I’ve raided the archives again this week. This photo of me doing a headstand in the garden pretty much sums up my early childhood: outdoors, and upside down. Whether it was hanging in trees, rolling head over heels or walking on my hands I was never happier than when things were the wrong way up.
I remember one morning in primary school when someone bet me that I couldn’t stand on my head for the whole of break. Never one to turn down a challenge, I promptly kicked my heels towards the sky. Everyone else got bored after a few minutes but I was seriously proud of myself when the bell went. That, and a little bit dizzy.
It’s something that’s never really left me. I got very into trampolining in my teens, drawn by the prospect of somersaulting through the air. I learnt to fly forwards, backwards, tucked, piked and straight, twisting and landing on my back and front and feet. It was pretty awesome.
As I bounced into my twenties I still somersaulted whenever I could, but I’d hit a (virtual) ceiling. I couldn’t really learn new skills without proper training, and there was too much else going on for that. So I branched out, finding a circus school and working on my tumbling.
It all petered out a bit as teaching and later pregnancy and motherhood took over my time and energy, but I’ve still found ways to get my fix. Last summer I persuaded Leigh to take me and Arthur to circus camp : we spent a week in the rain in deepest darkest Cornwall juggling and tumbling and hanging from the trapeze.
And I’m back to trampolining too. I couldn’t believe my luck when we moved to Torbay and I found somewhere that was not only prepared to let adults loose on the trampolines but also timed it so the babies could do a gym session too. Arthur’s moved up to the toddler class now, but I still get to turn the world on its head every Friday.
There’s a metaphor in all of this. Something about seeing things from different perspectives, not accepting the common viewpoint, wanting to shake things up until they’re topsy turvey from time to time, just to see what happens. It’s liberating, for the body and for the mind.
U is for upside down.
Joining in with The Alphabet Photography Project over at PODcast.