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  • Writer's pictureAltitude Aerials

Melanie's Journey - Rising to challenges and feeling empowered with aerial silks

This blog was written by one of our members, Melanie, about her journey with aerial silks 💙

Growing up, I was a book-smart, gangly, lanky, socially awkward girl at school. I’ve never been ashamed of it, but I’d be the first to admit that no one ever looked at me and had “athletic” come to mind. I had heard stories about aerials and thought it sounded so awesome, but not something I could do. Me? Dangling from silks? Upside down? I couldn’t even touch my toes.

Fast forward to early 2021, fresh off the plane in Christchurch alone, I made a promise to myself that this was the year that I put myself out there. My cousin does pole and aerials and told me about Altitude. My brain went, “You wanted out there? DO IT.” So, before I chickened out, I booked a consultation and did it. One of my best life decisions ever.

I started off with pole, but soon branched out to silks as well. At first, it was hard. I was every bit as uncoordinated and awkward and uncomfortable as I thought I would be. I felt like some giant praying mantis clinging onto the silks for dear life. It was the patience and encouragement of all the amazing instructors that got me through the first few months.

As the strength and muscle memory built, the confidence did too, and that’s when I really started to love silks. After countless hours of sweat and silk burn, fighting for every squeezey inch of progress, it’s such an empowering feeling to finally conquer a move that felt impossible at the start.

Two and bit years on, challenges remain, as there’s always more to learn. I can touch my toes now, but splits of any kind remain my mortal nemesis and my dislike of heights often stops me from doing drops. But aerials have changed my life for the better in many ways – I’m the strongest I’ve ever been; I’m more confident about my body; and the always welcoming, positive and encouraging environment at Altitude has helped me become more comfortable around people as well.

For the first time in my entire life, I feel athletic, and it’s not so much that I think I’m athletic for real, but the knowledge that I was able to grow into and become this more confident, semi-graceful version of myself that teenage Melanie couldn’t have imagined.

My advice to anyone starting out at Altitude: don’t worry about IF you’ll ever be good at aerials or crack a move. Just keep showing up, point your toes, breathe, celebrate the wins no matter how small, remember there’s a crash mat underneath you, and you WILL achieve things you never thought possible of yourself. Oh, and don’t forget to drill your B side!

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