I want to talk about what Aerial Dance has done to my body alone. I want to talk about the blisters, and the bruises, the muscle cramps, tingly elbows and sore body for days. If you’ve heard the saying “pain is weakness leaving the body” and you’ve taken pole classes, you know this phrase to be so incredibly true. I remember my first classes feeling like I didn’t accomplish much. My mind didn’t quite catch up to what my body was doing and I didn’t notice until the next few mornings when I was so sore I had to roll out of bed or trust fall to the toilet. I hadn’t even accomplished a climb yet, but I was SO sore.

The next few classes- things felt a little easier. Some of that was muscle memory, trust for my body, and some of it was building muscle. After weeks had gone by I started to noticed subtle changes in my body. I was losing weight, seeing some little baby muscle definition that I was so proud of. I started to be able to challenge what I thought were limitations and work my way past them. I never thought I’d be able to do anything core related after recently having had a cesarean, until I started pushing through doubt and pain and fear. I learned that my body wasn’t broken just because it was cut open. And that by pushing myself, I was healing that wound, physically and mentally.

I’ve grown to appreciate the calluses on my hands and the tops of my feet that evolved from broken skin and blisters. Seeing my body adjust to the activities I was engaging in was so cool to me. It literally started adapting to protect itself before my eyes. The bruises began to look like art. And for the first time maybe ever in my life my body looked like art too. It wasn’t about my clothes fitting a little looser (though that was a perk), but it was being able to trace my quads and my calf muscles with my fingertips. It was a really and tangible thing on my body that I loved. And it didn’t take away from my stretch marks or my cellulite, but it helped me appreciate those things too. Every ache and pain felt and feels like progress.

I love my body and what it can do and completely credit Aerial Dance for this restructure and new found appreciation. It’s okay that I’ve got thick thighs, they allow me to hang upside down. This body is strong and it is beautiful. And I see that now thanks to Aerial Dance and the sisterhood of encouragement it’s provided to me.