Oh, Hai Birthday Post

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Another year, another blog post. Yes, I know exactly how sad that is – but I’ve been really busy being a person! Also, I’m not sure anyone reads this thing anyway.

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Since the last time I posted, I’ve decided to become a unicorn and dyed my hair to match. I’ve had brightly colored hair for about a year now, and here’s some of my favorite comments:

 

  • “Do you know your hair is COLOR?”
  • “Oh… did you do that yourself?
  • “Did you pay someone to do that?”
  • “How did you do that?”
  • “What color is your hair under there?”
  • “How do you still have hair?”
  • “You must really like attention…”

Ten Birthday Truths

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It’s my birthday, trusty blog! Another year wiser, hopefully… at the very least, maybe a little further down my road to self acceptance. A brief list of things I’ve learned are never going to change:

  • I will never be accused of being quiet, understated, or subtle. I’m 99% sure I was a drag queen in a former life.
  • I have the ability to make things happen; because I’m blessed, because my grandma is a witch, because I work really f-ing hard. Doesn’t matter which as long as it keeps working.
  • I laugh like a man, it’s not delicate like tinkling bells, and it’s probably too late to do anything about it.
  • This is a grown up as I’m ever going to get, and it’s not very grown up at all.
  • I’m not a “natural” beauty girl… I love red lipstick and purple hair and bleached blonde hair. I love painting on makeup everyday. And I don’t care that boys seem to think I look prettier without a mask I have to chisel off at the end of the day, because it makes me happy.
  • I still think penis jokes are funny.
  • I pole, I wear stripper shoes and glittery booty shorts, I spend a good portion of my week inverted… and if that makes someone uncomfortable, they should probably just go away, because it’s not going to change.
  • I’m incredibly clumsy. Seriously, I walk into glass doors, fall out of chairs, and trip over my own feet. “Awkward giraffe” is the most accurate description of me on any given day.
  • Because of the two points above I will always be bruised, sometimes I draw smiley faces on them.
  • There is every chance in the world that I will be a crazy old cat lady with pink hair and a sequined walker. And I’m ok with that.

Don’t You Shop Me!

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I don’t like photoshopped pictures. 

But probably not for the reasons you’re thinking. I’ll leave the arguments about wither or not they create unrealistic expectations and cultivate unrealistic self images to the thousands of writers who’ve already brought them up. For me, the real issue is that photoshop takes away your body’s story.

There’s a pic of Britney Spears, who, apparently from dancing, has some bruises on her leg. Photoshop – poof! No more bruises. Victoria’s Secret models? Too fit! They need more curves and so they photoshop some in. Those muscles they got from hours at the gym? Scar from second grade? Tattoo? Tan Lines? Gone!

I didn’t realize how anti-photoshop I was until a photographer friend touched up a picture he took of me. He smoothed out my tan, added some shiny life to my hair, and took away all my moles and this weird scar I’ve had on my face since I was a teen. I barely recognized myself! And not in the good way.

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That girl is pretty, but she’s got no story. Where’d she come from? What does she do? Does she look like her mom or her dad? I can’t tell. And that’s why I don’t like photoshop.

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For the first time in my life I have a body that I’m proud of. And that body includes pole kisses, a nearly eternal bruise on the top of my left foot from pole climbs, thighs that have gotten bigger thanks to gaining some muscle (I actually had to go up a size in my skinny jeans) and a variety of scars and weird marks from all sorts of accidents (have I mentioned I’m an awkward giraffe?).

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I’m far from perfect, or even where I want to be, but it would feel like an insult to my body for all the work it’s done to just photoshop out the parts I don’t like. Even the part I hate most… my stomach.

Dozens of pole conditioning classes later, I still think I look a couple months preggers, and I hate that no matter what I do I can’t get rid of the pooch beneath my belly button – but that’s what it looks like. And I’m doing everything I can to make it better, so what is there to be embarrassed about? To prove how anti-shopping I am, here.. my most hated body part in all it’s unaltered glory.

