Category Archives: Pole Dance

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

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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.

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.

The Fun Of Pole

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Image Credit: missdrusilla.tumblr.com

“The fun of pole is that there’s always something new to master”

Someone told me this the other day and I think it’s the best thing I’ve heard in a LONG time!

From inverts to forearm stands, I can so frustrated when something new is introduced and I can’t do it the first (second, third, twenty-eighth…) time around.

It seems like every time I do get something down, I have a new archnemesis waiting around the corner to make me feel like the biggest noob all over again. It’s easy to start to feel like I’m just going to be struggling with new moves forever, that I’m never going to be good enough.

And in my spiral of pole self-shame, I missed the point… that’s the fun of it.

You get to have that feeling of working really hard on something and then accomplishing it over and over and over again. There’s not a pole dancer on the planet who doesn’t have something they can work on. It’s not something that you check the boxes and then TA-DA you’re a master and there’s nothing left to learn.

There will always be new moves, they will always be hard, and if you work hard enough, you will always feel like a kid who just aced their spelling test when you get them. And that’s pretty freaking awesome.

It's Not Easy Being A Giraffe

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Cute and awkward, just like me 😀

 

Like it or not, in spite of all the diversity we preach in the present day, there are some things that just come easier to certain body types.

If you want to play basketball, it helps to tower over the other players. If you want to be a jockey, it’s useful to be pocket-sized. And my mother was once kicked out of a ballet studio after the instructor asked her “have you ever seen a six foot ballerina?!”
Pole dancing seems to fall somewhat in the middle – If you’re tall, you get some added flexibility since you have extra inches of limb to grab at. And, once you get them, most tricks and spins look especially extra pretty with all that extra leg swinging around. The thing that I’m coming to terms with is that it is going to take tall girls like me approximately  seven and a half times longer to get most things.
Like freakin’ forearm stands. I’ve been working on these suckers for over a week and a half. A girl came into the studio yesterday, her second class EVER, and whoop! There she goes, upside down on her head doing wavy legs against the pole like a pro. Where am I? Still on the ground with a headache and sore feet. I’m not too proud to admit I was more than a little jealous.
The frustrating thing is… height isn’t something you can change – you can lose or gain weight, get bigger nearly anything by way of plastic surgery. Go bottle blonde or bottle pink in a day. But when it comes down to it, I’m still going to be in danger of hitting my head on the ceiling.
It’s not easy being a giraffe. 

 

Women and Wine

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I spent yesterday sick as a dog on the couch. Which means, of course, that I spent an unfortunate amount of time on Facebook. Now, if you’ve been on Facebook for a long time, you’ll start to notice that pictures you thought were awesome… are not so awesome. Take my 18 year old self for example – she thought she was pretty damn hot. But when I look back at those pictures now, I see someone who hasn’t figured herself out yet.

18 Year old me wouldn’t have gotten within 100 feet of a pole, she’d of been curious about it, but never done anything about it. She didn’t dance in public and she wore (more or less) respectable shoes. Me at 26? Upside down on the pole, booty tooching and contemplating 8 inch heels.

Since freshman year I’ve gained 40 pounds, a bucket of bleach, and a cup size, but I’d like to think I’ve also acquired a better sense of self. When I’m curious about things, from pole dancing to pink hair, I go out and do them instead of thinking “wouldn’t it be cool if…”.

I used to worry so much about getting older, and 26 is still closer to 30 than I’m comfortable with. But I look at the ladies at my studio, mostly in their 30s and DAMN they’ve got this sense of self-assurance and confidence that I don’t think us 20-somethings can compete with. I see the super stars of pole, and none of them are 18. It gives me some hope that women, like wine, get better and stronger with age.

Sorry if this is super introspective and not at all interesting… I blame the antibiotics.

Emma Frost Cosplay

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Ok, so if you’re my friend IRL you’re probably sick to death of hearing about my halloween costume. You’re probably very excited that the holiday is over so it can go in a drawer and you don’t have to listen to me talk about the benefits of PVC versus latex. This is why we have the internet, I have a whole new audience of people to bore!

 

I cheated and bought the boots and cape but everything else was either handmade or altered. I added garters to the shorts, sewed the top and arm bands (which, sadly, you can’t see well) and painted and crafted the belt. Oh, and I went to an outdoor party in Ohio and FROZE MY WHITE ASS OFF. But before that, my pole studio in Florida had a party, so I had to make a few alterations.

 

I’m flying!!

 

It’s incredibly hard to make a costume that both looks good, leaves the necessary skin available for pole and doesn’t fall off while you’re hanging upside down in an inverted crucifix. As an added bonus, it’s somewhat canon thanks to X-Men Origins. Though I’m sure she was much less worried about her clothes staying on…

 

And now, sadly, Emma goes back in the cosplay drawer – but only until PAX East. Only 4 more months until PAX!