Originally written in January 2015 with a few updates
So I thought my 2013 Pole Dance Year was, “a fucking bust” according to my “The Best of 2013″ Pole Year Review. And while 2014 wasn’t a fucking bust and was full of performances, classes and pure dance flight nights, I still have wondered just what the fuck is going on with pole dance for me. In October, I shared some of the “Things I’m Afraid to Tell You” regarding the pole dance industry. It would explain part of the reason I left S Factor or Body and Pole or Pole Speak. Most of my issues with why I’m no longer a consistent student at any studio has to do with poor business practices, deceit, lies, ego and sometimes just utter bullshit.
As the Co-President of the Pole Dancing Bloggers Association, we also spent 2014 saying “NO’ more than we said “YES” which eventually led to some down time to figure out just what we were going to do with our brand. Growing pains, I suppose. But the good kind! In all of this, I realize I spent more time running a pole blogger group versus actually pole dancing. By the end of the year, I knew I was jaded. Not only jaded, but my personal pole blog suffered. I could write a blog on taking a good pole picture but no longer could I write a blog on the epiphanies I experienced from a pole class specifically from S Factor. They may have MANY issues as every studio has them but being a weekly student of S Factor changed my life, my writings and my mind and after a 2 year hiatus, I acknowledged it was time to go back.
This is where the Pole Dancing Bloggers Association’s monthly blog hop came into play into play. Our theme for January was 5 Spirit Crushing Things Never to Say specifically to beginner pole dancers. Everyone had their own spin on this topic and so mine has a unique view too. While I am not a beginner pole dancer, I am beginning again. Therefore my post is, What Not to Say To Yourself When You Begin Again. After a 2 year break of consistent pole classes, I’m starting again. It took me a few months to accept that I wanted to go back to S Factor and during those few months, I’ve said some pretty shitty things to myself. This is coming off of going to about 15 to 20 hours of pole classes a week in 2012 to 1 to 2 pole classes a month in 2014. This is what not to say to yourself when you begin again.
1. The Last Five Years Were A Waste
The evil sister twins of that phrase would be, “I’ll Have To Start All Over.” and “Too Much Time Has Passed To Go Back Now.” The truth is while I may have lost muscle tone and probably have lost my outside leg hang, I have gained so much from pole dance beyond the physical aspects. The mental, emotional, spiritual, sexual and sensual sides of me that grew because of pole dance have continued to evolve. What I learned of Bravery, Boldness, Courage and Strength still live in my bones and in my mind. Nothing is a waste. Everything was worth it. And I know for a fact, some parts of pole dance are like riding a bicycle after a few years. Some of it comes back in your muscle memory. Some things I will have to learn again. But its okay to begin where ever I am, no matter where I was before.
2. All My Friends Are Much Better Than Me
There’s one friend who initially judged me for being a pole dancer circa 2010. Now she competes, is a pole instructor and if she could marry a pole, she probably would. She’s far more advanced than me even though she’s been doing it for less than 2 years and I’ve been pole dancing for 5 years. There are other friends who were at the same level as me but have surpassed me. There are friends who were always more advanced than me and were teachers but now they fucking levitate on the pole. So many people are better than me and a good portion of them overestimate my ability and think I’m on their level thus freestyle High Heeled Hottie Nights really is, “Basic Pole Sheena and the Levitating Pole Wonder Stars.” I know this is all bullshit. In one of my 3 powerful secrets to confidence, I reveal how I always know someone is better or worse than me, so there is no point in comparing. Instead, what I can be, is proud and happy for all my pole friends no matter what level they are at. And what I can be, is secure enough in the fact that everybody and their fucking mama can do a split and a jade and a brass monkey but when it comes to sexy, seducing freestyles….there is no one like me. 😉 What I can be secure in, is knowing that we all have our special thing and we can just stay in our own lanes while cheering for everyone else in theirs.
