My nearest and dearest all know that a couple weekends ago I had the absolute pleasure of attending Hottie Hoop Camp in Surfside, TX. It had an unexpectedly strong impact on me so I’ve decided to take a brief detour from my usual fat activist ranting to share my experience with you.
I started hoop dancing almost exactly a year ago (happy hoop-iversary to me!). It has helped me redefine my relationship with my body because it’s movement that brings me joy instead of shame. To my delight, my pursuit of body positivity and hooping intersected perfectly when I stumbled upon Hottie Hoop Camp online. I thought it would be great to learn some new moves in a safe, body positive space so I decided to take a risk and sign up. I got so much more than I bargained for.
HHC was like a spa for my soul. Never in my life have I experienced such pure and unconditional acceptance. It was a safe space to be or do anything with an army of Hotties at my back. If I needed to rest (something I am accustomed to apologizing for) then I could rest! If I wanted to sing at the top of my lungs I would have ladies joining in! If I wanted to strip to my skivvies and play the ukulele with my feet I could do it and be celebrated (next year maybe??)! I could be as silly, creative and vulnerable as I wanted and receive nothing but love and acceptance in return. Just knowing that this acceptance exists (even though it’s a thousand miles away) heals my heart and gives me strength.
Time for the heavy:
I really believe that God brought me to HHC. As many of you know, I was raised in a Christian home. Faith and religion were at the center of how I was raised and who I believe myself to be. During my teenage years I started feeling disconnected from my church and from God. For the last 10 years I had been successfully burying the hurt and feelings of complete disconnection, failure and of being a disappointment to my family. About 2 weeks before camp I noticed these feelings start to bubble to the surface. For some unknown reason, I could no longer ignore them. My heart was heavy with hurt. I was questioning beliefs that are at the very core of who I am and it terrified me.
I carried my questions and my doubt with me to Houston hoping that I wouldn’t be too glum to enjoy myself. I went to the classes and hung out with some truly awesome ladies but inside I was struggling. The turning point came on day two. I had spent the day taking my fire hooping safety training and the time for my virgin burn was fast approaching. The extraordinary Rowen TwoSisters sat us all down before hand and told us to write down what we desired in life and what we wanted to let go of. She said that fire has the power to help us send out spiritual smoke signals to whatever deity we believe in. I felt a bit silly doing it but I knew that I needed answers.
As I stood in front of all my Hotties with a freshly lit hoop, nervous to perform for the first time ever, I looked up to the sky and said, “God, are you really out there?” I took a deep breath and then started to dance. I cannot find the words to describe the joy and lightness I felt within that hoop. I felt released, peaceful, confident, capable, beautiful, loved, accepted and a little bit dizzy. In what felt like no time at all, my burn was over. I hung up my hoop and walked straight over to Rowan and bawled my eyes out on her shoulder. I had the glimmer of a new understanding in my heart.
Maybe God really is out there and I just forgot how to listen. Maybe my relationship with God doesn’t need to be the same as my parents relationship with God. Maybe I can let go of all the hurt and anger from my past and finally forgive. Maybe the most important thing for me to do right now is to drop all of my past assumptions and just listen.
Needless to say, I’m going back next year. I’m practically packed already. I cannot wait to go back and hug my Hotties and see what other revelations I can squeeze out of that magical place. It’s a bit of an expense but I consider it to be an investment in my soul. I’m toying with the idea of creating a GoFundMe profile when the time draws nearer to help offset the cost. I can hardly wait!
For now, I want to say thank you to Rowan, Blythe, Alejandra, the class instructors, the beautiful and talented kitchen staff and all my Hooping Hotties. I love you. Thank you for everything!