It’s been almost one year since I’ve touched a pole, any aerial apparatus, or even went to the gym. I’ve spent that entire time focusing on settling into life in a new state, and sometimes it still doesn’t feel like home. It took a while to realize that for me, adjusting meant holding on to as much normalcy as possible.
Pole was always a big part of my life. I first started in 2013, and spent the majority of those years teaching and performing. I decided that that was a good place to start. Every studio is different, so it took some time and research to find the first studio I wanted to try. Most studios are centered around static pole, but I was able to find some spin pole classes that worked with my schedule. I knew I had lost some strength, but the muscle memory was surely still there. I’ll just be a little sore in the morning. Oh, how naive I was.
The night of my class arrived and I was giddy. I carefully picked out my favorite pole outfit, and packed my dry hands and peppermint foot lotion (if you know, you know…) I arrived early and found out I was the only one registered for the class which was totally okay by me. If this crashed and burned at least only the instructor would see it. I got changed and walked into the completely mirrored room. I had lost all of my muscle tone, and gained a few pounds from my new desk job. That was okay! Bodies of all shapes and sizes are strong and graceful. I pushed it to the back of my mind while I chatted with the instructor. She asked for my background and skill level. Aerial inverts? You want chopper, shoulder mount, or lever? I got ‘em all. I’ve been doing this for years. I found myself talking about my home studio and the impressive training I was lucky enough to receive from some of the top names in the industry. I kept saying “we”. “We had this…We do this every year…” The sense of home and belonging never left. I asked my instructors background, she just started doing pole a little over a year ago.
Class started off with stretching right away. I eased into it as gently as possible, knowing I should have warmed up with some cardio first. I explained that I wanted to take the class easy, and just see where my body was at. “No problem!” My instructor said. “Let’s start with a chopper from the ground.” I was hoping to start with some simple spins and poses but let’s do this! Starting with my good side, outside hand on top, I went for it. My rear end got chest level and…
My feet flopped to the ground. I stood in total disbelief. I couldn’t hold my chopper, much less do it properly. I felt completely betrayed by my body. I had spent almost 1/3 of my life getting halfway decent at this sport and this is where I’m at. There’s no way I’d be doing any aerial inverts today.
I struggled my way through the rest of the class. Climbing was a complete mess, some spins were still there, but my trusty knee pit grip was loyal as ever. My stamina failed me completely and I had to explain that I didn’t feel safe completing the combo we were doing. Which was one I had done many times in the past. I cooled down, got changed, thanked my instructor for her patience, and ugly cried the whole way home. I ugly cried in my fiancés shoulder as he urged me to not be so hard on myself. I was bruised. My body, my ego, and my self confidence were all bruised.
I’ve always been a crier. It’s simply how I get through things. I’ll be okay, and I’ll do what needs to be done. I just have to cry about it first. I’ll get back on this horse and I see now how much work it’s going to take. I see some of my former students who are returning to pole after giving birth, moving across the country, or getting through a rough patch in life, and you are all such an inspiration to me. Because this sh*t’s hard. But I’ve seen first hand that it DOES come back. I’ll never give up on the feeling of overcoming this self doubt. And I hope you don’t either.