I ended 2016 with posting a recent picture of me and my body stats:
December 31, 2016
Body Fat: 23%
Waist: 27 inches
I posted it to hold myself accountable towards my goals and to keep pushing.
I started stretching as I really want to gain flexibility. I have been using the techniques I learned in the flexibility workshop last October.
My goal is to train 5 days a week:
1. Silks (class)
2. Stretching (at home)
3. Pole (classes)
4. Hoop (at home)
5. Pole (at home)
I don’t have set days for the training at home, as it will vary with my schedule. The first step was setting goals, the next step is to commit to them!!
I received my Christmas gift from my husband, which an lyra hoop from Juggle Gear. The day I received it, I couldn’t wait to get it up and rigged. I was afraid I wouldn’t remember the tricks I learned from the workshop I did last August. It didn’t take long to get it all back though!
At the end of December, I participated in the Paradisaea winter recital. I worked hard on a drop called mission impossible that I was having difficultly with. The week before the show, I finally nailed it and was confident I could execute the trick in the show.
The first show went great, all my tricks went perfectly. The only thing was that I was in the back for the whole show. I climbed really high so that my family could see me in the back.
So in the second show, I was offered to switch spots to the front during the mission impossible trick. I was excited to be up front, but I could feel my body was really tired from a very long weekend. After I did the drop, I realized that the fabric was too high and tight on my waist and I was stuck 7 feet off the ground. My instructor had to get the ladder to get me down! I was so embarrassed and disappointed in myself. But I had 2 other tricks to do so I kept on going. I chalked it up to a learning experience and didn’t feel so bad as a few others made mistakes as well.
When I got home from my performance, I was on a high. I posted a few pictures on my facebook and was getting a lot of compliments. I received a message from a friend from grade school and when I first opened it I thought it was going to be positive. But then as I read it my heart sank and was left speechless.
I have privately shared the message with a few close friends. Everyone who read it was furious, told me it’s not true and gave me a lot of compliments. It made me momentarily feel better. But as the days went on, it was stuck in my head and was eating away at me.
I had been eating very healthy before the performance, but a after that I started binging for comfort. My mood had been all over the place and been having difficulty looking myself in the mirror. After 2 weeks, I am a mess. I gained 6 pounds, my confidence shattered and been upset that everything I worked so hard for is slipping away.
I finally pulled myself out of depression and decided I was going to use this experience in a positive way. I also created a freestyle video as a release for myself and posted it with the message.
I was very grateful for all the wonderful comments I received. Although I posted not to get validation but more so talk about body shaming. It’s not ok to do to anyone! I felt like I could use my experience to highlight how devastating it is to someone. The media has created an unrealistic image of what women are supposed to look like, which is stressful enough. Add bullying from your peers and it’s enough to create serious mental health problems. Be encouraging of others. Support them when they are doing something to better themselves. If you are jealous, maybe examine yourself before taking it out on someone who is doing well. And if you don’t like what someone posts, simply unfriend.
The week leading up to the show, I practiced at home with my costume on to make sure it all worked. I tried to eat healthy and get lots of rest.
The day of the show, I went to the venue to rehearse my routine. I realized I was too slippery because I had put on coconut oil on my legs, so I had to shower. I had a healthy lunch and got some rest. When I got to the show in the evening with my costume, hair and makeup done, I hit me how far I have come. I was in awe that I was performing on the same with the girls I have been inspired by.
My performance went well, I was quite happy with it. I did a role reversal of 50 shades of grey, where I was the dominant to the submissive male, played by the MC of the show. It was awesome seeing my vision come alive on stage. What I was most nervous about was not toppling over in my 9 inch Pleaser heels.
What I had learned from watching the more advanced girls was I need to relax and smile on stage. That will come in time as I get more comfortable on stage.
I spent most of October and November training preparing for my first professional pole performance. I did a flexibility workshop at Paradisaea with Deflying Fitness. It was 4 hours of stretching and contortion, or better named contorture. I trained hard at both Paradisaea and SASS, working on my stamina, endurance and of course strength.
I pole kittened and VerticaLove’s Great White North Pole Competition. While I was there, me and one of my instructors got to take the stage during intermission and dance with our Aura heels on. A 360 video captured our impromptu freestyle on stage. I got a chance to feel what it was like dancing on stage with an audience and it was so much fun!
I celebrated my 33rd birthday and had a wonderful day. I would have never thought that at 33, I would be the strongest that I’ve ever been. I’ve found myself through pole, and so excited to see where this journey will continue to take me.
At the beginning of October, my husband and I went to Jamaica to celebrate my birthday and out 10 year wedding anniversary. My mom watched the kids at home, so it was just the 2 of us. We had the best time, and of course I found a pole to do a few tricks on!
