064. Naomi Honey and Melissa Way: Women’s experience, societal impact, and unsolicited advice

064. Naomi Honey and Melissa Way: Women’s experience, societal impact, and unsolicited advice

 
 
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Naomi Honey and Melissa Way discuss the importance of women’s experience in parkour, what that means, and how society impacts it. They delve into the unicorn syndrome, the polarization of genders, and how community leaders can help get more women involved. Naomi and Melissa tackle why women’s only events are important, how to create a welcoming environment, and their experiences with unsolicited advice. 

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Three words to describe your practice

Craig:
And of course, the final question, three words to describe your practice.

Georgia:
Struggle. Yes, struggle. Love. I know it sounds cheesy, but love not in the sense of just loving yourself, but also the love I’ve found in it, the people, the actual community of people I’ve met. There’s a lot of people that I’ve met that you just feel like, I’ve met so many people with so many connections, but I’ve made a family through it, I’ve had a partner through it, I’ve had some of my best friends through it. So love is definitely something I’ve found.


Then the third word, and this is more so to describe the sensation I feel when I let myself be, is flying. So when that sometimes comes up a lot when we’re training and stuff like that, or when someone will be talking about a movement or a jump I’m doing, and it’s like, I look back and you’re like, “Ah, I feel like I’m flying.” It’s not the sense of just because I’ve done a big jump or something like that, but when you feel that feeling of you are you, you’ve decided to do something, you’re going for it, and you’ve let yourself go in it, you feel like you’re flying.

Coaching

Georgia:
Coaching has been a journey on its own. Before I used to think coaching was quite simple, you get on with it. I’ve been around a lot of coaches, and I think, “Oh yeah, yeah, that’s good, you can do it.” And assistant coaching, you can easily just tap into things and add.

Craig:
Yeah, it’s a whole different-

Georgia:
That’s not the case! That is so not the case! With performing, it is very much about yourself in that sense. You may work with a team, and things like this, and especially in stunts, usually you have a stunt group, and it’s much more team based. But in a lot of performance jobs, it’s been about you. You do it, you get your job done, you know what you can do, you know your limits.

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Fear and Excitement

Georgia:
I think, trying to think of an experience, when I am scared of something, it really isn’t clear what’s in my head, or at least not now. It’s still very much something I’m still practicing a lot, and learning to talk to myself better. For me, when I’m met with fear, there’s always two voices in my head. One that’s trying to stop me, or trying to save me, in a way. And then the other one that knows better, that knows whether I’m really capable or not. I always find it hard to distinguish the two sometimes.

Georgia:
So coming from a place of still not very high confidence in myself, I second guess myself a lot. So I may go, “Ah, okay, I’m scared of this. I’m scared of this.” Some days I will know in myself, “Ah, I know I’m scared of this, but I can do this. I can manage this.” And I’ll think of experiences. Other days, I cannot remember another experience that’s the same. And that’s when those around me come in as well.

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Why can’t I play?

Georgia:
This actually … Well, I can remember a bit more since I recently found one of my diaries in my drawer. So a lot of my stuff is in my mom’s house, and I was going through, and I found this little crumpled diary in the back of my drawer, so I started reading it. And actually, it was the points before and when I found parkour, when I started doing it. So I guess I can use some of that to help.

Georgia:
First, a little bit of history about my family. I grew up, I was a daddy’s girl. I grew up around two older brothers, and they were both quite high performers in the sense of they were quite smart, they were very good in sports, and things like this. So as the youngest, I wanted to aspire to be better than them, or as strong as them, or anything like this.

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Acknowledge

Charlotte Miles:
Ooh. I’m still trying to find that one out. Yeah. So what you’re describing is actually a session that Naomi Honey does at WIPW. And yeah, you would never, ever, ever, ever say these things to somebody else that you’d be willing to say to yourself. So therefore I’m exploring let’s say, the inner child that has these very aggressive kind of words for one’s self, but also knowing that the coach can exist internally as well. And so I try and coach myself through those things. It’s still an ongoing process. But I think the first thing to do as well is just to acknowledge that that monologue or those words exist. Those feelings are okay. That I think a lot of the times we’re trying to push aside. There’s a lot of shoulds and there’s not a lot of acceptance. And what I try to do is acknowledge and accept who I am and where I am and what I am in the moment. So if I am feeling aggressive towards myself to know that those feelings are apart from me, they are not me. They’re a quality, a substance, that is put on top. And to be able to see those things and decide for myself whether I want to inhabit them.

Charlotte Miles:
Like items of clothing, do I really want to wear this right now? And I think a lot of people don’t feel capable of making that choice and they don’t have the language or the experience to be able to say that this is something that’s separate from me and yes it’s coming from me, but I don’t need to embody it. I can acknowledge the fact that I feel this way, rightly or wrongly. I might hate myself in this moment, but those are just feelings. And I might feel like I’m not enough. I might feel like I’m shit at something, I’m terrible, I’m a bad person, I’m a bad athlete, whatever it is. But these are just feelings about who I am and my performance and I don’t need to indulge in them. I can just allow them to be and then I can decide to move away from them.