3. I Already Know How to Do A Fireman
I have wondered what level of pole dance I should return to. I ended as a 2 year Level 6 student at S Factor and a Level 2/3ish student at Body & Pole and I’ve wondered if I’d have to begin as as beginner. And if I had to begin as a beginner, would I be bored? Would I get annoyed at having to learn a basic move again? Or even if I go to Level 6 at S Factor, I know some classes will involve moves I’ve already been taught. Be that as it may, I know I have to let go of using that excuse to hinder me. For one, even if 10 teachers taught me the same spin, they would each teach me a different way. And besides, if I can master it on my right hand, I can spend my time learning the same basic moves on my left hand. Or I can see if its possible to do the move with my eyes closed. Or is it possible to enter or exit the move in a different way? Or is it possible to add the spin onto another combo that I never have before? The point is, I know returning back to pole classes, no matter the level, will entail going over things I’ve already spent years learning. But the point is, in every move, transition, spin and trick…there is more to learn.
4. I Don’t Have… Enough Money or Enough Time
I left S Factor when money wasn’t an issue. I was working a Wall Street job that paid me a LOT of money. But a year later circa 2013, I wasn’t working that Wall Street job. I took a massive pay cut to develop my own brand. And even with my day job now, I don’t make what I made on Wall Street. So money is different for me. Besides, I now work a full time job, then my time goes towards my brand and my clients, then my time goes to my other projects, then my time goes to the people in my life and etc. So I told myself, “right now I can’t afford S Factor consistently and I don’t have the time.” The truth of the matter is that you will make time and invest in what you want to. There is always a way.
If I really wanted it, I could eat ramen noodles to save up for class, knowing what it meant to me and what it did for me. Life’s not that bad though. I don’t have to resort to ramen….yet. I even recently looked at my finances and realized I had over $350 worth of autopay bills and such that I wasn’t actually using. I was paying $99 a month for classpass and wasn’t using classpass. That $99 could go towards S Factor. And if I wanted it so bad, I could add one photo shoot a month with a client, so just that photoshoot paid for S Factor classes and more. The point is, there is always a way. PLUS, at the Emotion in Motion workshop by Bernadette Pleasant, I won a complimentary 8 week S Factor course. DA FUCK!?!?! Even the universe is telling me to shut up with the excuses.
5. I Will Be Going Against EVERYTHING I Stand For
The main thing I’ve said to myself is that going back to most of the New York pole studios would go against everything I know to be true. Especially as it relates to ethics, business, character, honor, integrity, honesty, TRUTH and more. Going back would mean giving my money to people who have mistreated me, hurt me, tried to screw me or whatever. This little monologue sounds a bit like a little violin playing a motherfucking song that I am so tired of hearing. I miss pole dance. I miss moving meditation. I miss S Factor and their mirrorless and dark red lights. I miss Ilov and the assignments and their 2 hour classes. Besides, I don’t have to do business with any of these studios. I can just be a student. I can just go to class, get what my body needs and leave. I can go back and create boundaries to protect what’s important to me. I don’t know whose quote this is but it sums up why I’m morally ok with going back to the various New York pole studios: Sometimes the first step to forgiveness is realizing that the other person is batshit crazy.
I don’t think I’m the only person who becomes jaded with the pole industry here and there. I have friends who take breaks for whatever the reason may be. And some never return. Others start all over. Some pick up where they left off. We all have a different kind of pole journey. But if you find yourself like me, at a place where you’re ready to begin again…but some thing is still stopping you, write those things out. As mentioned, for months I’ve talked about going back to a regular pole practice and yet I didn’t do it. Then when I sat down and wrote out the things going through my mind, I realized, these five phrases were blocking a beautiful experience I’ve been yearning for again.
The caveat to all of this is that this post doesn’t just apply to pole dance. All five of these points apply to any area of life. If you find yourself beginning again with a career, relationship, or hobby remember that none of what you did before was a waste. It was all worth it and helped you get to where you are now. Its true your friends may be further along in love or their career status than you, but that is okay. Celebrate them and focus on yourself and your continued growth. Beginning again means you will be faced with some things you already experienced before. Don’t resist it. Don’t say, “I already know that.” Just be open to a new perspective of something you’ve encountered before. If you really are ready for the next phase in your life, whether it be pole, love, …whatever, do what it takes to make it happen. You may feel resources are limited, but invest if you truly want it. And sometimes, just fucking forgive or let it go and at the same time, create boundaries.