How Handstands Pushed This Indoor Girl Into the Outdoors

“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and winds long to play with your hair.” –Kahlil Gibran

As a general rule, I don’t like doing anything outside. Seriously, most of my time in the outdoors is spent walking from my car to the store or the office, and back again, and maybe from my front door to the mailbox. That’s pretty much it. Not only do I have no real interest in the outdoors, I’m OK wearing the title “indoor” girl. I check the weather forecast regularly, but only to know what I should wear for those brief moments when I might actually find myself outside; not for planning outdoor activities.

I haven’t always been an indoor girl. I remember playing outside as a kid and relishing the summer months when it was officially warm enough to stay outside for hours and permissible  to run around barefoot. But for some reason, that love of the outdoors didn’t stay with me as a grownup. I now have the philosophy that it doesn’t make sense to be outside where it might be windy/chilly/balmy/muggy/rainy/buggy/or too sunny, when I can be inside a climate controlled room and not be bothered by the aforementioned things.

“Don’t you ever go outside to read or just sit on the patio and enjoy the nice weather?” asked my friend Laurel (who enjoys the outdoors). Why would I go outside to read when I can sit on my nice comfortable couch and not have to worry about the wind blowing my pages? Indoors, I don’t have to apply sunscreen, and I don’t need to wear my sunglasses, or swat at pesky insects flying around my book. Nope. Can’t think of a reason to read outside — unless it’s by the beach.

But then I started handstanding, and some of the best photo ops for handstands are, well, outside. Spectacular scenery? Outside. Statues and sculptures? Mostly outside. Meaningful murals? Outside. The really great photos of handstands are — for the most part — taken outside. And now I have begrudgingly acknowledged that if I want to handstand in front of eye-catching backgrounds — and not just my new colorful wallpaper — I, too, need to go outside.

There’s not a rule that handstand photos need to be taken in the great outdoors, but I personally enjoy looking at them, and it’s long been a goal of mine to have my own fun handstanding photos with interesting things going on behind me. I mean, how many times can you take pictures of a handstand in the bedroom and feel excited about it? With that in mind, I’ve started my own list of “places for photographing handstands”: landmarks in our downtown area, “the Bean” in Chicago (something I’m doing in September), the Eiffel Tower (something I’m doing next year), and yes, they’re all outside.

Keep in mind that it’s taken me a long time to feel confident enough in my handstand abilities to kick up on concrete without the constant fear of falling and hurting myself, and to do it in front of other people who might might be strolling by — again without the constant fear of falling and hurting myself. That in itself is a pretty big deal, and worthy of photographing my success. It my not be as interesting to others, but I’m proud of my accomplishment, and feel compelled to choke other people with it.

So now I’m paying attention to the forecast to actually do something outdoors — rather than avoiding doing anything outside the house — and to help plan the best days for taking my handstanding show on the road. You still won’t find me eating outdoors, sitting on the patio for ha-ha’s, or taking long walks simply because it’s a beautiful day, but I’m pretty excited about capturing my upcoming hand balancing moments on camera — even if I do have to go outside to get them.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share with others if you like what I wrote.

Outdoor handstand photos really are fun!

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