Fear has come up a lot in the research I have done around aerial. Fear of losing strength, fear of not being good enough, fear of body shape changing, fear of doing something embarrassing, ect. Funnily enough not so much fear of hanging upside-down metres in the air.
I was a very fearful and anxious kid. I worried a lot about what people might think of me, what I looked like and what I did but at the same time I was a complete dare devil and would climb any tree, wall, rock. My fear has always been about external judgement so pursuing a career in performance was an interesting choice.
Performing is very vulnerable. You are putting yourself in front of an audience and expressing yourself or something to some capacity and you can feel very exposed. Therefore, it is understandable that you might feel fearful of judgement. However, if fear is getting in the way of what we want to create or work on then that’s when it holds us back.
Fear is a very real emotion so it’s not like we can switch it off. For example, exposure therapy presents a person with what they fear, in a safe environment, repeatedly, which can then reduce the fear over time.
This is why I think safe environment and exposure are key. Sometimes aerial studios/ centres are physically safe but not safe spaces for vulnerability and creativity. Being in an unsupportive and toxic environment can drastically effect progress.
Exposure. Surrounding ourselves with people and feeds promoting that losing strength is a disaster is not going to help us with a fear of losing strength for example. If we seek out supportive, non-judgemental people who promote self-care we are probably going to feel less fear around these things or feel more comfortable questioning them.
The 4 fears mentioned above were ones that I have personally struggled with a lot. But like learning to love spiders, Ive learnt that losing strength is ok, body change is ok, doing something embarrassing is ok and what even is ‘good enough’? Reducing these fears has been so liberating.
What are your aerial related fears and how do you manage them?
Wishing you a less fearful life!