The time had come, I finally get to re-enter the studio after so much time away.  I could once again go to my happy place and fine the emotional and physical well-being that I had been missing during the Safer at Home orders.  In a time where I should have felt nothing but pure joy, why did I find myself near terrified?  Questions ran through my brain.  “What if I’m not good enough?” “What if I don’t want this anymore?” “What if my brain and body have forgotten everything that felt like second nature before?”  “What if it is simply too hard to start over?” 

And then I touched a pole.  Simply touched one, grabbed on, engaged my shoulder, and carefully walked around the pole.  I could have cried.  I felt like I was finally back where I needed to be, as if I could finally take a deep breath because something was back to normal.  I went through beginner moves, letting my body remember what it felt like to pole, to move with an object as an extension of myself, to dance while being connected to something more than the air and music around me.  It was incredible how natural it felt to step into a Corkscrew, pivot, catch my knee, and descend in a Back Hook.  Yes, I was dizzy as heck, but my body remembered, and my brain felt happy. 

I put myself through the paces of basic conditioning, starting at step one and sometimes staying there.  I challenged myself to climb.  To reach the ceiling multiple times, from each climb, on both sides.  And while I felt clunky and my breathing was heavier than it previously would have been, it still felt good.  Eventually I got bold and asked my poor neglected thighs for a sit.  Aha!  My skin did not shriek in terror as I had anticipated!  I sat there and grimaced through holding as I counted and breathed.  I had feared that returning would hurt, and not in the John Mellenamp way, but in the way that would make me return home and not look back.  I was afraid that with the stress of life and its changing normals, that I would not relish my time at the studio as I once had.  I knew now that it would be ok.  My love for the studio was never in question, but so many other fears had cropped up inside my fragile brain.  But now I had gained back something very important: Hope.  I recognized that coming back did not mean starting over.  I got to push restart after a pause, and that was so much easier. 

Your foundation is still there.  Whether you’ve built up days, weeks, or years of practice.  You’re not going back and starting something brand new.  You’re coming home to something you’ve loved and hitting restart.  I’m not saying it’s a walk in the park, but I promise, you’re farther along than you may think.