As many of you know, I had a year long pause in my pole journey last year while I had my first baby. A year is a long time and you lose much of your progress. In addition to losing pole progress, due to my complications of pregnancy I was put on bedrest which caused me to lose 7 years of fitness progress. I was very scared to come back to the studio as I knew I would have to relearn the 9 months of pole I had learned pre-baby. At the time, I was up for the challenge. I figured, since I remembered the basics and how to do most of the moves, it was just a matter of getting my body back in shape enough to actually do them. Life is never as simple as we imagine.
Lately I’ve really been struggling with feelings of boredom, frustration and discouragement in class. To date, I’ve taken Beginner twice and Intermediate seven times. Let me tell you, I understand the moves I’ve been taught – I may not be good at them but I could probably teach a brand new Intermediate how to do most of the moves by now. It’s so discouraging to show up at class week after week to learn the same moves but not be able to do them because of lack of strength. I know that there are several reasons for my lack of strength. One is because of bedrest I gained 60 pounds during my pregnancy. Thankfully, I have now lost 34 of those pounds making many moves easier. I was also breastfeeding until the end of February which complicated many moves. Due to the time commitment of a baby, I am also not able to get to the studio for 6 classes a week like I used to so it has taken longer to get my strength back. All of these reasons make sense and comfort me as I sit on my couch, but when I get to class Monday nights and see first time Intermediates nailing moves on their first shot that I’ve been working on for months, that’s when the voices of self-doubt and despair start shouting. I keep a smile on my face and cheer for them, I’m even genuinely happy that they are so strong and don’t share my struggles. The drive home is not as cheery. I do strength training at home during nap time, I practice on my pole, I eat healthy and Charis and I go for walks together but I’m still not ready for Advanced.
This discouragement and disappointment brings us to last Sunday. My dance partner and I have been finishing up our choreography for the Student Showcase and I was really hoping to have something new by April. I wanted some new moves I haven’t performed before. Something to make me proud of my progress. I got myself to a practice and worked on some conditioning. As I did, I watched the Advanced and Extreme girls to see if there were any moves I saw them do that I could safely imitate or at least try a simpler variation. As I played with shapes my confidence got a small boost. I have no idea what two of the spins I discovered are but I looked pretty in the mirror and had the strength to try them safely. The girls were all also extremely encouraging and one even sat with me for a few minutes and looked at her Intermediate card with me. She talked me through a few moves she thought I’d be good at and should try.
As practice was coming to an end I asked the instructor if she could teach me something new. Something easy but more that what I learned. I told her the grips that I’m best at and some of my favorite moves. She worked with me for about 5 minutes to help me find a move that was new and made me feel confident and sexy for my routine. I left that practice feeling so much better about my progress. Just because ⅓ of my card isn’t checked off doesn’t mean I’m inept, weak or a failure. It just means I need to keep going to the studio so I can get stronger and ask questions. The new moves will come in time and practice!