Being Polekitten

Two years ago, I decided to start this blog. I choose the name Polekitten as it’s a nickname for a pole cleaner at a pole showcase or competition. When I choose it, it was just a domain name. Then I made a logo. Then I changed it to my social media name. Then I got a personalized licence plate. Then I put decals on my vehicles. And bam! I built a brand and persona for myself.

I didn’t really hit me until I was at concert and after the concert, I met the band. A year prior, I added the band members to my social media. This time, they knew my name, well kinda. They knew me as Polekitten! They gave me big hugs and they were genuinely happy to see me. That was huge for me as I’ve been following this band for years. It all happened because I put myself out there and created a persona that people remember.

My licence plate has gotten me noticed too. I was at a car show and a guy seen my plate, and was determined to talk to me as he was intrigued. We exchanged contact information and he ended up sending a referral to purchase a car from me. I also got some photos in his Porche and we have kept in contact. All because of my licence plate.

I have many stories when I have been approached inappropriately due to being more public. But I would not trade the amazing people and experiences that have come my way because of a few bad apples.

New Equipment – Summer 2018

I’ve been looking at purchasing a stage pole for a long time. I wanted a portable pole that I could
bring to photo shoots and events. But at a price tag over $1000, it was not in my budget. My husband offered to help me out as he saw the benefits of such an investment. We also decided that an aerial rig would be advantageous, as then I could use my hoop and silks on a portable rig. He managed to save money in shipping by driving to the Toronto X-Pole location to pick up the equipment directly.

When he brought it home, it was like I was a delighted child on Christmas morning, impatient to dive into the boxes, assemble and play with my exciting new toys.

I was able to put my equipment to the first test at the vendor fundraiser. I only set the apparatus’ up once before the event, so I was unsure how it would go. It went smoother than I thought, even with it being so hot. I panicked for minute as I thought I forgot the wrenches for the pole, but my son found it and all was good. Other vendors commented his impressed they were with how I managed to set up such large equipment by myself.

I then was able to use my aerial rig at a photo shoot. A photographer a shot with before contacting about doing another shoot, I said I just got done equipment that I would love to try out. He said he has a friend that owes a winery that we could use, given the location, I thought the aerial rig with silks would be best. So, there I was, setting up my rig in the middle of the Reif Winery vineyard, which was an incredible experience. The winery owner is also a hobby photographer, so he shoot photos as well. I would have never thought that by starting pole and aerial, what kind of experiences that would allow me to have.

I also used the equipment just for my own personal training at home. I set it up in the back yard to train. I used it to teach my niece some silks tricks when she was visiting from B.C. I also set the rig up in the front yard so me and my daughter could show off our talents at our annual street end of summer party.

 

Pole Events in Summer 2018

The summer came and went in a blink of the eye. I spent the summer going to several pole events though out the summer.

The first event was a vendor fundraiser event for a women’s shelter. I went with the girls from SASS, we set up 2 poles in the center of the hall and we did demonstrations. There was not a lot of people there other than the ones work
ing their own vendor booths, but we had fun just playing together for a few hours.

The second event was the Five Alarm Ladies Night, a firefighter charity fundraiser. I went to this event in 2013, which is where I seen the girls from SASS doing pole demonstrations.  I was in complete awe of what the girls could do and it made me determined to try. I was inspired and wanted to be strong and confident like them. Five years later, I was at the event WITH the girls at the studio performing demonstrations.

 

Being part of a vendor was a very different experience from when I was part of the audience watching the show. Firstly, when the woman came in, they showed zero interest in the pole and it was evident that they saw us as competition. The woman were all dressed up, hoping to snag a firefighter. When they walked in and saw a bunch of girls in booty shorts on a pole, it was threatening to them. Fast forward an hour after the woman have had a few drinks and saw the firefighters dance on stage, their options of us changed. They approached us to try out the pole and asked about classes. We were no longer the enemy; we could help their game.

