Thursday, April 16, 2015

Pole dancing

Originally written for Pole Fitness Seattle.

Almost four years ago, I had just come out of a demoralizing relationship and break-up. (He was really, REALLY pretty, so I chose to overlook the fact that he was a self-centered jerk until he abruptly moved back to Canada.) In the interest of distracting myself with something new and fun, I signed up for an introductory pole dancing course. It turned out to be the perfect choice. 

I was able to lose myself in the slow sensuality of the warm-ups, the technical challenge of pole spins and transitions, and the pleasure and giddiness of performing for and with my fellow students. I don't have a gymnastic or dance background, so everything I learned forced my body to move in totally new ways. Although yoga and meditation have never come easily to me, dragging my fingertips across the floor or running them over my hips taught me a new and delicious way to practice mindfulness, to connect with myself and my surroundings, to slow my heart rate and to quiet my mind. I felt stronger, more confident, and sexier than ever before.

Unfortunately, I got laid off from my beloved job at Planned Parenthood at the end of 2011, and I took a financially-motivated break from pole that lasted nearly three years. Last October, I decided that I had fantasized about returning to pole too much to put it off any longer, so I enrolled in another introductory course, fearing that I had forgotten everything. However, I was delighted to find that my body still knew what to do. Maybe when you really love something, your muscle memory lasts longer.

People are always saying that when you find the right kind of fitness for you, it's no longer a chore. I had never found that thing, until I found pole dancing. It's the thing that gets me moving, the thing I look forward to, the thing that I miss when I can't make it to class. The community is so encouraging, and I love all the different kinds of classes I can take. Even though it takes me longer to learn than some, and it will take a while to build the strength and skill that I need to dance the way I want, I'm rarely discouraged because pole makes me happy. I may never be the best, but that's not what it's about for me. It's enough just to dance.

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