This is from Aaron on Hoopcity. His words touched my heart and I read them on my favorite holiday: Halloween. I had one trick-or-treater, my cute 3 yo neighbor… I’m updating all the events that have been emailed to me, it takes 10 minutes–egads… and I’m listening to Pandora’s Mumford & Sons radio station. Read this and weep like I do, or hug your loved ones and be happy you hoop, because it crosses borders, for there is no border. We hoop because we need to be open and yet surround ourselves with love, joy and peace.
Aaron Smith started the discussion “My Flow Through Life and the Hoop” in the group Hooping Challenges on Hoop City – Hooping Community – a space for hoopers.
———— “I hope it’s not too late to post our story, but I put a lot of thought into whether or not I wanted to write about my story or not. Today is Halloween, a time where people learn to face their fears, and well…I need to learn to live me life without so much fear. Over the past year I’ve realized just how much hooping and flow has gotten rid of some of those fears…This is my story.
Today, I am a senior in high school. It’s supposed to be the best days of our lives filled with many memories. However, I look at it as a final count down. Why you might ask? Well to begin, my transition from 8th grad to 9th grade was quite interesting. I didn’t play football or any sports honestly. I went to school and came home, not many activities at all. I had a hard time fitting in with the guys so I tried to surround myself with things that made me for masculine. So I got into heavy metal joined a band just to try to cover up those feelings of not being one of the guys…little did I know that there was more to it than that.
Sophomore year came and all my friends had dates to homecoming and were boyfriend and girlfriend. I realized that was not for me. I soon realized that the norms that were taught to me as a child were not going to be lived out by me. I realized during those years that I am gay. For that whole time I tried to make myself “more masculine” by hiding behind things that made people afraid of me because I came off as the tough guy. Later during that year I had my first relationship. It was wonderful, I finally had someone who I could relate with and someone to talk to. My parents are very religious and conservative people.
Abut 3 months into that relationship my mom confronted me. Having no idea about my sexuality asked me “Why did I hear John call you babe?”. She didn’t expect anything bad from it, she thought there was no way her baby boy could be gay. But she was wrong, I told her the truth and sometimes I wonder what things would be like if I didn’t. She was completely silent the rest of the day, not a word. At the end of the day she told me “You have until the weekend to tell your father, or I will do it for you.” That didn’t happen, she told him without me knowing. That entire month she told me things I can’t erase. She said I was going to hell, and that I didn’t deserve to be a father. She even said that there had to be something hormonally wrong with me so she was going to have me get blood work done, instead she sent me to a counselor. I went to my therapy sessions and she told me there was nothing wrong with me and after three sessions she told me I never had to come back. After that my mom forced me to drop the relationship. Ever since that day, an entire 20 months my mom hasn’t brought up the word gay. She acts as though nothing happened. Everytime there is a school dance or prom she asks what girl I am going with and asks me if she is pretty. It breaks my heart. And sometime I have to think whether I am going to have to live my life without my family.
Since, then I decided that it was impossible for me to date until after high school. I realized that it was going to be a long hard road but I wouldn’t allow myself to fall into pity. My junior year was coming up and I had an entire summer ahead of me. So I decided I would learn sometime and become the most interesting person in the world, so that one day I could go on a first date with someone and name a list of things that would make a man fall in love with me.
So one day I was watching a video of my favorite band’s live performance. This band is called Blood on the Dance Floor, and one of the lead singers, Jayy Von Monroe, got this LED hula hoop out and he just rocked it! I loved it, and knowing that Jayy was also a gay man made him an inspiration to me. So I told myself “If he can do it, I can do it. If a little 5 year old girl can hula hoop, so can I.” And I have been addicted ever since.
Through hooping I had opened up. I was no longer the “scary death metal kid”. I had nothing to hide behind; I finally had something I could be proud of. Today, I am playing with fire and planning on traveling the US performing at shows and festivals. If I would have looked back 20 months ago and knew that this would happen I would say shut up! Today, I am proud of myself. Even though my parents my not like that I am a gay man, I know that my friends love me and that someone will love me for who I am and for what I do. I have become such a better person. I am involved with the community teaching others how to hoop. And I love the people I have met. They are the most loving and open group of people I have been around. Although they don’t know I am gay I know that I can be comfortable around them and not have to hide.
This year is a year of goodbyes and to go out with a bang. I will face my fears and make life changing decisions. My senior year will a life changing moment. Without hooping I wouldn’t be the confident young man that I am. And I know that things will change. Hooping has proved that to me…things do change, things do get better. That is what hooping has done for me.”