This past November I was cleared to move up to Advanced 1.  I was so stoked about it!  I had begun my pole fitness journey in January of this year and at that time I honestly thought it would take me a couple of years to progress to being able to *maybe* get my ass over my head.  The first week of the session I was doing great. Conditioning at home, motivated, strong.  And then—it happened.  I got sick.  Sore throat, ear ache, body ache, head ache (basically everything inside and out ached).  This started to morph into extreme fatigue, a brutal cough and fever.  3 weeks later I was only sicker so I finally saw a doctor and was diagnosed with atypical pneumonia.  I was prescribed some meds and now, almost 2 more weeks later, I’m FINALLY starting to feel normal-ish again.  This sickness knocked me down hard very quickly.  I missed one week of class, then another, and another.  I was barely able to do basic things much less exercise and it was pretty devastating after having made so much progress.  The mental bashing certainly didn’t help anything and eventually it became kind of scary to even begin again after so long and getting so run down and “weak”.  I posted in the ADWI motivation Facebook group about my situation and asked if anyone had recommendations or insight on how to get back at it. I got incredible feedback and support, as always.  I was reassured I was not alone and that even though it sucks to backslide everything would be fine with some time and effort and I’d get back to where I was.  I was given suggestions about listening to my body, starting with gentle stretching, attending a Bendy Babe class and seeing how it feels. My sisters shared with me some of their similar situations and how they overcame their setbacks and struggles-both physically and mentally.  Let’s be honest- it SUCKS to have your routine interrupted.  But sometimes, it just is what it is.  I wouldn’t have benefited myself or anyone else by showing up to class spewing my cooties all over and certainly unsuccessfully attempting to strain myself to do things my body was simply not in the condition to do.  I’m sure many can relate especially this time of year.  So for whatever its worth you’re not alone.  If you need some support reach out to your peers at the studio and guaranteed you will feel some relief and inspiration.  It helped me tremendously and I’m beyond thrilled to say I’ve been able to get in some at home conditioning this week and it’s feeling less scary.  I feel confident I can continue to push forward and realign with my goals.  As the saying goes- “It’s not how many times you get knocked down, it’s how many times you get back up.”  That is strength.  That is beauty.