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Now that will probably haunt me for the rest of my internet days. #ohwell

Just Let Go

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After only six months of pole, I think I’ve figured out the hardest part. It’s different for every trick, but it’s the same principal every time. And it’s the thing that always trips up every pole newbie.

For the fireman it’s when your feet leave the floor before they wrap around the pole, for forearm stands it’s when your weight shifts from your legs to your arms; and for basic inversions it’s when you look and suddenly the ground is above your head.

During every awesome pole trick there is a moment where you have to just let go if you want to do it right. And trust that you’re strong enough to keep from getting hurt.

Maybe I’m stretching the metaphor a bit but it seems like life is the same way. Whenever you want to do something new and cool and different, there’s a moment where you have to just let go and fall into it and see what happens.

P.S. UMMM LOOK WHAT I CAN FINALLY DO!!!

First Day Is Always The Worst

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I’m sorry, poor blog, I have neglected you this past few weeks. I’ve also, sadly, neglected my pole.

The bad thing about pole is that to practice you actually need a POLE. And when you go out of town for a week and a half over Christmas, poles are mighty hard to come by. It also makes going back somewhat painful. Especially if you’re me, and instead of going to one class and easing in, you decide to go to the two-hour epic adventure time version.

Here’s my internal dialog during Pole I and Pole II last night.

Zero Minutes In…
This is great! I missed the studio, I missed my pole sisters, it’s like a family reunion but with more glitter!

Ten Minutes In…
Hello muscles I haven’t used in awhile, I know you’re there, you don’t need to burn so much. I wonder how long it’s been… ten minutes? How was it only been ten minutes, that’s impossible! The clock must be broken. Oh, here we go again, stupid crunches.

Fifteen Minutes In…
Spinning! I missed spinning! Wheeee!

Thirty Minutes In…
Oh I’m dizzy, I don’t remember being dizzy before. Come on body, it’s just a little spinning. Maybe if I spin the other way? Ok, that sort of helped. Time to do the routine again? Ohhhhh dizzy.

Forty-Five Minutes In…
I can’t believe I still remember how to do all this! I was so afraid I’d lost everything – this is great! OUCH… virgin skin.

One Hour In…
Um OUCH! Why do people do this? I have bruises I didn’t have an hour ago. Seriously, this is insane, I should just do Zumba like a normal person. Oh wait, I’d have to buy tennis shoes. Never mind.

One Hour, Fifteen Minutes In…
I’m not going to make it, I’m going to die, and on my tombstone they will write “she died in stripper shoes with a pole between her legs”. I should have left May my pole in my will. That’s it, I’m dead.

One Hour, Thirty Minutes In…
Oh good, floor work, floor work is good, if I pass out I’m already down here, how handy!

One Hour, Forty-Five Minutes In…
Come on bitch, you can do this, you’re so close!

Two Hours…
I did it! I did it! I’m going to be sore for the rest of my life but I diiiiiiid i! I’d happy dance if I weren’t so exhausted.

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Self-Worth vs. Self-Confidence

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There’s a difference between self-worth and self-confidence.

This has been a problem for me for a very long time. Well… maybe I need to define those first; for me self-worth is the knowledge that you as a person are worth something whereas self-confidence is the knowledge that your skills and abilities are worth something. Those might not be dictionary definitions, but that’s how I’m going to use them for purposes of the post.

I had someone at work today tell me “you’re better at your job than you think”, and it’s not the first time I’ve heard that. Same with pole, I can be hyper-self-critical to the point where I sometimes end up in tears in my car. Not because I’m actually bad but because I’m harder on myself than anyone else would be.

It’s probably got something to do with the undergrad program I went to whose basic philosophy was “make them humble through soul sucking criticism” (no really, I wish I was joking). And I work with a group of people who are culturally known for being super blunt (“you got fat!” is culturally appropriate). And the cherry on the top is that I’m a super perfectionist.