The following day, I went to the Canadian Pole Fitness Association’s competition at the Toronto Pro SuperShow. I went with a bunch of the girls from SASS to support one of the girls from the studio competing. She did fantastic and placed 3rd in the semi-pro division!! It was nice to hang out with the girls outside the studio for the day.

 

Lastly, I performed demonstrations at a vendor fundraiser for mental health, similar to the I did with SASS, but this one I did solo. Well, actually I brought my kids along, my son helped me with the equipment and my daughter performed with me. We has performed a combination of pole, pole silks, silks and lyra. It was hot an exhausting putting the equipment up, performing for 4 hours and then taking all the equipment down. Overall though, a great experience and my first paid event!

 

Pole Silks – Spring 2018

When I competed last August, I seen a pole silks performance that mesmerized me. I never seen anything like it before. It’s rigging silks onto the pole to combine the 2 styles together. It is beautiful. I had to try it!

Since it is new, none of the studios in my area teach or even have pole silks. So, I researched where to do my own. I ended up the silk rig attachment, called Silkii from X Pole. I also had to buy the permanent mount for my pole as the pressure fitted pole is not safe to use with the Silkii.

I watched a lot of videos and starting teaching myself as I played around. I fell in love. I loved fusing the 2 apparatus’ together.

My instructor at Paradisaea asked me if I was going to perform in the April showcase. I said no at first. But then she suggested a pole silks routine, I thought that was a great motivation to train! I was nervous though, as I only played on them once and here I was, committed to a full routine in a few months.

I don’t know how I even managed to put a routine together, but I did and I was very happy with it. One of my pole instructors said she loved how I made the routine flow so well. The fact that I taught myself was a huge accomplishment.

 

SASS Wing-Ding Shindig! January 2018

Planning get togethers to celebrate holidays or birthdays can get challenging with a large group of people. So the owner of SASS come up with an idea to celebrate everything in one night! That’s when the Wing-Ding Shindig was born.
We all had to dress up honouring EVERY occasion: Christmas, New Years, Valentines, St.Patricks Day, Easter, Canada Day, Halloween, birthdays and bachelorette. My competitive nature come out and I tried hard to win the trophy for best dressed. We rented a party bus, and since we are pole dancers, of course it had a pole!

We went out for dinner, went to a winery and then a brewery, and then partied on the bus until going back to the studio.

The shenanigans continued at the studio with party games and poling. I ended up passing out on some pole mats in my unicorn onesie. It was a great night with an amazing group of people.

Taking a Break – Fall/Winter 2017

I was starting to stretch myself really thin with everything I had taken on. I work full time, go to pole and silks classes and booked photo shoots on my days off. I didn’t train enough for the competition and it showed in my performance. My chores at home were piling up, giving me stress. My kids and husband missed me. I was tired all the time. Everything was catching up with me and getting to be too much.

I made a few jobs changes in 2017 which was a lot of adjustments. I was struggling to fit in at my new jobs. I realized that being pretty, confident, smart, having a great personality and be really intimidating to others. I was constantly feeling like the outcast and that I was always trying to prove myself. No matter what I seemed to do, it was never good enough.

The breaking point was my grandma’s health decreased over the summer and she passed at the end of October. I was so busy that I was not able to go visit her before she passed. I grew up living with her and my mom, so she helped raise me. She taught me how to become a strong woman. I was devastated by her loss. I slipped into a depression through the rest of the fall and most of the winter. I stopped going to pole classes for a while, didn’t practice at home at all either. I needed time to grieve and be with my family, so I put everything else on hold.

Certified Instructor – October 2017

In October I took 2 instructor training courses. I have taught a few classes to some friends and I love being able to see the excitement of a new student learning tricks. It reminds me of when I began, that spark in my eyes when I learnt a new skill.

The first was PFIC (Pole Fitness Instructor Certification)
Canada’s Basic Fundamentals of Pole Fitness. It was a 16 hour course over Thanksgiving weekend. The course focused on body s
afety and alignment techniques relating to basic pole fitness. I passed the exam and got certified for 2 years.

