Setting Goals

Setting goals for yourself is a great way to keep you motivated, moving forward in a positive direction and boost your confidence. The goals need to be achievable based on your own skills and abilities but also need to push yourself a little further. Remember: You are only competing with yourself.

My goal is August was to run 3km a day.

Revising goals is okay when you realize that your original goal was maybe too ambitious.

A week into August I realized that running every day was a little ambitious. After missing a few days I didn’t just give up on my goal, I revised my goal to run 93km in total in August, which is equivalent to 3km a day, allowing myself to miss a day and just double up another day.

Here I am, last day of August and I pushed myself and achieved my goal!

Performing at Mints and Getting The ‘Vid – Spring 2022

Once then studios were able to open back up in February, I got right back into teaching. I spend most of February and March just trying to get adjusted to my busier schedule. As the weather started getting better, I started running again, which my body was not happy with me at first. I had taken 4 months off during the winter, the first few runs were quite painful. But I was determined to push through that pain, regardless how bad it was, knowing it would get easier.

I saw an ad looking for cabaret and burlesque dancers as part of a new drag show in Niagara Falls that was going to be every Friday night. I thought I would audition and see what it was all about. The show was at Club Rouge, which which is a local strip club that has 2 levels, the girl dancers upstairs and the male dancers downstairs. This show was downstairs in the Peppermints club. It was my first time in the club so I had no idea what it was going to be like. I was planning on bringing in my own chair to audition with, but I was so nervous that I didn’t bring it in. I should have, as I used one of the club chairs and they were not stable enough to bee able to do the acro tricks on. There was a pole on the stage, so I used that as well when I auditioned. Everyone seemed impressed by my performance. I gave them my contact info and waited to hear back. I was super excited about this opportunity…being able to perform non stage agin (paid!) and meeting new people, things I haven’t been able to do for 2 years.

Weeks past and I didn’t hear back from anyone about the show. Then the communication was wishy-washy and confusing about what was happening. I lost hope for a while that this will happen. Then I had phone call confirming that I will be part of the show and outlining the details. I was pumped! I invited my co-workers and studio friends to the show.

The week of the show, which was on Good Friday,  my kids went to a sleepover and brought home Covid.  They didn’t get too sick, but I was devastated that we spent 2 years being so careful to keep Covid out of our house, and then there we were after a sleepover. It was difficult to have to isolate from the kids but I was so worried that I would get Covid and would not be able to perform, I tested negative the morning of Good Friday, so I was good to perform!

During the afternoon, I was feeling a little off and lacking energy but I shrugged it off bad nerves, since I tested negative. I had spent the morning practicing my routines, as I was asked to have more of a choreographed routine prepared, verses the more freestyle I did the night before when I went to the club to practice. I freestyled during practice because I needed to get a better feel for the stage and pole (which is not a standard dance pole) before I choreographed routines. I arrived early, but really didn’t need to as there was no rehearsal before the show. The show itself, and was a bit of a mess. I was underwhelmed by the show and how I was pretty much ignored by one of the organizers. I had 2 routines, but only 1 was scheduled into the set list so I got penciled in last minute, being put closer the end of the show. The song for my second performance was completely wrong so I had to freestyle dance the best I could to an unknown song and scraping most of the routine that I planned.

The best part of the show is that a few of my co-workers and some of the girls from the studio came! I have very rarely had anyone come see me perform before so this made my heart so happy.

When I got home from the show, I did another Covid test as the little off feeling has gotten worse and I wasn’t feeling good. Positive. Fuck, here it is, I have the ‘vid and it’s Easter weekend. It hit me hard. It took all the straight to play Easter Bunny for the kids the Saturday night. I spent the Easter Sunday mostly in bed feeling like death, only able to muster enough energy to get up with the kids for their egg hunt, and then later for Easter dinner (which my husband have to make by himself) and I barely ate as I completely lost my appetite. I spent the majority of my 5 days off in bed, we had a snow storm that weekend so it was the perfect time to stay in bed. I was happy that I didn’t get anyone at work or the show sick though, I was so scared that I may have passed it on. Because I was so sick, I even had to delay our annual Easter photos a few days until I was well enough for photos.

After the show I communicated my feeling about the how the show went but the conversation didn’t go well and I will not be performing again at this show. It was their loss, as I sold quite a few tickets and all my friends said I had brought the better act to the show. I didn’t even get paid, despite selling more than enough tickets to pay what was agreed upon earlier. I was disappointed as I was hoping this would be an opportunity for self promotion and promotion of the studios, unfortunately I was told that this was not the venue for that despite the organizers self-promoting their own businesses and their sponsors. I was very let down of the whole experience, but I know my worth and I will not allow to be treated poorly.

After my 5 days, I went back to work but continued to have side effects from Covid for a month after. Extreme exhaustion, lack of appetite, prolonged headaches, muscle soreness were all symptoms I experienced. Every day I woke up, it was something different it seemed. I took that whole month off from running. I was so frustrated as just when I was feeling like a got one step ahead, physically back to where I was pre shutdowns, I took a giant step back.

When I did return to running, I found getting my cardio back took while. I found I was having a hard time breathing properly, which in turn my my running slower and overall more difficult. It has taken me a few solid weeks of running regularly to get back to feeing like where I was pre-covid.

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.