Whatever the reason, when my co-worker mentioned it, I realized that I do spend a good portion of my day worried that people are going to realize I’m not as good as I pretend to be.

So… what do I do? Well, your guess is as good as mine. Please leave suggestions because I don’t have money for therapy.

Gotta See It All

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In case you haven’t noticed… I’ve gotten VERY in to cross stitch lately. Right now, I’m working in a call center and the two things we’re allowed to do in our stations are 1)read or 2)craft. You can only read for so many hours before the words start doing weird tribal dances across the page (yes, I speak from experience) so instead… I do this!

A very good friend of mine has a stuffed Pikachu that she takes on trips with her and snaps his picture with all the sights. So, when she saw this pattern she FREAKED and I knew she had to have it. Not just Pika, but Pika who’s gotta see it all!

Took me probably around 8 hours, but honestly I don’t really time it because I do stitches in between calls.

Pattern is free here.

Never Cease To Be Amazed

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I love this picture. This is the very first time I got my entire body off the ground and onto the pole. I was so proud I sent it to everyone I knew, and you can see the look on my face – pure, unadulterated JOY.

Now I would look at this picture and think that I need to push my chest out more, my back leg isn’t in the right place, my arm is too high – it’s so tempting to pick apart every detail and how it could be better – but if I do that, I’m missing the point.

What we do is F-ING HARD! We’re holding our entire body weight up, often on one limb, working against gravity and evolution telling us to stay on the ground. We’re flying and spinning and dancing and doing it all in shoes that we shouldn’t even be able to walk in. Pole dancers are pretty fricking fabulous if I do say so myself.

My Christmas wish for pole queens everywhere… may you never cease to be amazed.

Pole: Why It Works

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It’s been five months almost to the day since I started poling, honestly, I never believed I would stick with it this long. Because I know myself and anything excercise, no matter how excited I am about it at the beginning, doesn’t last long around me (see: rock climbing, chair dancing, that time I thought I’d lose a bunch of weight by quitting Pepsi…)

So what makes this stick when everything else has failed?

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–The people
Pole people are AWESOME people. They have interesting lives and hobbies and they’re incredibly inclusive of new comers into their pole world. The instructors and students at my studio actually, legitimately care if I show up. If I’m not there, I get texts and Facebook messages making sure I’m ok. It’s much harder to blow off a work out when you know you’ll be missed.

–The package
Not gonna lie, there are days when I go because I already paid for a package deal – it sounds terrible but when all else fails, old fashioned economics is a great motivator.

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–The shoes!
Booty shorts and sequins and stripper shoes, oh my! I’m not gonna lie, planning outfits to go to the pole studio is way more exciting than getting dressed to go to the gym.

–The body
I’m getting addicted to the body that pole gives me. It’s nice to not be ashamed of my stomach, to be proud of how I look in a two-piece. This year I had a midriff bearing halloween costume for the first time in my life. It’s wonderful to feel strong.

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–The scandal
Is it wrong to say that deep down, a part of me likes that my workout is a little taboo? Sure, sometimes it would be nice to be accepted for the athletes that pole stars are… but at the same time, it’s nice to throw people off a little, push them out of their comfort zones, and challenge them to think a little differently.

A Pink Christmas

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Maybe it’s all the time I’ve been spending at my very pink pole studio, but I decided this year, my first in Florida, I was going to have a very pink Christmas since I couldn’t have a white one.

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I was planning on getting all my shopping done at IKEA this year, but all their stuff was red and white – totally cute but really going to clash with my pink Christmas tree that I’ve had for years.

I got these awesome handblown glass owls at Target, and the wreathes from Amazon and Michaels. The outdoor one had some hideous white lights on a white string that I had to pull off but with the shipping cost it wasn’t worth returning, so I improvised.

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I think the overall effect is glorious but apparently to the non-glitter initiated it’s (as one person posted on my Facebook pics) gaudy and hideous. I’m strangely ok with that.