The second course was Introduction to Teaching Aerials by Nimble Arts. This course was more comprehensive as it was 34 hours of training over 5 days. It provided a foundation of horizontal and vertical apparatus skills as well as coaching techniques, spotting skills, posture analysis, injury prevention, learning styles and curriculum planning. I got a certificate that I completed the course, but that course is only the first step in long process to become a certified aerial instructor.

The courses were expensive but they were worth the investment. They were both very informative and gave me lots of new skills. My goal is to take a couple of fitness and aerial instructor courses each year to continue my learning.

Published – August 2017

Pole has opened a lot of doors for me that I would have never thought possible. One of them is the ability to model. I always dreamed about being a model when I was a little girl, but never thought I had the looks for it. Since I started working out, I’ve gotten the confidence to try things I’ve always wanted to do.

I joined a few modelling groups online, posted a few pictures I had and before I knew it, I had several photographers wanting to shoot with me. It was almost overwhelming at first, I didn’t think anything would actually come from it.

I did several photo shoots throughout the summer, which allowed me to build a portfolio. I worked with a bunch of different photographers with very different styles, allowing me learn what works for me best. I took in all the advice and tips the photographers gave me since it all was new to me.

One photo shoot I ended to getting published in 2 online magazines! I was on cloud nine, was so proud of being published. In that moment, I realized I can do anything when I really put the work into it.

Great White North Pole Competition – August 2017

I did it! I competed! I competed in Verticlove’s Great White North Pole Competition. It was my first competition so I entered the amateur division. The song I choose was the acoustic version of TLC’s “Unpretty.” My costume was white lace top and bottoms with a sheer robe and 8 inch Pleaser heels. I wrote body shaming words on my body which was shown when I opened my robe at the beginning of the song. As the song goes on, I find my confidence through pole dancing and shed the robe at the end showing the words Beautiful and Strong on my biceps.

I loved my concept for the performance and kept my choreography to tricks I knew really well. Where it went wrong was not practicing it enough to really make it flow, clean up my inverts and lines in poses. I also didn’t practice writing the words on my body. I accidentally ended up buying permanent paint to write the words. My concept was to smear the body shaming words as I dance so show that I’m wiping the negativity away. But since the paint was permanent, it did not wipe off, and it was not dark enough for the audience to see it clearly.

After I performed, I was too nervous to watch the other competitors. I walked around the Hamilton harbour during a thunderstorm and reflected on my performance.

I didn’t end up placing but I felt a winner just getting up on stage to compete. It was an amazing experience and learnt a lot for future performances.  It was good to get the first one under my belt as now I have a better understanding of what the judges are looking for.

 

Where Oh Where Can My Motivation Be? 

Dear Motivation,

Where are you? Why are you hiding? My energy levels and drive have been low.  I try to eat better but then slip backwards into old habits.  My progression in aerial has been slower. I’m at a plateau.

I see other people grow above me. I get frustrated at how my lack of advancement. Why can I not handspring yet? Am I just not strong enough? I am doubting my abilities.  The other things in my life have taken over. My dreams seem like they are no longer obtainable.

I wasn’t sure how to proceed from here. So I thought looking back may help. I recently reread this blog.  It reminded me where I started from and how far I’ve come. Just within the last year, I created this blog, a brand for myself and started performing. Later this year, I will be competing and getting my instructor certification.


I also looked but at my pole board on Pinterest. I used to spend hours looking through pole pictures and videos for inspiration and motivation.  I took some time revisiting my pins, which reminded me how I fell I love with pole. And how obsessed I was with it.  Whenever I listened to music, I thought of poling. Whenever I shopped for clothes, I looked for new pole clothes. Whenever I was out anywhere, I looked for a pole to play on.

My handspring will come. It took me a year and a half to do a shoulder mount.   More than half my battle is mental. I need to keep believing in myself. I need to stop looking at others with envy, instead let them inspire and teach me. I too can do it.  No more excuses. I had so many goals at the beginning of the year.  I know once I start training regularly again my passion will return.