Finding My Balance

The exhilarating feeling of flipping and twisting through the air, so many feet above the ground, is something I have been familiar with for almost my entire life. My friends, family, and acquaintances have come to identify me as a gymnast, or the girl who does all the flips and stuff. I am often asked: Do you ever get sick of it? Is it ever too hard to do? Doesn’t it hurt really badly? The answer is yes, to all of the above. However, what I know is this: Yes, I am Caroline Ellingboe, who happens to be a gymnast. Gymnastics has been the biggest constant in my life from the age of 3 to the age of 21, allowing me to develop 18 core characteristics that are an integral part of my identity.

The passion that I have for this sport is so great, it has directly influenced characteristics that compose my identity – who I am as a person, inside and outside of the gym. Adventurous; Passionate; Obsessive; Creative; Ambitious; Organized; Persistent; Determined; Persevering; Communicating; Motivated; Versatile; Driven; Leader; Focused; Optimistic; Detailed; Balanced. These characteristics are depicted through geometric and organic icons, all uniquely different from one another. Each icon grows in complexity as the timeline of my gymnastics career goes on, and they have become the foundation of who I am.

As my identity has grown over the years, so have the characteristics that belong to it – all becoming more defined as time goes on. These are the 18 core components of who I am; these characteristics I have acquired through gymnastics will remain long after my gymnastics career ends this April, 2016. Though I will not always be able to do the sport, I will take the components of my identity that gymnastics has contributed through the rest of my life. Through this project, I am reflecting on the past 18 years of my life as a gymnast to find my balance on the road ahead. These characteristics will continue to grow and shape my future path, as I continue to metaphorically flip, twist, leap and jump across the 4-inch beam into what lies beyond. This is me, finding my balance.