Amy Hazel, a pole celebrity, made a post the other day about how her body and skills have changed. The lines that really stuck out at me were:
“I definitely know my body can’t do the things I used to do. 
But what I do know is my body can do other things it never used to be able to. “
And it got me thinking about change…..

Since the return to in-person classes my instructors and I have fielded a lot of questions/concerns/fears about how our students feel different on pole now. That they can’t do what they could. And it really got me thinking about my own body and how much my pole skills have changed in the 13 years I’ve been doing this sport. When I started I was fearless. I tried every trick introduced. If something hurt I kept at it until I got. And, in time, I usually got it. (Now let’s be clear, 13 years ago the hardest trick was jade, not the crazy stuff people do now!!!) I was addicted to pole and the rush each new trick gave me.

Since starting pole, I’m older. I’m a year away from 40. I’ve broken a tendon in my finger (ah the tomato incident) and my grip is weaker. I’ve had shoulder surgery on my right and am on the path at having surgery on my left thanks to my crappy genetics. I’ve gained 20 pounds. I broke a toe. I’ve retired from my career as a professional bassoonist and my body hurts a LOT less, but it is also not as strong as it was when I was playing. When doing pole I’m hesitant. I don’t want to take the chance of a fall so I’m overly cautious. I work towards things slower, spending more time on conditioning, and there are a whole lot of moves I simply don’t even do any more because my body doesn’t like how they feel. And I beat myself up that I am not as “good” as I was. That I’m lazy. That I need to work harder. That maybe I’m just not passionate about pole any more because I’m not “trying” as hard.

So much about my physical body has changed. So why do I think my pole journey should feel exactly the same?

Change. It’s the one thing we resist and fight. But it is truly the only constant in life. Things change. So many books have been written about embracing and accepting change. Yet, for me, I DO NOT WANT CHANGE! I want to feel and be the pole dancer I was 12 years ago. And as I type that my heart wants it so bad I have this visceral ache while my head screams “you idiot, of course things are different from 12 years ago.” And so the battle rages on.

As I look towards 40 I’m starting to think I need to redefine what pole is for me. I never liked the flow but find myself being drawn to the different style of movement. I find myself following different pole stars online who are more in line with who I am becoming versus who I was in my pole youth. And maybe that’s the point! Maybe embracing the change and loving how our bodies change are what give us new opportunity. Maybe the change is actually a gift.

I hope in time I can see it that way.
I hope in time I can love my body for what I was able to do.
And that I can love my body for what it can do now.