Tonight was a great night. My limits, both physically and mentally, were pushed. When I thought that I couldn’t possibly do something even one more time, someone was there to help me up and give me the kick in the butt I needed to do it. As I write this, I am exhausted. My body is covered with bruises and pole burns, and tomorrow I figure that I will probably feel like an old lady, and be moving like an even older lady. It was all worth it though, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Tonight, I did a pole workshop followed a dance workshop. Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong. For an hour and a half, I climbed up the pole using primarily the inside of my knees and the top of one foot. My arms were in there too, but they are not the primary source of strength or grip in a climb. Over and over we went up only to come down and do it all again. While we were up there, we learned some funky
and extremely challenging piece of cake ways to just hang out on the pole. Then we learned how to drop. Yep, I said drop. As in let go with your legs and let your body plummet to the ground yourself fall until you once again grip the pole tightly with your legs and hands. It may sound easy, but it is really very intimidating. I had a mental roadblock, and just flat out refused to loosen my legs at first. Even though I was only a few feet off the ground, I feared that I may meet an untimely end by way of the solid floor beneath me. I actually climbed up and just hung out there for about 5 minutes, trying to get the nerve to let go, until my instructor came right up underneath me and yelled “LET GO WITH YOUR LEGS!” I admit, the shock of that may have scared my legs into letting go without my brain even knowing. Then, to have to clamp them tightly together again before you hit the floor? Yeeeeah, that. Every fibre in my being was screaming “don’t let go, don’t let go, you’re gonna crash.” But yet, a few said “suck it up, buttercup, what’s the worst that can happen?”. Crazy enough, those are the ones that one out.
We did some other stuff too, and each time, my mind tried to rebel against what my body was trying to do. Pole is a constant struggle for me. I have my brain trying to work against my body. I have the ugly voices in my head telling me that I am too big, not strong enough, not good enough to ever do this stuff, so why even bother trying? I fight those voices, and I think that for the first time in a long time, I am starting to win. I am starting to believe that yes, I CAN do anything I want to. I’m NOT too big, I AM strong enough. It’s been a long time since I have heard those words in my head. It really has.
Pole has been one of the best things that I have ever done for myself. It challenges me mentally and kicks my butt every time. I’m getting muscles in places that I could never have imagined, not even when I was in the Army. It has introduced me to a place and a group of people who will catch me when I fall, lift me back up and tell me to do it again, and then cheer as though I have accomplished something amazing. Every. Single. Time. It gives me motivation to keep on going, and pushing to become better and better. It fills my heart with pride when after weeks of trying something, it finally clicks and falls into place for me. It has become something that I need, that I crave and miss when I am away from it. It gives me a space and a venue where I can breathe and be myself – the good, bad, and ugly.
Despite the bruises and the pain, I am thankful that I have somewhere that challenges me, and people who believe in me. I really hope that everyone can find something that they love as much as I love this. And with that final note, I’m off in search of ice and advil.