Melissa Learns to Fly

We've been so thrilled to learn more about you, our community, and getting to actually see you through the pictures and videos that you've sent us.  In this blog, we'd like to highlight one of our customers, Melissa Heebink.  Melissa's story is about what happened when she seized a chance to elevate herself physically and emotionally, and took up Trapeze!  She chose to try something new and change what was once a fear, into physical and personal strength.  MANMAKER SPORTS got an opportunity to ask Melissa about her experience with trapeze and the following is what she shared with us.

MMS:  What made you want to try trapeze?  
MH: It was a surprise I was participating in a personal development course. Everyday we had an experiential event that provided some kind of life lesson. It was coincidentally my 40th Birthday.  

MMS:  How long have you been practicing trapeze? 
MH:  It took a while to finally practice trapeze it was 6 year later that I tried it again. I would say with total classes consistently a little over a year. Because of my age I had to deal with some injuries early on.

MMS: What have you learned through your practice?  Physically it has inspired me to really take on my health and fitness, I now also run, bike, weight train. And eat really well. This supports my passion. By practicing I have grown on all levels physically, spiritually and mentally. I remember a very specific break through early on. I was learning a one handed take off which is a very basic skill in trapeze. However, I was terrified to do it. To give some background, about 4 years prior I went through a really tough financial crisis, and it really scared me to the core. I became very carefully and constrained in my life as a result. I had not realized I was also holding this in my body, spirit and mind. And it showed up on the trapeze pedestal. When I finally did it for the first time I remember feeling so empowered and exhilarated. A few days later it came to me that I could give myself permission to take risks again and I could trust myself regardless of how things turned out. I continue to have these breakthroughs in the practice of trapeze. I have become much more bold, confident, inspired as a person. I could say so much more. I recommend the book “Learning to Fly” by Sam Keen. He started practicing when he was 60 and he wove all the lesson in his life he learned into a beautiful book. I was in class today with a woman who is 70 who is just learning to Fly.

MMS:  I imagine trapeze takes a LOT of trust, in yourself and in others.  Can you explain what role trust plays in your practice? 
MH:  Yes, it requires a great deal of trust. My life is literally in many hands it is a team art. I need to listen to my catcher, I need to listen to my teacher on the ground and trust his direction and calls. I need to trust myself and stay out of my head and trust the trick once I have learned it. I have had a tough time trusting others in my life. I get to see it at play when I am at class. Whenever I take over and not listen to my teacher I usually miss the catch or put myself in possible danger. Then I reflect and see I took over and did not trust the calls and to trust the calls. The teacher, catcher and the board worker really want me to win and succeed. I am learning to trust.

MMS:  What is your end goal?  Or is the journey the thrill? 
MH:  I guess my goal is to be able to fly as long as I can into my 60’s, 70’s and hopefully way beyond. I would say it is more about the journey for me. Every time I learn or achieve a new thing in my practice I am so delighted and happy. Today someone in class commented on my body and weight. I get comments that I now have muscles and I am becoming physically strong. Also, mentally and spiritually too. I recently left my job, and I trust myself and my process. I am looking at jobs in other cities and willing to take the risk to seek new places and new friends. I am so much more at home in the un-known

MMS:  Has practicing trapeze helped you in any other areas of your life?
MH:  YES BIG TIME

MMS:  What have you learned about yourself?   
MH:  I am strong, I am smart, I can do anything, I am proud of who I am becoming, I am pretty bad-ass if I say so myself. And I have SO MUCH TO LEARN the learning is never done. Humility is key to flying and to life… always to remain teachable.

MMS:  To someone who has never attempted anything like trapeze, it seems quite "out of bounds" as far as physically and emotionally!  Is it like that for you, or how have you come to think of it? 
MH:  I think everyone should try it once. I get really excited when I see someone come to class for the first time. I love to see them overcome their fears and at the end of class watch them shine with a sense of accomplishment. Most places are great with people new to trapeze. The community I have found here over all are filled with amazing, fun and supportive people. I love the tribe I have found in the trapeze world. In the beginning I  would get really scared before class. Questioning my sanity every time I climbed the ladder up to the board. I am surprised how comfortable I have become when I am on the board, however it had been and continues to be a process of continually stepping beyond my comfort zone… and expanding that zone. Yesterday, I went to a class out at the beach and the class had two young girls and two woman in their mid 20’s. They were there for the first time it was such a joyous thing to see. At the end of class the catcher caught my layout. And I could feel in the air that I just performed a beautiful trick. When I came down from the net, I was humbled by what has been accomplished in a short time. The comments from the new comers and their parents amazed at what they had just seen. Thinking I was a pro — me knowing I am so so not near that I am still feel very much like a beginner. But I felt the accomplishment of a lot of hard work to make something look beautiful and easy. Humbling. I was filled with gratitude.

MMS:  And now for the MANMAKER SPORTS  part of it... :)  Why do you wear your Smokin' Hot Hybrid Tights from MMS? 
MH:  Funny I normally wear black and or plain colors not too risky. I first wore my tights at trapeze camp. And with my new found confidence and personal expression. I love the colors, personality, I feel alive and fun in them. Playful, which is part of trapeze. I love them! I love the bright and fun colors.

MMS: How do you FEEL when you are wearing your tights from MMS?  Fun, creative, playful, bad ass, they express my personality. 

Amazing!!  So much fun!  Thank you, Melissa for sharing your journey with us here. Check out Melissa's video to see her fly, baby, fly!  
MANMAKER SPORTS:  BECOME YOUR BEST