My husband is my biggest supporter and encourages me to achieve my goals. He helps in any way he can from watching me learn a trick or routine and giving feedback to staying up late at night to alter my costume to make sure it fits perfectly. He is proud of my accomplishments and have seen the changes in me over the last few years. We have had our share of bumps in our marriage and it does take a lot of work. I found that since I really discovered how to love myself, that it has helped my marriage as well.
At the end of May, I had a professional photo shoot. For the first time, I felt like a real model. I had so much time fun and look forward to doing more shoots in the future. I received so many positive comments about my photos that it was really overwhelming.
In July, my husband and I went on a car rally with 60 exotic cars. We decaled the roof of the car with a pole dancer. We packed my pole into the Viper and brought it with us. I set it up in our hotel rooms in Montreal and Atlantic City to pole. Our room in New York City was too small to set it up. I got the vibe from a few girls that that didn’t like me very much, but I didn’t care as I met lots of other wonderful people.
I managed to get some outdoor poling in as well. Unfortunately, a neighbor likes it too much and made an inappropriate advance on me. I was disturbed by that, but I refused to stop me from doing what I love in my own backyard. There is nothing like being high in the air, looking up at the clouds and the sun’s warm rays beaming down on you.
I participated in an open house for Paradisaea in August with my kids. My son didn’t want to take part on the silks, but my daughter did. She had a lot of fun but she’s only 5, so I had to help her a lot. I think I will put her in classes in a few years when she is able to do more on her own.
I also took a lyra or aerial hoop workshop at Paradisaea. I had so much fun learning aerial tricks on a different apparatus. After the class, I decided a hoop will be my next addition to my dance room.
I spent several months working on choreographing my own routine for the first time. It was supposed to be for a spring showcase at SASS, which the date was pushed back several times. Then it was cancelled and postponed until the fall due to a lack of performers ready with a routine. When my silks instructor heard it was cancelled, she invited me to perform my routine at our silks recital.
I altered my costume a bit as the show was for all ages. I had to change my song to a Beatles song as that was the theme. I picked Free As A Bird and it fit my routine well. I spent hours preparing for the show.
On rehearsal day, I set up the 2 stage poles to practice. The show was in a gym and it was very hot. I was very worried that I would be too sweaty to execute my shoulder mount in the routine.
The day of the show, I was beyond nervous. When I got out there, I concentrated on my music and my movements and didn’t look at the audience. I did bail on my shoulder mount as I was just too slippery. Overall, I was happy how it went but was going to take the shoulder mount out of the second show
The silks group routine I wasn’t nearly as nervous for as I wasn’t out there alone. It went well. My husband and kids came to support me and my husband recorded my performances.
Between the first and second show, I was told that there was some negative comments about my pole routine posted on the events Facebook page. I was asked to tone down the routine or perhaps take it out of the second show. I thought about it for a bit and decided that I did not want to change my art because of a bully, so I didn’t perform. I went home for a bit to clear my head, and went back just to perform the group silks routine at the end of the show.
After the show, I bought a big bottle of wine, relaxed in my hot tub and vented to some pole friends. I took solace in hearing other friends stories of facing negative comments through their pole career. The stigma around pole is sometimes difficult for a dancer to deal with. But it’s our passion and art and we are tough girls that will face the negativity head on and will not let it defeat us.
I heard about a pole showcase called Something Wicked by Verticalove in Hamilton. They were looking for pole cleaners, or pole kittens, so I volunteered. I got to watch the performances, then went on stage and climbed the poles to clean them between performances. Dancers from across Ontario, including a few from my own studio SASS, and the States come to perform and they were all incredible!
I had a chance to feel what it was like to be onstage in heels and booty shorts. By the end of the second night, I met so many amazing new people and decided that I wanted to be a performer next time.
A few weeks later, I joined a few girls from SASS at the bar Southsides in Fort Erie promoting the studio. A girl set up her stage pole in the bar and we took turns doing tricks. I got really sick after Verticalove, so performing was very challenging but I toughed it out.
It was actually a bit of a dream come true. When I was in the beginners class, my instructor Shanyn told my class one night that she and her SASS girls were performing at a bar that night. That night, as I was learning basic spins, I dreamt of the day I would be good enough to do something like that. There I was, 2 years later living out something I thought only was a dream. That night I felt like my hard work was starting to pay off.
At the end of January, I seen an ad for adult silks classes at Paradisaea. I have seen the singer Pink perform on silks and a few girls using silks at SASS and it looks so pretty. I thought that would be my next step and compliment my pole training well. I signed up for a one hour class per week to try it out.
When I entered my first class, I thought because I do pole, silks would be easy. However, I was very mistaken. It takes incredible amount of strength to pull yourself up on moving pieces of fabric. My arms felt like rubber after one hour but I loved it.
As I went each week, I was stronger than the week before. I was seeing the difference in pole too. A few months into silks and I could finally shoulder mount! I always started stretching more and got my splits which helped get a flatter jade split. I not only was getting stronger and more flexible, but more confident too.