Week 7: Objects of Comparison

One of the more fascinating elements of aerial training is the degree and degrees by which different individuals progress. There seems to be fewer apparatuses better for gauging variability than aerial silks. It seems every student in my class can do something I cannot, and I, something they can’t. Our instinctive and intuitive tendencies for each new movement, it seems, plays a major role.

This brought to mind a greater theme.

During class I noticed just how often I compare myself to others. While resting, stretching, or waiting for an apparatus to open up, I will often observe my other classmates. I’ll see how beautifully they move, how they struggle but overcome. I will see all the things I can’t do. Failing, of course, to appreciate anything I am also capable of.

Many of them have been doing this far longer than I have been. So, again, I’ll ask myself:

What am I next to them? How do I compare?

It is only natural. But is it helpful? In a greater context, perhaps it is. It highlights what we cannot do so that we might attempt to remedy just that. Our inaccuracies. Our inabilities. Our failures. On the other hand, in the moment, this critical tendency has potential to be debilitating. I don’t necessarily feel empowered when I view myself in the world this way. I feel insecure, lesser, incapable. It highlights what I can’t do, rather than what I would like to do.

Where is that bridge from watching others and being inspired by them, rather than discouraged by our own inadequacies? I would like to change my intuitive mindset regarding this observation of others. I would like to go from:

“I am not what they are.”

into

“I would like to be more of what I should be.”

‘Should’ can take the place of any ideal. From here, us, the object beside our comparison, is no longer an object to scorn for its failure to size up. It is an object of potential. An object that could, rather than one which simply is not.