I am not a confident person. I am a hopeless introvert in fact. I love being alone, apart from hooping my hobbies are reading and knitting. I don't like parties, large groups of people and definitely do not want to be the centre of attention!
So when I uploaded my first clips to Youtube yesterday, I felt so uncomfortable and had to add a disclaimer that I am not a showing off kind of person, and that, well, it's just not like me.
That got me thinking, and have been pondering on it today.
Since I started hooping, I have noticed a change in my attitude towards putting myself out there and trying things I would normally run a mile from. Every baby step I took has always been instigated by hooping.
I hooped for weeks alone in my back garden for the sheer joy and pleasure of it. From my constant trawling through the internet in search of tutorials and stuff to read about hooping I found there was a Birmingham Hula Hoop Group on Facebook! I joined, as I couldn't believe other people near me actually did it too (everyone I knew who I told I'd started hooping thought I was a weirdo and laughed at me a little bit!)
Then the tipping point came - a meet up in the park after dark for a glow jam and fire hoop. I drove there, sat in the car for at least 15 minutes trying to force myself to go though with it - meeting a bunch of strangers?! Socialising?! Terrifying!
But I did, stayed an hour and had the best time. I even fire hooped! That was TWO things that scared me that I did in one night! I left feeling elated, and so glad I had pushed myself to do it.
Since then the challenges to introversion and solitude have come thick and fast and after that first time I made a promise to myself to always say yes to hooping opportunities. I can always leave if I really don't like it when I get there, right? But funnily enough, when I get there, and start hooping, I don't want to leave!
In six short months of hooping, me, a very shy person, has hooped in a town centre with other hoopers for a family fun day, hooped through Birmingham city centre in a parade with Oye Batuda Samba Band and the Dhol Blasters, taught hoop classes to adults and children, youtubed myself and started a flipping blog!
So I'm not a show off? This just isn't me? Hmmm!
Somehow the plastic circle of hoopiness helps me get over the shyness, forget the fear and just enjoy the movement and the flow. Don't even think about anything else.
Is it that it forms kind of a protective circle, a barrier around you so you feel safe? Is that when you look for other hoopers, you find a friendly, welcoming, happy community where you are accepted without being judged? I think it's a combination of the amazing energy you get when you hoop, and spin, and dance, and the energy and positivity you find in a community of hoopers.
I cannot fathom why a hula hoop has allowed this outgoing, show off, confident side of me to come forwards. But I am really glad it has.