Like most people the only hoops I had ever known were the super light $3 Wal-Mart hula hoops. The kind of hoop that I haven't been able to use since I was maybe 7 or 8. I had an awesome pink one back then with a white pin stripe. I absolutely loved it until it was ran over by my dads truck. Then I just moved on to something else that would interest an 8 year.
I didn't give hula hooping another thought until I was about 22 years old. I went to a multi-annual festival outside of Salem, MO called Schwagstock. I loved the music, the nature, the people, but most of all I loved the first hoopers I had ever seen. The first night I saw this woman, I still have no idea who she is, spinning a fire hoop. That got my attention. I always had an intense attraction to fire, there is even a story that goes around both sides of my family saying that I rarely talked until one day they burned the pasture and I went crazy talking about the fire. They say I never shut up since! Back to the woman and her beautiful fire hoop, I just was mesmerized. I sat out side of their circle watching them burn for most the night. I saw them do fire fans and fire poi, however nothing touched me the way the fire hoop did.
The next day I saw girls hooping with regular day hoops and they were beautiful. I loved how graceful some of them were. Even though I thought it was so cool, I never went and spoke with any of them. I never had the nerve to say "hi", or "How do you do that?". I should have asked, " How do I get started?", but I didn't. Why? Maybe because I was so insecure about my size. I am a bigger girl and have been for quite some time. If I didn't have a friend tell me, "I bet you could do that", I would have never tried it. I would have never had the nerve to try it when I felt so ashamed about my body. I mean these hoopers were beautiful thin and so graceful. I am short, chunky, and often clumsy.
Thanks to my friends encouragements I went home and looked up Hula Hooping online. I found Hooping.org. On there I found instructions on how to make my first hula hoop. I went to my mom told her what I wanted to do, and she said she would help. We rushed to Lowes where I bought all the supplies I needed and rushed home and made my first hula hoop. At the time there were not very many basic tutorials on Youtube, but I did find the generic "How to Hoop" videos from expertvillage. I watched them through about the 3rd video and then decided to go out side on the porch and give my beautiful new naked hoop a whirl!
I will never forget it had been raining that day. The porch was damp and I was barefoot in my capri pajama pants. My hoop had no tape on it and I couldn't even get the coupler all the way in, so there was a nice gap between the ends. I still was ready to give it a shot. I got into one of the two stances I learned from expertvillage, brought the hoop up and set it in motion. It went beautiful around me once, then twice, then boom it hit the ground. I remember feeling my hopes just drop. I was devastated, and it was only my first shot trying. I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to get my new hoop to spin, but I just couldn't. So, my lovely mis-shaped naked hoop went back inside for a few months.
It wasn't until that September that I tried to hoop again, and I have only one person to thank for talking me to pick up the hoop, Ziggy. I went to a DarkStar concert at Grinders - The Crossroads, a popular venue for live outdoor music in Kansas City. I was there with a good friend, and had a few drinks. Ziggy was there with a very pretty LED hoop and some basic day hoops. I was really excited to watch her hoop thinking " Could I ever really do that? ". Well, my wonderful very straight forward friend went up and started talking to her. I was nervous, but my friend would never have known that. Anyways, I ended up telling her how I had tried to hoop and how the hoop just fell, and that I even made my own hoop. She told me that I needed to keep trying and that the hoop will fall. Its a lot of hard work, but one day it will just click. She told me that I could lose weight with my hula hoop and that its worth it to try again. I think meeting her there was the best thing that has ever happened to me. I had given up completely until then. So, in a very unconnected way she is my "Hoop Mama" on the hooping family tree.
The next day I rushed home and pulled out my slightly out of shape naked hoop to try again. I stepped out on the porch and tried for hours and hours to no avail. I went back inside the house that night, not defeated, but just thinking about how effortless the hoopers I had seen made it look. I then thought about what there was that felt that effortless for me. The answer was very simple, Horses. I have been riding horses longer than I can remember. I grew up on a dude ranch, it was natural to me and still is. I remember thinking about how I never thought about how the horse was moving I just felt it. I pictured myself on a horse in a dead run across the pasture and remembering that feeling of ease and freedom. I thought this is how I am going to learn to hoop. I am going to picture it being effortless and free. I will pull on that feeling of natural ease when I am trying to hoop. I wasn't going to think of how the hoop was moving or where it was going to go, I decided I was just going to feel it.
I went outside early the next morning to give it a shot. At first it failed just like the day before, but then I cleared my mind and just used that feeling of ease I get when I ride, and boom my hoop stayed up. From that point on I would stand outside on that porch and hoop every morning before work, and then every evening when I got home. I learned tricks quick because I was out there everyday. The most helpful thing I picked up right away was learning to turn in my hoop. It was October before I really started hooping pretty well for a beginner. I was in love. I learned about taping hoops and making hoops. I learned everything from youtube. I had no one that I could ask, but I didn't feel I needed anyone. I was hooping for me and no one else. It wasn't until the coming spring did I ever attempt to make a hoop video, and try to connect with other hoopers online. I didn't have the nerve to do that until I had a failed attempt at a festival where two hoopers made fun about there needing to be a weight limit to hoop. They hadn't even seen me hoop yet, however after that remark I was too embarrassed to hoop at the main stage. It wasn't until that June at Wakarusa that I learned I could hoop infront of people and enjoy it. People liked me hooping just as much as one of the pretty girls and I felt comfortable and confident.
I have to be honest, I never lost a lot of weight with the hula hoop. I did in the beginning then it stopped. I also never went on a long lasting diet. I just hooped ate and drank what I always ate and drank. I do what to make a point though that the Hula Hoop made me healthy. I could walk up hills I would have been out of breath walking up before. I could sprint and it wouldn't kill me. I was able to go on nature hikes and it felt good to be able to move that easy. The most important thing hula hooping brought me though was confidence. I am still nervous around new hoopers due to my one bad encounter, however I am not afraid to talk to people. I am excited to tell everyone about hula hoops even to this day. I am more comfortable in my own skin. I feel good, I look good, and I love myself. I LOVE MYSELF, that is something I never had before I started hula hooping. What a wonderful gift the universe gave me when I saw that first hooper. It was what I needed. I would even say it could have saved my life, because I was a very unhappy depressed person. Now, I feel I am a happy one. Who would have thought a simple circle could do so much?