This month marks a year for me training pole dancing. What a year it’s been. I can’t quite wrap my head around what I’ve learned, how my body has changed and how my view of myself has changed in ways I could never have anticipated when I first took the plunge.
To start off with I couldn’t do much of anything. I was flexible because I’d done yoga for years but the strength I had was mainly in my legs and it wasn’t serving me too well. Spinning didn’t come easy, climbing sure as hell didn’t. I was sore and covered in bruises but I was in love and a whole new obsession was born.
I entered my first competition on a whim after less than 3 months of training and was totally shocked to get a second place against girls that could invert and do all kinds of stuff that was way beyond my puny capabilities. On that first night of competing, I found a new thing I loved about pole – performing! It continues to be the thing I love to do the most. I’ve done set dances, freestyle, improvisation, doubles and group performances. In my most recent competition, I entered in a freestyle intermediate level heat and came first. The final is in 4 weeks and I can’t wait to get up and do it again. In terms of performing, I’ve undoubtedly learned so much in the time I’ve been training I can do things I never thought I could manage. The thing that still drives me is the artistry of it, the interpretation of the music and being able to make amazing shapes with my body.
This time last year inverting was a silly pipe dream; today (on a good day) I can do it up the pole. A shoulder mount was just unthinkable; I watched girls do it and couldn’t figure for the life of me how they could possibly do it. Now I do a semi decent one for my level and am working on strengthening and improving it in the hopes that one day it will translate to up the pole.
I suppose the thing that’s changed the most in the last year is how I view myself. I nearly cried the day my instructor told me I was going to have to wear shorts if I wanted to climb. Abandoning the safety of my super baggy jogging bottoms was not something I wanted to do. My legs are big, always have been, I have quads like a rugby player but I really wanted to climb that pole so I did it. The goals I’ve accomplished in pole have rarely come easy and every time I manage to nail a new move, it’s such a rush. Now I train in fairly tiny shorts and usually a crop top because as we all know, skin equals grip.
Considering where I started this time last year, I can’t wait to see what my body will be capable of in 12 months time……………watch this space!!!