Loving this post from Lux Atl, a pole dance teacher and performer:
Pole. Let’s keep it in perspective.
Social media can seem like a pole tricks arms-race, can’t it?
I have students that are not even a year into poling already distressed that they can’t do a flying cartwheel into a Iron X into a rainbow marchenko. I have pole students who think they “suck” because they can “only” do leg hangs.
I myself am sometimes that self-doubter. “Lux, you’ve fooled everyone, haven’t you,” I tell myself. “You’re just a stripper with a nice flow. You can’t even aerial deadlift from a twisted grip.”
Here’s the message I want to send today:
Dude. Even getting upside down on a pole is a feat of athleticism few will ever attain. If you’re hanging by one leg in a “mere” gemini, go ahead and consider yourself a bad-ass. Revisit the “normal” world for a second.
I am a dancer. I am an artist. Even still, it’s difficult for me to resist the pressure to “keep up.” Sometimes it makes me want to give up.
But if you ever find yourself, like me, sighing over your ineptitude as you scroll through IG, just remember: a stripper with a nice flow isn’t such a bad thing to be, after all. Indeed, a nice flow is more uncommon than fonjis these days.
Find your strengths and your passions; love them, and give yourself permission to be the dancer you really are, not the one you think you oughta be.
Let us not be hard on ourselves. As I have always said, half of the battle is won when you muster the courage to bring yourself to the studio. Shedding off your clothes and exposing your, well, challenged areas for all the world to see, is not exactly that easy. Putting that right leg on the pole and crossing it with your left leg while pulling your weight up is not that easy. Progress is progress.
I am a slow learner. Compared to my other friends who have already elevated themselves to higher pole levels, after two years I am still in the beginners level. But I continue to strive, to progress, little by little, bit by bit.
While it is true that I am intimidated by the strength and endurance of my co-polers, I choose to pole alongside those who are of higher levels than I am. That way, I am able to push myself, aspire to have the same flow as they do and maybe their greatness will somehow rub off on me. But as I have learned, I have to be patient with myself. My upper body strength will not happen over night. My weight reduction will not happen over a day of not eating rice. But I do know that I have to start somewhere and remember that in many things, my true competition is myself.
So I continue to focus on my progress, no matter how little it is. My friends celebrate my progress, no matter if it is just letting my hand go from a bird position or me having an effortless climb on spinny pole.
I made that decision a long time ago. I chose to be a better poler, than to just shine doing the basic tricks and out besting every beginner I meet. I choose to move forward, to challenge myself and be better. I hope everybody makes that choice too.