Weightless and a little overwhelmed

Some people may discover their inner acrobat.

I discover my inner couch potato - and the many disadvantages that come with spending most of my adult life lounging on the sofa, armed with a remote control and a packet of chips.

It has equipped me with a considerable lack of anything resembling upper body strength. And don't get me started on lower body strength.

Hanging from the stationary bar, my arms start to ache a few seconds in. I make assorted noises of pain, clinging on a little manically.

Attempting a knee hang involves me flailing around a fair bit, and kicking around a lot, before I finally manage to hook my knees up on the bar.

The kids doing the lessons with me manage to do it with such ease that it's a bit of a surprise that it's such a struggle.

The long climb up the ladder to the actual flying trapeze is daunting.

I take it at a timid pace.

It feels like it will never end.

Once I'm finally on the platform, it takes some careful manoeuvring - and a comforting hand from the staff member perched there - to guide me into position.

Here is where the pre-swing jitters really register.

I have to lean forward, balancing with my toes over the edge of the platform. My right hand is extended out, clinging to the trapeze.

It's a long way down.

"Noooo," I whimper.

"Trust me," says my instructor calmly.

"Cannot! I don't trust anyone!" I shoot back, a little hysterical with fear.

Eventually he manages to coax me into placing both hands on the trapeze bar.

I close my eyes, leaning so far forward that it feels like I'd slip right off the platform without his hand holding me steady on the platform.

But when I bend my knees and take off, the fear evaporates. I understand why some people come back for seconds.

I'm sailing through the air, weightless and a little overwhelmed by this little bit of circus magic.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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