Goodbye forever. I was never any good anyway, and now this time away from the studio will be the nail in the inevitable coffin. I could have spent this time at home solo to focus on my own training and my own goals, but alas, I have spent this time on the couch feeling sorry for myself getting less strong, less bendy, less capable by the minute. I’ll never be able to get back on the pole so it is time to give up and throw in the towel. 

Dramatic much? As If I’d react any other way…! Yes, I know the previous paragraph is exaggerated, over-the-top, and overemotional. But, in all honesty, I am facing a struggle to maintain much, if any, positivity when it comes to my future as an aerialist. I just celebrated my 5 year anniversary in March—5 years ago I walked through the doors at Aerial Dance hoping for a dance-style workout and hoping to gain some self-confidence. I spent 5 years waging a war on my low self-esteem and was able to win many a battle against my own negative outlook. Thanks to the support of my Aerial Dance friends and family, I had forged and finally won the most challenging fight for me against my own self-talk, the inner voice of Amanda who would compare myself to every other student and instructor. I had conquered fear after fear that my inner voice told me to have and had the felt progress made and even had the calluses, bruises, and rough skin to prove it! Over everything, I quieted that inner voice enough to feel resilient as a dancer/athlete/student/instructor/friend. And now, here I sit on the aforementioned couch feeling like I’ve retreated all the way back to my trench and lost 5 years (and then some) of progress.

Yes, there are many wonderful resources, including everyone posting great things on Facebook and other online outlets that preach the importance of practicing gratitude and patience, that offer creative ways to be active at home, and that help raise the spirit in times of uncertainty. Unfortunately, being home alone lets that inner voice of mine get louder and louder and she isn’t interested in any of that positive shit. She is telling me how hard it was to come back to pole after injuries in the past, and this is going to be much harder than that. She is telling me that I’ll never be able to catch up to those who have the opportunity to pole at home now that I don’t have the space for a home pole. She is telling me that I clearly am not meant to ever go back to pole if I don’t even have the motivation to work out at home—“Look at all the other people who are doing it and posting about it, you lazy loser,” she says. “Clearly you don’t want this badly enough. You’ll never be as good, as motivated, as strong, and as good of a dancer as them.”

I really don’t know how to quiet her again. I don’t know how I will have the physical strength, skin desensitization, and grip to do the things I used to be able to do. I don’t know how I’ll have the emotional strength to let myself face the challenges of the aerial arts again. But, I do know this: I know that I’ve been able to quiet that inner voice before, so I have to have faith that it is possible again. I also know that people say progress is often made in millimeters—it’s been incredibly true in my pole journey. So, maybe simply externalizing these feelings to my friends and family at Aerial Dance is a good first millimeter step today.  Maybe some of you have loud and unfriendly inner voices right now too. Maybe we can have a quick convo with them, thank them for expressing our concerns, and then tell them to kindly shut the F up because we have some being resilient to do—one millimeter at a time.