Hooplah | Katelyn & Briana
I’m a Barista at Starbucks right now but I was a dancer all my life…I was thrown into it when I was two years old. I always thought I would end up dancing when I was growing up but I slowly lost my love for it.
Ballet was my passion but it’s an art form that’s very demanding. Since I started so young and was doing it for so long I was usually paired with the older girls. The culture just changed and it was difficult to deal with. They were very catty and pretentious…it took away the free spirited nature I fell so in love with. It was structured in a way to strive for perfection, where everything had to be done a certain way or it was wrong, which caused a lot of anxiety in me. It’s something I still struggle with on a daily basis even outside of dance.
I went to school for a year before deciding to take a break. I was taking general studies but just had an overwhelming sense of not knowing what to do with my life. I know it’s ok to not have everything figured out but we all deal with anxiety in different ways. I guess I’ve just had a lot of moments in my life that leave me guessing.
A few years ago I came out of a long-term relationship that really messed with me. I thought we were going to get married. He was my best friend; my only friend even in some ways… and it just fizzled out. It left me feeling so uncertain about my future. I guess it’s just a theme that I didn’t feel comfortable with you know? I just wish I knew what living felt like without trauma. What it would be like to never have flashbacks, to never hesitate when people ask questions about my past, to feel a normal range of emotions, to be able to love without fear of abandonment, to feel safe.
I needed a change. I wanted to be able to be to get away from all my anxiety. I needed answers to questions that weren’t even asked yet. One day, that answer came in the form of hooping and it changed my life. It’s a different type of dance culture that revived the free spirit in me. In awoke that little girl inside of me that loved dance. Instead of trying to be perfect and looking exactly like an idea someone has in their head, hooping lets you create your vision the way you see it. It’s almost like meditation. The vibe is so liberating. I feel like I have grown with my hoop and it has helped make me a better person.
One day I hope to either be teaching other people how to hoop or to be a hoop performer because I feel like it’s taken over my life and I want to share its gifts. I feel like it’s an emotional release so many people can benefit from and relate to, especially those in the dance community who may have been forced into doing something they didn’t want to do. You have to protect what you love…hooping does that for me.
I work at Peapod, which is an online grocery store; we basically shop for older or disabled people who may not be able to shop for themselves physically. I also go to school studying to be a vet tech to help animals.
Growing up I always wanted to do something art related but then I decided to keep that as a hobby and not rely on that for work. One because of how hard it is to make money doing creative work, and two because sometimes when you are forced to do something you love – your views on it change and I didn’t want to lose my love of art. So with that I had to find something else that I loved – which was animals and thought it would be great to be able to help in any way I could so I kind of just went for it.
I’m not exactly sure how I got into art. I mean my family was always very artistic so it may have come to me naturally. I was always drawing as a child and even thought one day I would be able to draw out real cartoons. It’s hard pursuing these types of things because school doesn’t really set you up for it. They have things in mind for what real work actually means. I wish it were different. A lot of my creative friends feel the same way. It leads to a lot of anxiety. You should never have to feel like something you love will never get you money or be considered less important. I struggled with this for a while.
It wasn’t until recently where something came around to help me forget about all the anxiety. It was hooping. I came across this video on Instagram with this girl doing it and it looked so freeing and fun. I never put myself out there like that but I thought it was exactly what I needed. I wanted to express myself and just forget about all the uncertainty in life. I ended up buying a hoop and one year later it’s all I do. I fell in love with it.
The craziest part is I have zero background in dance. I’m literally the shy girl saved by hooping. I’m the shyest person in the world but once I have my hoop, I don’t care who’s watching or who’s judging me…all of it goes away. I’ve never felt so fearless about anything else in my life. It helps me let go of a lot of feelings that would usually cause me to sit and sulk. It was a way for me to feel better both physically and mentally.
I would love to make a career out of hoping if possible. It’s something I love to do and it makes so many people happy, it’s a form of entertainment. It’s also very empowering. It feels so satisfying seeing yourself improve over time. Some people go their whole life without people appreciating them the way they should be so its important to find something where you can love yourself and appreciate your hard work. If that doesn’t happen I would also love to be a tattoo artist one day. The idea of my art being on someone’s body their whole life is so exciting. I’m a very visual person and I would love to help create someone’s vision that’s meaningful to them. We all have our stories and choose to share them in different ways.