Pole Journey of a Student

I asked a student of mine that I’ve been teaching for a few years to write about her own pole journey for my blog. When she read it to me, I was touched how I have been able to help and inspire her to become strong and confident. I’m so proud of all her hard work and look forward to continue to help her achieve her goals. Here is her pole journey in her own words.

My pole dancing journey….

Let me start by saying I have always loved to dance but I am a klutz. I tend to feel very awkward when I dance but something about the movement and the music’s fluidity have always called to my soul. My very first class was a tough day for me. Being a bigger girl at 5’ 10” and over 240lbs, I was excited and terrified. I hated my body and was instructed to wear a pair of short shorts and a tank, there are lots of mirrors in the pole room. In case no one has told you, there is a reason why pole dancers wear such tiny outfits, skin contact!

I specifically remember telling Crystal at one point while she was spotting me, that there was “no way this will work. I’m big and [she’s] tiny”. I was worried that if she tried to catch me, I would hurt her or accidentally kick her in the head and then there goes all my chances at learning. Crystal was so very patient with me and explained that she is stronger than she looks. After that first class, I was hooked. Super sore, full of “pole kisses” and realizing how very out of shape I was. I knew that most pole dancers have to have muscle but at no point did I even come close to understanding how much is truly involved. You are supporting your entire weight.

Fast forward almost a year and I was transitioning out of basic spins and was moving up into inverts. This was so exciting for me I had felt frustrated that I was stuck and wanted to try the “fun” tricks like my mentor and all the other beautiful flying goddesses that you see in any pole dance video. This was finally my chance! Or was it… It took me many months to invert and then there was the whole ordeal of being upside down clinging to the pole like a spider monkey eyes closed and holding on for dear life…. And completely forgetting how to get down! Cue the sweaty hands and now slow slide down the pole face first. Crystal talked me through the whole process and with so much positivity and encouragement she convinced me to keep trying. She reminded me that everyone learns at different speeds and that I should be proud of all the muscle I have gained from that very first class when my body was shaking leaf just trying to do a pole sit. But now I was able to pull myself off the ground, flip upside down and lower myself back down.

Through Covid I have continued my classes off and on. My first class back after a long break, I was getting in my head about my weight and my lack of motivation to work out that I was honestly dreading my first class back, but I was dead wrong, my class was amazing and I actually surprised my self with all the things I could still complete even with all that time off. Spins, climbs and even an invert! Since being back I have learned many new tricks and keep pushing myself not to forget anything I have learned. Sometimes I think I drive Crystal crazy by asking so many questions (which muscles, what’s touching, where do I put…, OMG how?) and getting her do demonstrate particular moves sometimes three or more times. But she never gets upset or loses her patience, just keeps explaining and encouraging.

Recently, I was lucky enough to be asked by my amazing mentor to join in with another studio to present for the Christmas showcase. OMG that was the most fun I have had; scary and nerve wracking for sure but still just amazing to be part of! Everyone was so supportive and I was excited to see what the others would bring to the show. They Blew my mind! And when it was my turn every single one of the other 10 girls was cheering and whispering words of encouragement. Most importantly so was Crystal, she was right there cheering the loudest and watching like the proud pole mama she is! BTW the showcase was phenomenal, I worried for nothing. I held my tricks and made my movements flow beautifully. After was this rush of accomplishment and euphoria that I had never felt before. I felt beautiful, confident, and coordinated (lol). A huge change from that shy, clutz that first started.

Semi Lockdown/Winter Blues – Start of 2022

Gyms and restaurants were shut down until the end of January. Just when I was getting back into the groove of things again, another shutdown. I suffer from seasonal depression so the combination of cold, snow and lockdown, this year has started off rough.

On my days off, just getting up and showered has been win. My motivation for training has been lost. Being at the studios and training is my happy place so when they are closed, I really feel a void physically and mentally.

I had to take a break from social media because of all the negativity and political divide. I had some negative comments made on my pole videos, I don’t understand why people want to bring others down. If you don’t like or agree with something, just simply move on. Don’t people realize how the comments they make impacts the mental health of a person?

