A story I heard once.

It is true that I believe in circles. If I can believe in nothing else, I can believe in the roundness of a circle. It’s not that I can exactly touch the roundness, but I can understand its curves. It makes sense. Maybe it makes sense because I believe in circles or maybe it’s a circle because I believe. But I believe the earth is round. I believe my eyeball is round. My head is round, and even Santa’s belly is round. I believe in the roundness of circles. So from what I know about the round earth, sun and moon, I believe that the circle can sometimes be in darkness and sometimes be in light, and that too much of one is not good for the other. So when I heard this story from a gypsy at a bar in Spain, I imgres-4knew it was probably true.

The woman who never told me her name said she had seen me dancing on the streets of Barcelona. I am a hoop dancer. I perform with hoops and spin for tips. I had spent the afternoon impressing tourist for euros, but the gypsy had said she saw me early that day, dancing on shores of the sea.

“I watched you dance,” she said, “when you thought no one was watching.” She pushed her lips together and tilted her head. I could see her green eyes searching mine, uncovering me with a suspicious ease. “I wondered if you are Scalian or Aro.”

She dropped her chin and continued to search my face.

When I told the gypsy who had eyes so green that I had never heard of either an Aro or Scalian, she pushed her long brown hair off her shoulder and laughed.

“Of course,” she said and asked if I would like to hear a story.

She moved into the seat next to me, ordered a drink for herself and this is what she said…. click here: 

An Open Letter

An Open letter:

To my “hula hoop” with love (sorry for the “hula hoop” part)::
Dear JaMocha,
I want to write about you for class.  I’m getting my MFA in Writing Creative Nonfiction and I’ve have tried for days to write about you, tried to find the balance of language, but isn’t balance just so easy it’s hard because balance needs simply balance. You taught me that. You taught me lessons in rhythm, lessons in flow, in time, in femininity, and of course I’m not talking about you, and you know that.  I’m talking about your power, but I’m not talking about power because you are not powerful. You are just a toy, just a Wham-O trademarked “hula hoop,” though you are not the Wham-O Hula Hoop, and you are not the hula. I do suppose you could be some distant cousin to the hula-kahiko, somehow related to the dance that early Polynesians used to perform for their king because sometimes, you are my king. You are my sacred chief, and you are my morning ritual. I bring you o
ut to my driveway, I drag you out and spin you around, and sometimes, I’m only doing it because you look so good when you spin, and I am honored to honor you, and isn’t that power?

artBut sometimes, I have not been honored, sometimes, I have not been oh, so delighted to spin you around. Some days I curse you because you don’t understand death or ends. I scream at you, let my voice get raw, scream that there is an end, and I’ll figure out an end to your lack of beginnings and endings, but I never do, and I never will, and you’ll flip my force and bring force back to me, make the circle bigger and stronger, and let me throw myself in. 

I was in you when I prayed to the universe, to the gods, to Jesus, to anyone who would care. I prayed to you and you prayed with me and we prayed together, and we cried together and we came unhitched together, and I threw you into the air where you would spin and spin, but always come back to me and scoop me into your vortex, and I know I gave you power. You are nothing but irrigation tubing connected with a plastic insert, wrapped in pretty tape. I have made you, dear hoop, but you have made me. You made me with the force I put in you. I fling you, push you and it’s you who pushes back, back at my hips, my hands, my shins, pushing back on my back. Everything bruised with repetition and time, and I feel a since of pride because I think for a second there is no end, and I do get it, but just as quickly as it comes it fades. Open and close.

I couldn’t fit your robust 42’ inch diameter into the overhead. I couldn’t bring you to my brother’s funeral, couldn’t bring you to the church or the cemetery, but you didn’t need to go.  You were already there. You are my father and his grandson. You are the circle, and you are unbroken.

I will write about you dear hoop.

Old Red

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I paid $30 for a hoop to a woman who made them in her apartment. The red hoop was waiting for me just like she said it would be.  It wasn’t a fire-engine red, but it sparked against the subdued wall that it leaned on. It was red like weathered bricks on chimneys.  I slid the hoop into the backseat and glanced at it every few seconds in the rearview mirror. Like a mother checking on her newborn, I put my hand on the hoop every time we came to a stoplight. 

