me think:
What is it like,
To be the other girl,
Desperate for affection,
While his solace comes
From the arms of another?

But, never mind.
His choice was made.
A happy three years came to naught.
But, me? I’m fine.
I’ve won.
Now, she’s but a distant dream.
Now, she must realise
That nothing halts a true love’s path.
She gave her life to him,
I know,
But, now, his life is all to me.
I know she’ll find another man,
But at this point,
I couldn’t care less.

A Day Alone in a New City

I know I’ve not written in ages, but I’ve been very, very busy with moving to Brighton. I’m hopefully going to get more of a chance to write, I’ve got so many drafts saved at the moment. I’d like to do something on leaving home, maybe, or fresher’s week? I’m not sure. Uni will be strange.

Anyway, for now, here’s a piece of creative writing, inspired by my first day alone in my new flat.

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New places usually left her with a night’s sleep which was wanting more, but she awoke surprisingly refreshed, and proceeded to try and figure out the shower. The bathroom was still a bit grimy. She remembered that she was going to try and get the soap scum off the bottom, but forgot in favour of getting a bit pissed instead. It wasn’t a decision she regretted; the alcohol-induced wooziness was probably what made her sleep okay in the first place.

The water came out cold, as was usually characteristic of unfamiliar showers. They were a mystery akin to the Enigma codes. Or, at least, that’s how it felt, standing naked in the bathroom, desperately trying to figure out why, no matter which way you turned it, the water still came out at arctic temperatures. Eventually, she realised that the previous tenant had probably knocked off the knob at some time or another, and had managed to put it back upside-down. Cold meant hot. She’d have to remember that.

And, God, the neighbours were loud. She wasn’t sure if the door upstairs slamming was someone going in or out, but she could still hear his voice. He sounded very self-assured, to say the least.

She strolled through the underpass beneath the station, nearly tripping over a small child who’d stopped suddenly in the middle of the pavement to try  and catch a Pokémon. Coming up from the other side was a family with suitcases, so she climbed the step of the shop beside her to skirt around the congestion. People-Dodging really needed a companion. The subsequent complaining made it more fun. She shrugged, and tried to navigate the twists and turns in the Lanes. To be specific, that was which ones had cars going down them, and which ones didn’t. It was odd, really. The roads were open to traffic, evidently because it was a weekday, but it didn’t seem any less busy than the Sunday before, when pedestrians could stroll freely, without fear of some wanker in a BMW about to run them down.

You could quickly see who were tourists and who lived here all year round. The resident Brightonians, the ones who fitted the vibe, were the alternative crowd, minding their own business as they weaved around the holidaying families with surly, tracksuit-clad teenagers who sneered at them. As she passed, they sneered at her, too. She wasn’t sure if she should feel self-conscious or proud. They thought she was one of them. She fitted in here, after arriving from a place where she so often stood out like a sore thumb.

Pride aside, the Lanes seemed to have lost their charm in the peak season. She wistfully recalled trips with her boyfriend in the spring months. Colder, yes, but the character was there. The shopkeepers were calmer, happier, more relaxed. She looked forward to those months again, silently punishing herself for doing so.

You were a tourist, too, barely a week ago.

Guilty though she felt, the part of her which could quote BN1 as her postcode provoked her onwards. Get what you need, then you can go home.

The roads still scared her when she was alone. Brave, experienced shoppers charged through as the buses pulled around corners at alarmingly high speeds. Best to wait for the green, now make a run for the mall itself. Churchill Square is always crowded. She fought her way through the hoards of schoolchildren, staring wistfully at clothes their pocket money wouldn’t stretch to. She remembered those days, and then she yearned for her old job, back home. Home? Climbing the stairs of Urban Outfitters, they walked in rows of 5, silent and sullen. She edged around them and ran for the homeware shops. Too much effort. All she’d wanted was a toothbrush holder, anyway.

Arriving home, after pushing through more crowds, all she wanted was a cold drink. Typically, her family, before leaving the night before, had finished all the apple juice, and she really didn’t have the energy to go back out again. All that was left was wine. She shrugged. She was alone. Her house, her rules, and while wine at 4pm wasn’t a rule, it wasn’t frowned upon, either.

Taking a sip of delicious Sauvignon, she smiled.

Home.