I know this will pass. The lockdown will end and in a few months the weather will be better. I am so mentally drained from Covid, these last 2 years have been hard as fuck. I hope we are at the end of this and soon life can return to normal.

Paradisaea Adult Student Showcase – Winter 2021

Our Sunday night Silks class agreed that we all would like to perform in a little showcase at the end of our December session (following Covid protocols). I also was able to invite a student that I have been teaching privately at my home studio to perform. It was going to be her first performance ever, so we worked on her routine together.

Covid numbers had been increasing and there was talk of new restrictions being implemented. I debated participating in the showcase because I was a little nervous about Covid. But I remembered how disappointed I was when we didn’t perform at the Army of Sass showcase in March 2020. I wanted to be able to live my life a little after 2 long years.

Since it was been 2 years since I performed in front of a live audience, so I was excited but very nervous too. I felt better when I realized everyone was nervous about performing and we supported each other. I was also so excited for my student performing and I was a proud pole momma that she came out of her shell to perform.

I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare routines for the showcase. I used a chair routine I was currently teaching, since it was familiar to me, but I didn’t have an ending for it so I freestyled the last part of the routine. I wore sequined elf slippers and had lots of fun with them in the routine. I had a beginning for then pole routine planned out, the rest I freestyled. I was more nervous with the pole routine but overall, I was happy how both routines turned out.

Getting Back into the Swing of Things – Fall 2021

Because of covid, I ended up having to take a year and a half off from silks classes at Paradisaea. It was so hard on me during the long break as I was going to class weekly for 4 years. I missed training and missed my silk friends so much. My first class I was nervous as I was unsure what I would remember and if I lost any strength. It was a little bit of a struggle that first class and I did notice a loss of some of my strength. And I hurt and could barely move for 4 solid days after that first class. But each week I noticed my strength improving and coming back and my muscles hurt less the days after class.

It has felt so good to be back training and reunited with all my aerial friends. It is a little bit different training with a mask on and not being able to see everyone’s smiling faces. But it is a different world right now and it is important to keep each other safe.

It is such a positive and fun environment as we all support and encourage each other. That’s not something felt in a gym and is why I love aerial studios so much.

The Student Becomes The Teacher – Summer/Fall 2021

Once the lockdown restrictions lifted mid summer, I started teaching pole classes at Paradisaea. Having this opportunity to teach at the studio was a big achievement for me as its been a goal that I have been working so hard towards. Having classes that I had to prepare for really helped me get back into pole training after lockdown as well. I was fresh off my Canfit Fitness Instructor course, so I could use what I learned about class programming to create my classes.

I have such a passion for pole that I love that I now have the ability to share that passion with other woman. It makes all my blood, sweat and tears throughout my own journey worth it when I can now inspire other woman on their own personal journey. I can be having the worst day, but when I get to the studio and start teaching, all the negatively melts away and I leave feeling happy that I have made a positive impact on someone else through my class.

In the fall, I started teaching Chair Burlesque at SASS. I have divided my 6 week sessions into 2 – 3 week choreography sessions to a song. It has been a really fun class to teach and I really enjoy preparing the routines for this class as they are a little more sexier.

My 2 year anniversary of my pole Instructor certification was up, meaning I had to re certify for the second time since I took then initial course 4 years ago now. I had to take a written exam and then submit a video of me teaching 2 pole movements, which I passed both components and received my recertification.

Sunflowers and My Birthday – End of Summer 2021

Summer came and went way too quickly. Although the end of summer also means 2 of my favourite things: sunflowers and my birthday!!

I took the kids to Howell’s farm at the end of August to visit the Sunflower fields. We did a little photo shoot together and of course I found a pole to play on!

Advice from a sunflower.

Be bright sunny and positive. Know your roots. Spread seeds of happiness. Rise, shine and hold your head up high. Keep on growing. Even on the darkest days, stand tall and find the sunlight.

Mid September brings my birthday, I turned 38 this year. To celebrate, my husband booked a beautiful hotel in Brockville and we went got away for a night. I haven’t been anywhere for the past 2 years due to COVID, so it was the best gift to get away for a little bit. We had a lot of fun exploring the Brockville, it’s a pretty little turn, reminded me of Niagara on the Lake.

