Well I had a little fun this afternoon and finished this image to post on Instagram. It was inspired by our (WordPress clan’s) very own Ross Murray’s post in which he talks about his “madman” plan to build a clone army based on rebel-gymnast-gone-viral Katelyn Ohashi (with Cirque du Soleil as alternative).
I hadn’t heard of Katelyn Ohashi before Ross’s post, because I live in a cave, filled with monkeys and words and not much in the way of regular TV or news, let alone *sports* news (what’s that?). Naturally, obsessive online reader and explorer that I am, I went down the rabbit hole to find out more about the proposed DNA source for Ross’s clone army that would save all humankind.
I was very inspired by Katelyn’s story. In short, she is a phenomenal gymnast who was training for the Olympics, finally reaching the “top of the world” after a national win. But she suffered from injuries and self-worth issues, in part due to overworking herself to please others, including fans who would sometimes say she wasn’t “good enough” or that she was overweight and “like a bird who couldn’t fly.”
The idea for the art in my Instagram post came to crystalized when I was scrolling though the 3228 images and videos with the hashtag #katelynohashi. This photo jumped out, near the very bottom of the long, long list, posted by @gymnastica_artistic. In it, it looked to me like Katelyn was a joyful love warrior in mid-leap and yell. This was the shot I was looking for. I pictured her flying, with wings like a falcon or an eagle or perhaps a great swan, and I wanted to bring some aspect of this vision to reality. I used Autodesk Sketchbook on iPad to white-out the background and add the wings. Before posting, I scrawled the words along the top and bottom.
Katelyn ironically grew her “real” (metaphorical) wings after she was told by a physician that she might never be able to compete again due to injuries. Although she was suffering and in pain, the social pressure suddenly lifted with this announcement, and after a period of recuperation and rehabilitation, she made the decision to pivot away from Olympic training, though her former-gymnast mother was disappointed at first.
She then connected with a new coach and mentor at UCLA, “Ms. Val” (Valorie Kondos Field) who ultimately helped her bloom, within a team full of fellow bloomers.
There, Katelyn says she found her inner voice, her inner joy, and using that, managed to pull off a “perfect 10” performance which has now gone viral (it truly is astounding, you’d swear there are springs in the floor) while radiating joy and strength all the way through. Her mother is very proud, according to her latest Instagram post. But Katelyn says her future will likely veer away from gymnastics.
Katelyn is also a poet, an artist, and an activist. She’s an inspiration to any of us who hopes to heal the world through healing themselves, and who aims to do it all through collaborative teamwork. I’d say she’s a bona fide “love warrior,” and her team and supporters provide a great example of what I call “bloom synergy” in action — helping water seeds of positivity to help others grow and thrive.
Katelyn narrates part of her story in the short film “I Was Broken” on The Players’ Tribune; and there is also this LA Times article detailing the start of her scholarship studies and mentorship at UCLA.
[Edit:] Just realized she has a blog here on WordPress!! Check it out: https://behindthemadnesssite.wordpress.com — incredibly brave and inspiring. Like I said, a true love warrior.
Very grateful to Ross Murray for further broadening my horizons in the sports arena! And to all of you readers who keep this blog alive! And to my husband T. who is cooking great meals on the weekend, fattening me and the monkeys up as usual. With gratitude, xo n ❤︎
- Love Warrior: a term I first heard from a favourite blogger-turned-author, Glennon Doyle. That is the title of her second book.
- Anyone digitally creative out there? Come muddle along, over at MUDDLE !
- EDIT: 2019-01-27 07:52 GMT+1 For the Insta-curious: Although my Instagram follower count hasn’t increased after this post (in fact, it went down by 3 or 4), I have NEVER had such a popular post on Instagram until now (currently at 177 likes after 14 hours and still rolling in). I’m still clueless about social media, though I try hard enough from time to time, but I guess making art that includes rebel gymnasts helps; for getting “likes” at least; that’s the only tip I have to offer that I haven’t already read somewhere. ;))