Loving Yourself And Your Pole Journey
If I’m going to be completely honest I can’t remember the last time I was in a pole class – and I’m not completely sure why I stopped going. The crazy thing is while I don’t go to pole class, I actually own a studio and I sneak in to pole dance (alone) all the time. So why did I stop going to class? I still love pole but I think that for me the journey became all about the class, about the work and not the dance.
The funny thing is, I’ve talked to my friends and I don’t seem to be the only one stuck in this place. Are we burnt out, too hard on ourselves or is it just the natural progression in our journey? I’m not sure, but I’m trying to figure it out.
I miss the journey and want to get back to the space where I enjoy it, but I think in order for that to happen I really need to figure out exactly why I turned away from pole in the first place.
We all started pole dancing for different reasons. Pole may have been an escape, a confidence builder, a workout that was more fun than work, a return to our childhood, a sensual exploration, a new emotional outlet. The reasons we started pole dancing are different for everyone. But what motivates us to continue to dance? While there are an infinite number of reasons, I think in the end the strongest reason is we dance because it makes us feel good.
I was a competitive gymnast when I was younger and I loved it. I’ve always been highly competitive by nature but the older I have gotten, the less I enjoy competition. That was one of the reasons I loved pole dancing in the beginning. I was just flying around, being unapologetic-ally sexy and dancing (oh and the shoes…yes the shoes). Pole was an escape where I could enjoy myself without having to be perfect, until it wasn’t and I started trying to chase perfection.
I vividly remember the day I was trying to do some move with a twisted grip and my shoulder flexibility was just not good enough. I wasn’t strong enough and it was not going to happen. It shouldn’t have been a big deal, but it was. Instead of enjoying all of the other amazing gifts pole dancing shared with me over the years – the friends, the movement, the strength, the experiences, I let that one brief moment in time sidetrack me and make me doubt myself. From there on out it was a quick downward spiral of judgement. Judging myself against others and against where and what I thought I should be as a pole dancer. That is most definitely not loving yourself.
I decided pole dancing wasn’t for me or I wasn’t for pole. I was too old for pole, too inflexible to pole, to large to pole, to tired to pole. I wasn’t into pole dancing anymore (pole dancing was so 2010), I don’t fit into that outfit, I don’t like the current style of pole dancing, she’s so much prettier, younger slimmer than me, “Oh, my, god. Becky, look at her butt. It is so big” mM god how did I end up back in Jr High School? But I was still sneaking into my studio to dance alone…why?
It was easier to hide than to just be me and accept myself for who I was. In the end it was easier to take myself out of an equation where I had to work through the emotions of loving myself. It was safer to not challenge myself and by challenge myself I don’t mean with tricky, spinny, upside down, flaming, spiral thingamabobs, I mean the challenge of not being able to do so something and still love myself, of not necessarily fitting into some warped picture of perfection I created and still love myself.
I need a new challenge. We all do. We need a challenge to love ourselves and our journey just the way we are. I’m challenging myself to get back to pole with the attitude I had when I first started dancing, when everything was sparkly and new and I was happy just doing a spin and rolling around on the floor. I’m challenging myself to stop being so hard on myself and to enjoy the ride. Challenge is good, challenge is growth. I always tell my students, “There is no failure in trying and not succeeding. Trying equals a win”. I need to start listening to myself. Let’s learn to accept ourselves, accept our bodies, accept our limitations, accept our accomplishments, learn to accept compliments, find and accept who we are, learn to love where we are in this moment. And hopefully through this acceptance we will end up where we are meant to be.
Love yourself and love your pole journey. I have plenty of years left to spin around and figure it all out.