For the last seven years, I’ve called myself an Aerialist. It was a defining part of my identity, the basis of part of my social circle, and something from which I received great joy, but at a great cost.

From an early age, I was “double-jointed” in my shoulders. The laxity in my shoulders had always been an interesting thing, worthy of showing off as a kid, but it was a huge liability when I started training aerial.

I was never the best aerialist. Never the strongest, Never the most graceful or flexible, but I took pride in what I had learned, what I could do, and the few performances I did.

I did my best to strength and protect my shoulders, but I have been prone to injury, soreness, and overuse-related issues for the entire time that I have been training. The last three years have been especially hard, and I’m greatly saddened by the conclusion that I’ve come to. For my health, and my quality of life, I must give up aerial entirely.

My latest recurrence of my neck and shoulder issues has proven to me that I can’t continue with it and maintain a quality of life that I find satisfactory, so I must close this chapter of my life. I must kill the desire, longing, and joy that I get from flowing through the air suspended by nothing by my strength and seemingly unsupportive piece of aerial equipment.

I will miss the spotlight. I will miss the feeling of freedom. I will miss the community that surrounds it, the mutual dedication to that crazy thing, the bonding that happens over rope burn and calloused hands.

Sadly, I can no longer be a part of that cabal. I can no longer call myself an aerialist, because I have chosen to permenantly ground myself.

A very wise woman told me that aerialist was not my identity, but only one expression of my passionate self, so now I move on to discover my next passion, my next expression of my identity.