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.


It’s Been Good to Be Back in the Hoop.


I had a nice hoop workout today. It is the third or fourth workout that I have had since I started crawling out of my wallowing hole. After my brother passed away, I allowed myself to wallow, bring the TV into the bedroom wallow, and I let myself be okay with being sad.  After a hefty number of days of wallowing, I am getting back to my set point. I heard on a TED talk that on average it takes a person three months to get back to their genetically set happiness point after a traumatic experience. Just a statistic, it’s true, but one I’ll hang on my hat on. It’s not so much that everything is all better, it is the fact that the smoke has cleared, and my path is coming back into view, and I’ve always liked how my path looks from inside a circle.  It’s been good to be back in the hoop.

Sometimes My Hoops Just Sit in the Corner


Sometimes My Hoops Just Sit in the Corner

General JaMocha is my go-to hoop, strong, and durable, a two-pound maroon circle with a strip of silver shimmer.  When he spins, he reflects light like medals on a maroon lapel. He is the general, being called to duty more times than any other hoop, seeing more battle than the rest. He’s been scraped up on pavements, nicked on cement, wrestled in the rain.  He’s skimmed every body of water, skidding across oceans, lakes, and rivers, leaned against patios, beds, curbs, and left too close to fires. JaMocha has been through it all, my Archangel, my guardian and keeper of all things I balance in life, but he is sitting in the corner. All my hoops are sitting there, leaning against the wall, waiting for me.  Any of them would be happy to get attention, and more than thrilled to give it, but I’m unready, unprepared to be reminded that the world is round, that the cosmos are round, that time and circle of life is real and moves with rotations like spinning tops on a kitchen linoleum. Maybe today I say, let it swing around me and soothe me like I know it will.

Old Red


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.

In A World of Good and Bad


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?

Audience of One, Please.


Audience of One, Please.

I went back to Hooper Park today and this time I had a bit of an audience. I’m actually not so sure I had any kind of audience, but sometimes, because I love attention, it makes me feel good to think that I do have an audience even if I don’t. (Some folks were out eating lunch so maybe I did.)

Anyway, I am not looking at them intentionally, trying to pretend that I don’t think that they are watching me. “And I think, oh yay, I can entertain them while they eat.” Anyway, I started warming up, and two minutes or so into my workout, in the midst of doing a whirl or a twirl or something, (actually, I think it was barrel roll grapevine looking things) I step on my own two feet and I bit it. Tumbled right to the ground, leaves all over me. Dead grass in my hair. Skinned up my knee. I get up. Not a single person has noticed me.

And man, that just made me laugh. Ultimately, I hoop for me.

What do you hoop for?