Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Life Lessons from the Incredible Chinese Circus

Two days ago Ananta and I went to the circus. It was called El Increible Circo Chino, Los Niños de Oro de Beijing. It was her first time to go to the circus as a child, and my first time to go as a Mom…it was fun overall, but it was also an unexpected learning experience…
A&a @ the circus
Considering it was called “The Incredible Chinese Circus,” it was a little bit strange to see a beautiful blonde girl dancing in the air (telas) as the first act of the night… it was amazing all the same. I've seen better performances for free in the park right in front of our home, but I am always awestruck at how graceful those ladies are, despite the amount of strength and force they have to exert to be held up high in the air in such elegant poses…still smiling, toes pointed (or flexed, depending on what they’re doing), every part of their body activated so they can get to the next mid-air asana, in such a fluid manner. 
I don’t think the first time I saw a performance like that was as a child, but I've always been enchanted by the graceful acrobats I've seen as an adult, thinking…I wanna be able to do that someday. Once or twice I got free lessons from ex-neighbors who studied Artes Cirquenses (Circus Arts) in a school run by one of the original members of the Cirque du Soleil, but for one reason or another, I didn't persevere.
I thought I did the whole shebang on circus night…I got us golden-side tickets, we ate cotton candy (another Ananta first) and a big bag of popcorn, got our picture taken, and nearly rode a pony (lil’A chickened out at the last minute though :) ). I didn't actually…because I was just regretting that I didn't buy the picture they took of Ananta & I.
I clearly remember when I double-thought it though. “Should I?
My brain immediately shouted “No! It’s too expensive,” while my Heart faintly whispered “Do it! Even if it’s not the perfect picture, it will be a beautiful memento.” Now I’m like “I love you…but you’re an idiot. You just missed out on having a printed photograph (versus a digital file, like all the other pictures we now have) of your virgin-visit to the circus as mother&daughter, while Ananta was eating blue cotton candy for the first time, all because it cost $50pesos ($5usd).
I know, boo me for being a cheap-o…and I thought I went all out. :S
Another thing I was regretting was hesitating on a free invitation to see the circus again.
By the end of it, as Ananta and I were the last ones to leave the sala, the announcer came up to us and asked if we enjoyed the show. I said yes, mentioning Ananta has been to a telas class once. I think I was really just deflecting my own amazement for that act. “O yeah?” He said, “Be my guest next time you want to come back”.
There again, was that moment of hesitation.
Paranoid/ego-centric-me was like “Holy shit, He’s flirting with you!” All I could do was smile shyly, say thank you, and try to leave right away. 
Ananta aero-dancin' it

OMG! Have I really forgotten to Go All Out & Flirt Around Life??? When I was in college I used to think being that carefree and flirting were the fun-est things ever! (after going to gigs and rockin’ out to live music) It was harmless if you wanted it to be, or it could get wild and crazy. It made me feel so alive, and there was this living-on-the-edge feeling that required you to always be confident in every step of the way.
I have an idea about why things have changed since then…but if there’s anything that I got out of kicking myself in the ass for a couple of minutes last night, it’s that you should never forget to Go All Out and Flirt Around Life…it will only go as far as you want it to. (If it’s only a free ticket to the circus, then it’s a free ticket to the circus...if it’s one telas class versus training for real and actually learning, then it’s just the one class and nothing more).

Dance around Life, baby…and you can’t go wrong.

ab ab ab
Yesterday Ananta was asking me about what I liked most about the circus (I said the acrobats), and when I asked her in return, she said the tigers.
There were 3 Sumatran tigers. They were magnificent, but it was a pretty sad act. The medium-sized one was the one that struck me the most; it was the only one that still had it's fangs. It didn't look it was very happy to be in the circus, so while it obeyed the ringmaster’s commands (although not always right away), it did so with a defiant look – mouth wide open, fangs very visible, and fierce feline eyes.
The largest, strangely, was also the most obedient one. That one definitely didn't have his fangs anymore - he opened his mouth a couple of times. Perhaps they took them out to tame him, which was heartbreaking…it was like he had re-signed himself to a life he didn't want to live because he had no fangs anymore. (Well duh, if they ever put him back in the wild, which I doubt, how will he find food without them?!)
I’m not so sure if the smallest one had fangs or not, it never opened its mouth...perhaps because it’s been in the circus since it was a cub so it doesn't really know what it’s like to be wild.

ab ab ab

Sometimes the greatest lessons you learn in life come to you when your heart breaks. I didn't cry a river on circus night, in fact, I had a lot of fun. But while it was amazing to see the tigers so close, it also broke my heart. Witnessing their act reminded me to always trust your instincts (never EVER let them take your fangs away).
One more thing...don't raise your cubs in a cage. I know it’s a jungle out there, but that’s where they should be to learn the ways of this wild, wild world…it’s the only way their tiger spirits shine through their eyes, even if they never get to know the jungle.


  1. Replies
    1. love u too! we must have an A.A+A&a date (auntie angela + andrea + ananta) soon. We can also include the original A (abuelita). <3