AyeshaAlmost two year ago my pole journey came to a screeching halt after a series of non-aerial injuries (i.e. planting a tomato and rupturing a tendon in my finger and tearing apart my shoulder doing the Tough Mudder) kept me out of the sport. After 6 months of denial, I finally had surgery and about a year later I was able to start to train again. So what did I do? I tried to start where I had left off. Before my injuries, handsprings were becoming my thing and so that is what I started with. I actually regained my natural grip handspring kick up quickly and my Ayesha. This is the first picture I took on a pole since surgery. It was some how critically important to me that I got back these moves. But what I didn’t do was train smart. My return to the aerial arts was about my ego and feeling like I hadn’t lost anything instead of about my body and my new, unstable shoulder joint. I cross trained on hoop and fabric because they were less painful but on pole I had a lot of pain and my progress, well, sucked.
So now what? I can do a handspring and a few other great tricks but I can’t execute simple spins. I can’t execute combinations that were easy for me. I can’t do any long in air transitions. Everything hurts again (seriously, inside leg hangs are crazy painful!) because I didn’t recondition my body for this sport. So it hasn’t been fun. Because I tried so hard to pretend all my injuries and 1.5 years off didn’t happen, I spent 6 months frustrated, angry, and fell out of love with pole. That’s just silly. Pole isn’t the problem; my injuries aren’t the problem; my head space is totally the problem. I have to accept that I can’t jump in where I left off because my body isn’t that body any more. Not only have I lost my skin conditioning, I’m a lot less toned (because that is nicer than saying I’m fatter), I am a lot less strong, I’m older, and my body truly is different. My shoulder will never feel the same again, so I need to stop pretending nothing happened and instead train it for what it is now.
So starting today, I’m starting at the beginning. The way I SHOULD have started when I tried returning to the sport 6 months ago. I will go through the Beginner Pole card and make sure those moves are solid before moving onto the Advanced tricks. I will accept that I’m on my own journey and crazy tricks will come again if I sit on the pole until it doesn’t hurt. I will hang in my leg hangs until they are easy again. Only then will I do my crazy combos that I long for. Because without the basics, the advanced stuff is not safe, attainable or fun. The beginning is so important.
So here I am, back at the beginning. I’m going to use this as an opportunity to train BOTH sides. To make everything in my repertoire stronger. And when I get back to the stuff where I left off, it will be easier because I’ll be approaching it with a better attitude and a stronger foundation built on the abilities of my “new” body. My ego almost drove me away from the sport I love, how silly. I tell students ALL THE TIME that they are on their own journey and not to compare themselves with others, and here I was comparing me with old me and loosing my own head battle. I’m on my own journey and right now that journey is back at the beginning. Even if I wish it wasn’t, even if I wish the last two years weren’t in my journey, they are, so starting over will give me the best path in the future.