Monday, January 19, 2015

Negative Self-Talk: Crushing Pole Dancer Dreams Since 2009

This month's blog hop is about five things you should never say to crush a pole dancer's spirit.  Well, considering the only person who crushes my spirit is me, I am going to write about five things we shouldn't say to ourselves.  I am also giving a shout out to Pole Geek, who already wrote a great post on things you should never say to a plus-sized poler, and who used her last item to talk about negative self-talk.

1.  I can't do the same moves as everyone else, so this is pointless.  It's true.  Not every person can do every move.  Some people are stronger.  Some more flexible.  Some more fluid.  That's what makes us all interesting.  If we were all doing the same moves in exactly the same way, pole dance (and life) would be boring, and we'd already be done with it.  Find something you can do well and build around that.  Maybe it is a move -- I can do handstands, which really makes people cheer for me.  Maybe you are insanely fluid.  I remember a girl coming into class one day and she was saying she dropped out of a show because she could only do pirouettes well and she couldn't pirouette for an entire routine.  Maybe not but I get dizzy doing a pirouette, so I find them awesome to watch.  I bet she could start with some dizzying pirouettes and go into some other moves easier than she thinks.  But do yourself a huge favor and don't compare yourself to the rest of class.  We are all good at something!

2.  I can only make it to class once a week, so clearly I'm never going to get better at this.  Well, while it is certainly true that the more you practice, the better you will most likely become, you have to ask yourself why you started pole dancing in the first place.  Are you trying to compete or participate in high level showcases?  Then, sure, you should be practicing more often than once a week.  Are you exploring a new type of movement and enjoying the benefit of exercise?  Then there's nothing wrong with coming to class once a week.  I don't know about your class, but my weekly pole class wasn't just about exercising.  It was about seeing friends, laughing and enjoying the mental release that comes with closing my eyes and dancing.

3.  I'll try pole once I've lost five (ten...twenty...fifty) pounds.  If I waited for weight loss to do anything in life, I'd truly never do anything.  Get out there and try things now.  The best way to get strong for pole dance is to try it (notice I didn't say the best way to lose weight for pole dance...).  I have very literally spent my entire life worrying about my weight.  Drink Slim Fast, drop 20 pounds in a week.  Weight Watchers, yo-yo up and down.  Even after gastric bypass, I have been as low as 180 pounds (extremely slim for my frame) and have crept back up to 260 pounds (and have been every weight in between).  If I only did fun things during the times that I felt like I was thinner or was at least losing weight, I would have wasted most of my life.  I'm over that.  I get that there may be physical limitations based on what I weigh (I think zip-lining has a 250 pound limit, but I didn't enjoy zip-lining anyway), but for the most part, if I want to do something, I go do it.

4.  I can't wear those tiny shorts.  Okay, then don't.  But after the first class of sliding around in your yoga pants, you won't be able to wait to get into some shorts.  Our very first aerial move (called a sliding prayer) requires a little skin and stick.  Pretty much everyone who tells me they don't want to wear the short-shorts is in them by class 2 or 3 (and I would say the majority of them are looking for shorts in the lost and found before their first class is even over).  One thing I learned in my class is that no one is looking at me or my cottage cheese thighs.  They're all too worried about themselves!  So bring your yoga pants but make sure you have some shorts hidden in your bag.  Trust me, you'll thank me later!

5.  I can't pole dance because my family and friends will think I'm a whore.  The stereotype is still there.  I still get the lifted eyebrow when I tell some people that I pole dance (however, more often I get the "holy shit, that is so cool, when can I come try it" reaction).  So I am careful about who I tell (not always something I reveal on the first day of a new job).  I realize that my personality is pretty gruff.  I don't take a lot of shit from people, I don't waste time with people who aren't worth my time and I generally don't care what people think about me.  That's actually not true.  I do somewhat care what people think, but I am grown up enough to know that what they think about me says more about them than it does about me.  And I remind myself of that when dealing with many, many, many, many people in my life.  The pole dancer in me says, who cares if pole dance came from the strip clubs?  Mind your business.  The real-life-job-holding-religious-family-having person in me realizes it's never just that simple.  Pole dance certainly isn't for everyone.  But I would hope that you would try a class (and encourage the haters to join you) before passing judgment.  Because most of the haters I've brought to class can't use their arms the next day and have a new-found respect for pole dance.

Can you think of some soul-crushing things you've said to yourself during your pole dance journey?  Please share them below in the comments!  Also, please read the other entries in this month's blog hop!

1 comment: