I, like almost every child, has picked up a hula hoop at one time or another in their lifetime. However, most of us put it down when we come of age; along with our dolls and other toys never to be thought of again. Fast forward from my childhood to my 28th year of life, where I found myself grappling with severe depression I was experiencing because of the loss of a job and an avalanche of other personal troubles in the same week. Needless to say the wind had been completely knocked out of my proverbial sails!
For the first time I found myself grappling with something I had never experienced, and was not sure of the right way to help myself heal (I have never been a fan of western medicine). After about two months of moping around the house, I decided to attend the “Shade a Day Party” event at Woodley Park in the San Fernando Valley; to celebrate the summer solstice with some friends and try to cheer myself up a bit. While I was at the park, I ran into a friend of mine named Corina. She along with some of my friends had recently gotten into the Burning Man scene, and developed a passion for hooping and flow arts in general. When I saw her that day, she had a bunch of hula hoops in tow. I had seen girls hooping at outdoor events many times before, but never thought I could or should do that
To me they looked like modern day fairies disguised as hippies or Burners, and I considered myself a solo dancer; a slave to the groove as it were. However the moment I saw Corina, she thrusts a hoop in my hand and says, “Here, you look like you need one of these today”. To which I reply “I haven’t used one of these since I was like 8 or 9 years old”. She looks at me smiles and says “You will today”. While out there hooping something happened. I felt something I hadn’t felt in I couldn’t remember when, it was as if it was a completely new sensation in itself; yet I knew I had felt it before. It was that beautiful carefree feeling of my childhood, and at that moment all the pressing issues of my life melted away. Like snow on the first warm day of spring, and in that moment I knew that not only was hooping for me, but it would be something I would be doing for the rest of my life. They next day I bought 2 Toys R Us hoops, and went straight back to the park by my house. I found myself spending 3-4 hours at a time playing, and as the months passed on not only did I completely come back from the depression, my body changed in ways I never dreamed possible. Through hooping, I have gained a sense of self that I never knew possible.
I rediscovered myself and my body, became more fit than I have ever been, and the depression is no more!! I have also been blessed with the opportunity to parlay my passion; into being able to work for myself teaching others the joy and benefits of the hula hoop, via our non-profit association Hoop de Mars. Allowing me to not only invest my time into building something positive for me and my family; but also giving me the opportunity to give back to my the community in which I live,“Sharing with people the joy I found in a simple piece of plastic shaped in the form of a circle”.