Lessons from the Pole 💃🏾
Finding the Right Words Day #8: FOUND
In January 2020, I made a resolution to be more social. I wanted to try to get out more, to stop thinking about doing things and actually do them. And maybe also make some new friends around the way. That resolution turned into a new hobby: pole fitness.
From my first class, I was hurt, for sure, but I was hooked. I loved how confident the music and learning what I could do with my body made me feel. I loved coming home with new bruises and new videos of myself doing things I didn’t think I was flexible or strong enough to do. I loved learning something new every week. And I loved making new friends.
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My new-found hobby only lasted a few weeks, unfortunately, because Covid-19 came along and getting out of the house more, meeting new people, and being social became the most ill-advised thing to do for nearly three years. By the time the pandemic was lifting, I had moved to a new state and found myself back in the same place I was that past January: wanting to get out of the house and meet new friends. Back to the pole I went!
I’ve been pole dancing consistently for about a year now. I’m not ready for a P-Valley open casting/casting call or anything but I’m not bad either, if I do say so myself. A solid C+, A- for effort. Starting, stopping, and restarting has made dancing more difficult but also more rewarding. I’ve learned a lot in the last 12 months about dancing and about life:
I don't love pole because I'm super good at it (because I'm not). I love pole because it's good for me.
CONFIDENCE IS KEY
My current instructor says my biggest issue (besides my need to strengthen my core) is CONFIDENCE. She tells me nearly every class: “You can do these moves, you just don’t think you can.” I’ve learned I have to believe I can do something before I can actually do it. I’ve learned to stop talking myself out of moves before I even try.
FAILING IS HOW YOU LEARN
In some spins and holds, I still refuse to lift my leg off the ground or hold a shape for more than a half a second before I let go. “I just don't want to fall and hurt myself!!!” is my usual excuse. The thing is, when you’re trying something new, you’re gonna fall (not far) and that’s probably a good thing. You’ll try and fail and realize it wasn’t as bad as you thought it’d be or… you’ll fall and you’ll know what not to do next time so you don’t fall again! You either learn to be less afraid or you learn to be more prepared. Every mess up is a learning experience.
RESPECT YOUR LIMITS
Even though messing up is okay, there’s also no shame in quitting. There are some moves that I just don’t know how to do… yet. And as important as it is to push yourself, it’s also important to rest so I don’t hurt myself or tire myself out too much to try again later. Rest is how you grow.
I used to think that before I could start pole dancing, I needed to hit the gym and get my arms super strong and get a six pack and I also needed as many shorts and cute bras as possible. You don't have to do a bunch of things to get ready before you start. You just have to start! And keep going. That’s how you see progress: consistency. When I remember to just have fun and to just keep trying, as opposed to pushing myself to be camera perfect, the dance becomes more flow-y and more fun.
DO IT FOR YOU
I don't love pole because I'm super good at it (because I'm not). I love pole because it's good for me. It’s helped me to become stronger, more flexible, more confident, and more patient. As someone who has a hard time putting herself first, pole has been excellent practice in doing something just for me, not for money, not for the Gram, not for any other reason than it’s fun and lets me spend time with friends doing what I love. And that's a good enough reason to do anything.
This entry was written under the prompt FOUND, Day 8 of the Finding the Right Words 30-Day Journaling Challenge. Follow along using the graphic above and write about whatever comes to mind with the corresponding prompt. Share with me using the tag #FTRW or email me at joliedoggett [at] substack.com.
There’s no wrong way to journal. You just gotta find the right words. Happy Writing!