I understand that Old Red was just a piece of plastic, but she was powerful. She rolled over my body pressing a weight on my skin that was familiar yet fleeting.  She was a circle of protection, a chance to move in ways that I had only done with the curtains drawn in the privacy of my bedroom. I was thrusting my waist, my hips, my legs in broad daylight, and it was okay, and I was okay.  Old Red changed something in me. She calmed the restless inner-child, and awoke a strong, sensual woman.  I felt sexy for the first time in my life thanks to Old Red.  She filled a void that I didn’t know was there. I felt bad about myself until she rolled over me and made me pay attention to my hips, my stomach, my arms, my butt and I realized, I wasn’t so bad.

I gave Old Red to a lady who I thought needed her more than me.  I wonder where Old Red is now.

You Are Probably Right

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You might call my hoops, “hula hoops,” but I don’t call them that.  Most people who call themselves hoopers don’t call them that either.  Hula hoop is trademarked and marketed by Wham-O.  They are small, plastic, light-weight circles you can get at any local department store for a few bucks. They are tucked back in the kid’s section because they are, in fact, made for kids.  There is nothing wrong with Wham-O style hula hoops, but when I say hoops, I am talking about adult size hoops that are bigger, heavier, and made for the child in you but can fit around the adult you. They are made from irrigation tubing, are somewhere around 42 inches in diameter, weigh nearly a pound, and are wrapped in the sparkliest, happiest tape known to man.  I used to sell these hoops out on the street, and on the streets, I heard, “I can’t do it,” from more adults than I can count. The simplicity is this: If you say you can’t, you are probably right.

In A World of Good and Bad

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I’ve been hooping for about five years, and for the most part, I have found a routine that works for me, an hour routine that allows me to maintain my weight, and my health.  But through these years, there is something else the hoop has continually helped me to maintain, and I’m not sure it’s always a good thing. In fact, sometimes it’s the hardest lesson.

Putting myself inside of circle as much as I do, has changed my way of looking at the world. In the beginning, hooping opened my positivity, it flowed like never before, and I felt on fire for life.  I found my inner child, my beauty, my sexuality, my confidence all inside of a hoop. For the most part, hooping allowed me to see the world with a happier lens.
But I have come to think of world as I think of my hoop, and I realize that sometimes the world can swing around us, and no matter what we do, it is going to go where it needs to go. And if we aren’t careful, we just might make it worse.  I can swing a hoop around my body in so many ways.  I can control how the hoop moves around me. How fast, how slow. I am the center of my hoop, the point of it’s orbit, but even the best hooper knows that just as easy as it spins, so easy can it stop. Sometimes it catches us by surprise, sometimes it might leave us bruised and hurt, and all the times, it teaches us again and again that we have to go with the flow.

There isn’t a hooper aren’t there who hasn’t found a rhythm, started a trick, started a certain move or motion and the hoop seemed to have a different plan entirely. (Like the time I busted my head when I first learned the traveler.. oops.)   It’s this lesson, this realization, that no matter how hard it is, we have to take the good and the bad.  The optimist inside of me screams because in the end who wants the bad. But without it, maybe I couldn’t maintain my sense of balance.

Can you have the good without the bad?

Sorry Dog, I’ve Just Got to Hula Hoop.

Sorry Dog, I’ve Just Got to Hula Hoop.

On the way to Hooper Park this morning, I realized there is something about my hula hoop that makes me feel stronger. Even when I just walk around with it on my shoulder. It kind of makes me feel like saying, “Don’t mess with me, I’ve got a hula hoop.”

I get to the park and I start hooping and have a great time, and towards the end of my workout there is a guy who starts playing soccer with his dog. It was cute and looked like fun and I thought “Oh I wish I could have a dog to come play with me.” But people I like to hula hoop. Do you know how hard that is to get your dog to do that with you, or to even understand that the hula hoop is going to come back around and will hit them in the head?

I’ve just got to tell them, “Sorry dog, don’t mess with me, I’ve got a hula hoop.”

What do you have?

Circle Power

So I have been talking about hooping again.  Since I started a new job, I am surrounded by new people who have no idea what I really mean when I say hooping. It’s not their fault, I know it isn’t and if the shoe were on the other foot I might make the same mistake. Is anyone else tired of people saying “Whaaaaaaat? pooping? Oh, haha, I thought you said pooping.” And they laugh and laugh and search for anyone near who will laugh with them and exchange a number of bathroom jokes.

I probably won’t talk to you about my pooping workout, or how I had a pooping company, or my pooping friends.

The list of jokes goes on and on and I think I have heard them all. Sometimes, I wish hooping was called something else. Round? Do you round? Or maybe Circle power? Oh, do you circle power? I kind of like it.

What would you call hooping if it wasn’t hooping?