I participated in the recent pole photoshoot and it was a true testament to how far I’ve come in the last year and a half.  It was 9 months into my aerial journey before I even tried pole.  I would scurry through the pole studio on my way to an aerial class seeing graceful,  beautiful,  confident women in their sports bras and short shorts. The only pair of shorts I’d even owned in the last 10 years were the ones I wore over my one piece swimsuit because “no one wants to see that”. There was no way I could EVER do pole.
When I started with my all- inclusive membership, I decided it was time to get over my inhibitions and try pole.  Gradually, I became more comfortable in my pole shorts and have even gotten to the point of being able to take my shirt off for stomach grip when I need to. IN FRONT OF PEOPLE! For me, it is incredible progress on my path to self acceptance. When I heard about the photoshoot, I knew that was the next step. 
My goal was simple. Show up to the photoshoot and survive.  I’d worry about getting pictures I actually liked later. Sharing the pictures with other people – 2025 was probably an optimistic timeline for that crazy milestone.  
As the day approached,  I was panicking, most specifically about my tragic “Covid 15” and how the extra weight would look in the pictures.  My husband, in attempt relieve my anxiety, innocently offered that I could cancel and participate some other time when I felt better about my appearance.  Without hesitation,  I responded emphatically that I should NOT need to be a certain weight to accept my body and I should be able to appreciate myself at any size.  I think I shocked us both with my response.  Where had those words come from??

These words, that mindset, that shift of thinking, was a direct result of the time I had spent at the studio.  It is what happens when you surround yourself with positive people who love themselves and challenge you to do the same. 
I did the photoshoot and ended up purchasing 6 different pictures.  For the first time ever,  I posted my pole pictures on social media. These pictures,  though not perfect,  mean so much to me.  They represent just how far I’ve come. I’m in a new chapter in my life,  where I am learning to see more than just my flaws. And that makes me proud.