There is a meme that has been floating around and was inspiring my brain to blog about it because I felt very seen reading it.  And then, founder Paula also shared it in the ADWi member group and that sealed the deal.  I had to write about it.  For context, it is a woman on a pole and she says “You know what? My goal is not to be the best.  I’m not even aiming to be good!  I’m pole dancing because it brings me joy. And that’s all the difference in the world.” 

Speaking from experience, it absolutely makes all the difference in the world.  Showing up with goals is important for focus and for growth.  And I would argue, showing up with the right motivation and mindset is even more important. 

Our journeys all look different.  For some of us the journey includes injuries, children, weight changes, changes in our support systems, or mental health struggles just to name a few.  Over the years, my journey has included all of those things at various times.  Throughout the changes, my motivation to show up at the studio has also ebbed and flowed and changed. 

I vividly remember coming back from one of my pregnancies and feeling an immense amount of disappointment in myself. (Side note, this disappointment was in no part due to a lack of support or encouragement from the lovely ladies that make Aerial Dance what it is and solely formulated within my own brain.) I wasn’t as “good” as I was before. I didn’t feel as strong as I was pre baby being born.  I definitely did not have the same energy I had before. I hadn’t lost all of my pregnancy weight.  The list went on but you get it.  I was living in the sad lands we sometimes find ourselves in.  

There was a point when I was in one of my pole classes and I realized not only was I not having fun or feeling joy, but I also was kind of sloppy, which perpetuated my negative thoughts.  I was so focused on “getting back” to where I was and so frustrated by the fact it wasn’t just happening.  I wanted to be able to keep going on my aerial journey and become great at all the things. And I forgot to enjoy the journey. I blamed my body instead of thanking it. 

It was at that moment that I decided if I wanted to keep doing aerial, I needed to enjoy the process.  I needed to focus on what brought me to aerial.  It wasn’t being the best; let’s be honest, many of us, myself included, started this journey never believing we would be able to lift our own bodies in any way but definitely not over our heads.  And yet, here we are, showing up doing just that. I needed to focus on having fun, on gaining strength, on doing something for me.  

I committed to the little things, well not really little because they are still amazing and baddie but you understand.  I focused on trying to invert without a jump or step. I focused on fan kicks that looked slow and graceful. I focused on learning who/what my body was.  I avoided needing to do the things I did before the pregnancy.  I avoided feeling the need to be able to do every move well in the classes I took.  I focused on showing up for me, not for the next move. 

You know what happened?  I started having fun again. I started celebrating the wins I did have, however, “small” they were. I brought joy back to my journey and I never want to experience doing aerial for any reason other than to bring me joy again. Don’t forget why you started and what has kept you coming back.