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Three words to describe your practice

Craig:
It’s really scary. The question contains the word practice. I’m going to ask you a question about your practice. You can interpret practice to mean your entire life, your parkour, whatever you like. And you don’t have to tell me what that is. Just use the question to do whatever you want to do with it. The question is, I always say, and of course the final question is three words to describe your practice.

Charlotte Miles:
Three minute pause. It’s definitely going to … Heart, story, strength.

For one person

Charlotte Miles:
No. My knee jerk answer is hustle. I said this a million times over. I’m really not smart. I’m not well educated. I’m definitely not the most intelligent person in the room, but my god will I outwork anyone.

Craig:
Will Smith said, paraphrasing, something like you may have it on me in 19 categories, might be bigger, smarter, faster, but he said I’ll guarantee one thing. If we get on a treadmill together I’m getting off after you or I’m dying. And he was just like work, work, work, work, work. In the spirit of that.

Charlotte Miles:
Yeah. So I guess I’m trying to hone that in that I’m trying to learn when it’s time to work hard and when it’s time not to.

Craig:
I was going to say if I can venture to mention back to where we all started with this, that can be a vicious beast to feed. I have the same work ethic or the same … If I just work on this a little bit more. And I want to ask have you made any progress on how do you keep that dog reined in so that you don’t let your superpower wind up destroying the rest of your life?

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Purpose and Death

Charlotte Miles:
I think about that all the time. My notion of time is quite different to other people’s I would say. I’ve experienced a lot of departures from my life and kind of ones that have happened very abruptly. So as a result of that I try to … Not I try to. I just do have an underlying kind of notion that there is no tomorrow and so you must do everything that you need to in the moment. Make no presumptions about the fact that tomorrow will be or that there is another day, another day, another day. You just don’t know.

Craig:
At the risk of interrupting you, I noticed that you said, do everything that you need to do as opposed to everything that you can do. And I think that’s a very important distinction. And I don’t know how intentionally you’re choosing your words, but I think most people would say that they need to do everything that they can do today if they’re going to hold that mindset of uncertainty and I think that’s a very … Enlightened is not quite the word. But I think it’s a very wise observation on your part to say, I’m choosing to do the things that I need to do for me. And because you and I both know that means that you’re also able to do the work that helps others. But putting yourself first and taking care and doing those needs, I think that’s very important.

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Monsters and Dancing

Charlotte Miles:
Yeah, you just get to the heart of who you are very quickly within this training and you can avoid that in other training areas because you’re not having to embrace fear all the time. The second you get scared, you have to meet yourself. And you might not like what it is that you see and some of that voice that kicks off might uncover areas that you have been avoiding for awhile. And that certainly is the case for me with parkour. I managed to kind of coach myself out of that with strength and conditioning and moved away from crossfit because the redlining in that when I was-

Craig:
Feed the monster, right?

Charlotte Miles:
Yeah. It wasn’t good. But that being said, that’s why there’s something about parkour that is enabling me to deal with these things. And that’s why I can’t step away from it. I’m forever asking coaches, just throw me a bone here. Tell me that this is just not for me. Tell me I’m never going to be good at this. Please.

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If I joke I joke, if I laugh I laugh

Gogoly Yao:
Yeah, that’s it. So in the back flip, there are so many things that scare me, like going back. Why would I do that? That doesn’t make sense. So I have to trust the process. I have to trust that gravity is going to do its work and the momentum that I’m generating is going to do the work and that I’m going to land on my feet. I don’t like being upside down. I don’t like speed. I don’t like spinning, turning. So back flips is the worst for me, I would say. But then to train it, we’re not training it indoors with mat. We’re training it outside. So me and Georgia, so I have to give my trust to her to spot me. We’ve been doing more things before with the team and things like this, but that’s the last development of it. And, yeah. It’s happening slowly, but I find it really hard to go through this. Even if I know, it doesn’t mean that, “Oh, I know now it’s going to happen-” it just had been a habit I accumulated for all my life that I need to get rid of. And, yeah. That’s what training is, really.

Gogoly Yao:
So I learned front flip a lot easier because it’s going forwards and it’s me deciding to like,… It’s a lot safer to do a front flip than a back flip, but naturally- . So, yeah. So there’s a lot of things I’m working on. Yeah, so coming back from the back flip is the idea of control, as well. So while you’re in the air, you don’t have control. It’s just gravity doing its job or momentum doing its job. But I like to be in control because it’s always been me. So if I’m not in control, something bad will happen. Even if it’s not true, that’s the belief my upbringing gave me, so it’s in my body. It’s like, “Oh, if you’re not in control, something bad it going to happen,” even if it hasn’t been proved for awhile, it’s still happening because I believe it. So, yeah.

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