In the previous post I wrote how Carlos trains eight hours a day, seven days a week, to create and maintain the perfect body…‘Because He Can’. Others might call it ‘Obsessive Compulsive Training Disorder’! But it is what he wants to do, simple as that.
Some people might see our own training regime as obsessive too. But, in our line of business – acrobatic and endurance performances, teaching gymnastics, etc. – we need to keep up an intense training program too. I would say we don’t have a choice, since we have to maintain strength, flexibility and balance, otherwise we would just ‘lose it’. So we, too, do it ‘because we can’, although we do it because it is our chosen ‘profession’ as well. Because we love to do it.
We never miss an opportunity to train:
I started writing when I was in the hospital emergency room in Edinburgh, waiting desperately for news of one of our best mates after the most peculiar performance of our lives. Then, subsequently, I quickly realised that I had developed ‘Obsessive Compulsive Writing Disorder’, scribbling about our gayness, falling in love with the perfect guy, our acrobatic work, and our adventures, until it approached half a million words and had to be turned into two books. And then, after that and ‘Because I Could’, I went the whole hog and wrote another (mercifully shorter) one to finish off the tale. That’s ‘finish’ as in ‘tieing up all the loose ends’ – life didn’t suddenly stop, of course…
So, is it always ‘OK’ to do things simply because you can?
Dave and I, and all our acro and gym mates, have a tendency to train naked when in private or at Chad’s rather special private gym. We would certainly want nothing more than brief shorts anyway since we like to see our muscles at work. Hard bodies are there to be admired, not only by our audiences but, in our largely gay circles, by one another! And we get seriously hot and sweaty doing what we do anyway, so unnecessary clothing is avoided. Our ‘girls’ (Karen and Clare, lesbian ‘mums’ of our wonderful son (me) and daughter (Dave)) have always been the same, especially as their ‘trade’ initially was body burning and stuff with fire. Letting members of their audience stub out cigarettes on their bodies, for example. Now we all do endurance stuff as well – glass walking barefoot, naked on a bed of swords, that sort of thing. So we spend a hell of a lot of time shirtless or near-naked, ‘because we can’. And because demonstrating bed of nails whilst wearing a hoody top or something would rather defeat the point. Pun intended.
Son Leo does it too. Having grown up watching us all train au naturel, his nearly-11yo mindset is to shuck his shirt whenever possible and go barefoot too. This does tend to get him into trouble from time to time – once, bigtime with a friend’s father who is homophobic anyway and assumes (wrongly) that Leo must be gay because his parents are and that shirtlessness is a sign of it. Arrgh! And as he is a performer too – same acrobatics etc – doing everything he can semi-naked is ‘normal’ for him too.
But it encourages his mates to do the same, and that bothered us. Leo’s best friends Chris and Billy working out in our training cabin (they have a carefully managed weights program suitable for their age) without any trace of clothing on any of them. Seriously concerned, rushed to see their father to make sure… but he was ‘kewl’, knows that his kids are safe with us, respects our sexuality and knows we can be trusted to behave ourselves when the young un’s are around. He even comes over and joins in sometimes: he’s a fit guy too, but not usually to the extent of working out with no shorts on. But it has been known…
Leo is very responsible for his age when it comes to his training obligations, and about training safely. He understands that he cannot encourage friends to try precarious balances and stuff, and they understand that he can do his clever stuff only because of the huge effort he has – and we have – put into his training. Because he can.
So, we all do what we do because we love it, and ‘because we can’. Never pass up an opportunity to do a bit of training… and have fun!