(Originally published in The Chronicle on Oct. 21 2014 and online at http://chronicle.durhamcollege.ca/?p=2095 )
Bridgette Hall has become a bit of a celebrity on campus this year.
With her bright coloured clothing, daring and flowing dance moves with a hula-hoop encircling her, Hall can be seen between the trees and picnic tables in front of the Gordon Willey building. Headphones in and her hula-hoop on her arm moving to the music. She doesn’t care who sees. The hula-hoop flips and spins effortlessly around her.
“I like to dance cause, I like to dance. Like in front of the mirror you know, it’s kind of my thing,” said Hall.
Her movements are mesmerizing.
“It’s like when you watch an odd machine, that’s balanced as a sculpture, moves, but is a bit weird and not obvious in how it functions so you’re compelled to check it out,” said onlooker Joshua Taylor a Durham College student. “She’s doing her thing, I don’t understand how hula-hooping works – since I can’t ‘hoop’ – and she’s obviously aesthetically pleasing.”
When asked why she hula-hoops, she smiles and asks, “Why not?”
The way Hall moves it may seem she’s been doing it her whole life but she only started this year.
“When I was younger I used to go to festivals and see girls hula-hooping all the time but I never could afford one so now that I could finally afford one I was like I’m going to buy one and hoop my life away,” said Hall.
She is always smiling so it’s hard to imagine she could ever be negative. But, a year ago she wasn’t herself. A bad relationship took away Halls’ positivity.
“He was very negative so he drained all my happy energy,” she said.
Her friends noticed she was getting depressed and wasn’t her happy self. Eventually she started to see what was going on.
“Throughout the year my friends and family would just notice that I was getting more negative and depressed as I went and they missed the old me,” said Hall. “I put two-and-two together and finally I realized that I was so much happier without him.”
Once he was gone she started to become her old self again with the help of her hula-hoop.
“It’s very therapeutic actually, it just takes your mind off of a lot of things cause you’re not focused on anything. You’re just kind of focused on the way the hoop moves with you, it’s really cool,” she said while making wave motions with her hands to enact a hula–hoop.
Hall encourages others to do what they love no matter what it is.
“Stop caring what other people think, if something makes you happy then why would it matter if someone else doesn’t like it,” said Hall. “As long as you’re happy, your positivity spreads and then other people gain your positivity and then they spread that positivity. It’s kind of like a chain reaction of awesomeness and positivity.”
Her upbeat and happy attitude isn’t just a show. Her friends can attest to that.
“Bridgette always had that stand-out vibe about her. She was always so carefree,” said Dalton O’Brien who has known Hall since they were in Grade 10.
Hall isn’t just the “hula-hoop girl.” She writes and makes clothes and jewelry, adding her own touches or even making them from scratch.
“You should see my closet, oh my gosh, it’s a rainbow. A rainbow of fluffy and sparkly and every colour you could possibly imagine,” said Hall while fiddling with her sequinned scarf.
From sunglasses to skirts, shirts and costumes, nothing is safe with her.
“ A world without creativity is boring and lifeless and you can’t appreciate a world without creativity,” said Hall.
But, not everyone appreciates her uniqueness. On the Facebook group called “Spotted at UOIT/Durham College” there have been posts about Hall from all sides of the spectrum.
One said, “ To the hula-hoop girl, I love you and I really want to take acid with you for ten days straight up in the mountains.”
Another post defended her against negative people by saying: “To the girl that [was] waiting at the 915 bus stop and was recording Bridgette (I think that’s what her name is) and calling her “crazy” and laughing at her, you need to grow the f— up and learn some god damn manners. … Keep on keeping on Bridgette! Watching you makes time go by a lot faster when I’m waiting for the bus!”
The negativity and bullying doesn’t faze her at all.