My husband spoiled me rotten this year by also also me my first pair of Hella Hells!! I am absolutely in love with these boots, they are very well made and comfortable. They are my highest pair of boots I have and very different than all the Pleasers I have.

Pole Friends Are The Best Friends – Summer 2021

I love my pole friends. We always have so much fun together as we all share similar interests. This summer we got together and did a float on the Chippawa River. The girl that organized the float was so well prepared and we all had such a fantastic time. I didn’t know about floating before this and it is such a fun local thing to do in the summer. I actually loved it so much that I bought river inflatables and did a float for my daughter’s 10th birthday party.

I also threw a party in my backyard and all the girls from the studio came. We had drinks, food, games and karaoke…and non stop laughter. I’m so fortunate that I found such a fantastic group of people to have in my life.

Lockdown Running Challenge – Spring/Summer 2021

As a way to continue to exercise and stay in shape while the studios were closed when lockdown #3 began, I gave myself a challenge: run 4 times a week, with 3 runs being 3km and the 4th going for at least 5.5 km, with slowly adding distance.

I succeeded in my goal for the most part, I only had to take 1 week off in 3 months because I pulled my hamstring.   In every type of weather – cold, rain, humidity, it didn’t matter, I went for my run. The longest distance I achieved was 7 km at the beginning of July, but then I pulled my achilles tendon and I had to take a few weeks off to heal. I was very proud of how well I kept to my running schedule and pushed through the harder runs and never gave up on my goals.

Runners High: is a brief, deeply relaxing state of euphoria. Euphoria is a sense of extreme joy or delight. In this case, it occurs after intense or lengthy exercise. Often, people who experience a runner’s high also report feeling less anxiety and pain immediately after their run.

Running helped me deal with the anxiety’s I have been having during Covid. Running in the morning also gives me much more energy throughout the day. I guess the affect of the runners high. The other positive affect of running is that I’m training the endurance of my cardiovascular system, which helps my endurance performing an aerial apperatus.

Getting Certified During Lockdown #3 – Spring/Summer 2021

This lockdown was easier as the weather was better. Over these lockdowns, gardening has become a way to de stress. Planting, nurturing and watching my gardens grow really helps me find my inner peace. I would get lost in weeding for hours. When I needed a break, I would jump on my pole in the backyard and play.

I also choose top be more productive during this lockdown. As soon as a had gotten laid off from my job, I signed ups for Canfit Pro’s Fitness Instructor Specialist Course. The course was 30 hours divided over 2 weekends over Zoom. A few weeks after the course, I had a Theory Exam that I had get over 80% to pass. I studied so hard for this exam, there was so much memoriziation of anatomy. I passed with 87%! The final component/hurdle to complete was my practical exam. I had to teach an hour fitness class with 3 participants on zoom with my instructor on zoom as well grading me. I had to have a warm up, strength, cardio and cool down/stretch components all choreographed to music. I had the whole program written out with the timings on white boards to keep myself on track during the workout. I had 2 friends and Shanyn, owner of SASS, be my participants. It was actually a lot of fun having my instructor be one of my students and it definitely made me want to impress her. I practiced the program lot and felt pretty well prepared, which paid off as a I got 86% and become a certified Fitness Instructor Specialist!!

Black Tape Project – Summer 2021

It has been a long time since I have done a photo shoot. I seen a post looking for a model for a black tape photo shoot, which is something I always wanted to do. I was nervous but decided to do it. I had done a nude photo shoot before, but this was different as the photographer was applying the tape on my body.

The photographer was very professional about and I never felt uncomfortable. We looked at tape designs together and came up with plan. He got me to put the tape on my private bits myself, then he did the rest of the taping from there. We did some shots in his home studio then we ventured out to an outside location. We found a pretty area under an overpass that was private enough that I felt comfortable in just the black tape.

I was not 100% happy with my body but the photos turned out pretty good. Sometimes its good to take risks and step outside your comfort zone to try new things.