Nine weeks ago, I dislocated my kneecap. Before you jump to conclusions, this did not happen on the pole. This happened doing a lunge. Yes, you read that right, a LUNGE on the floor. It was severe enough for the studio to call an ambulance, and for me to be in crutches for supposedly six weeks. Six weeks of no pole, you’ve got to be joking. Not when I had my first performance in fifteen years, only seven days away. Fuck your six weeks… I’ve got a showcase to do.
Désiré’s Word Vomit
Yeah, you heard right, I’m officially a pole dancer. And not the type that strips for a living. For the last two months, I’ve been consistently going to pole fitness training and I’m hooked! I am now at a level where I can comfortably start sharing my journey and growth (because I can actually get off the ground now!). My first stage gig is on April 14th, so that’s also going to be a nerve-wreaking experience in my very near future.
Pole is so good for the body. I cannot say the last time I felt this good. It’s been a hard beginning because pole is not for the lighthearted, but man, it’s so worth it. It hurts. It burns. It bruises. I love it. It’s the only physically abusive relationship that I will condone. Every day, I feel more muscle growth, but that’s because I’m starting on literally no muscle strength. I couldn’t even hold myself up in a plank or do a single sit-up, far less lift my legs up to tuck or even dream of doing an invert or a climb. Now, I’m climbing, inverting (kinda) and able to smash level three moves!
It’s a multidisciplinary sport mix of strength, weights, core, gymnastics, flexibility, endurance, aerobic, and dance. And make sure to point your fucking toes!! You’ve gotta build your core to lift you up the pole, build your arms and shoulders for pole pull-ups, build your grip strength to keep you from slipping, and build your lung capacity to endure fast-paced floor work and dance transitions into pole spins. Yeah, it’s complicated stuff.
This means that I have to eat properly if I want to continue progressing and not getting winded before the end of classes. My recovery rate is quick; normally after one sleep, I’m 100% back to normal, but this is because I generally eat pretty healthily. After a solid six weeks of training, doing about 10-12 hours a week across four days, I’ve not been feeling as great after a class, and I’ve been getting slightly more knackered. My shoulder joints have been pinching too. Granted, I’ve been doing more difficult stuff, but still, I’m bowing out of classes I normally power through. So, diet needs a change here. Eggs and hash browns in the morning, my usual salad for lunch, egg on toast post training session, three bananas daily and an increase in hydration to four litres a day should do the trick. This is what I’ll be doing for the next three months, so let’s look at the coming results! (The results after the last few days with this diet and almost complete rest have been positive so far.)
Since starting pole, my fibromyalgia has been nonexistent; like somehow, pole has magically made it disappear. The increase in blood flow from exercise and strength training, along with my increase in protein and hydration seems to be a positive impact on something that has held me back for the last eight years. In terms of pain, the only thing I’ve really been plagued with is achy finger joints from aerial silks, and my shoulder joints being uncooperative in the last two weeks; both of which seem to be getting better with time.
My sleep has been getting better too, with more restful sleep with less disturbances at night. Getting out of bed is slightly easier than before too. I know that is mostly mental, but it’s easier for me to get up in the morning, exercise, shower and get breakfast sorted all before I leave at 7am. Now, it’s just a matter of getting a solid workout session in before 6am, which is something I’m working on this spring. Gotta get that summer body!
If you have any form of anxiety or have self confidence or self esteem issues, try pole. It might be intimidating at first, but after a while, you’ll become a whole new person. I had crippling anxiety before pole and now I’m skipping to classes and the most eager to try new moves. It’s created a whole new mental shift for me, and my confidence in life in general has improved. I’m still battling with my feelings of worthiness, often feeling like I’m not good enough after being rejected (which I think might just be normal). But I’m more comfortable with trying new things, new classes and pushing myself now. And I could have never achieved this in a gym. (I personally hate gyms, so dance is a great way for me to stay fit, build strength and get the needed exercise without having to touch disgusting equipment or have your ass stared at by some gross pervert “doing” bicep curls while you’re trying to get them booty gains.)
One last positive note of pole, I’m 100000% more focused than I was before. I was a mess pre-pole; I couldn’t focus, I was depressed, I was uninspired and generally deflated, making me more unproductive and more depressed. Downward freaking spiral. But, I’ve been growing and progressing with pole, which has given me some structure to my life. Outside of my full-time job, currently I have pole and writing. I have written more since I’ve been poling in the last two months, than I have in the entire of 2017, and that’s including the book on chakras that I published last summer. Today alone, I’ve written more than 3500 words, which is more than I’ve written for the entire winter. I’d call that serious progress!
I’ll be updating this blog column with all things pole related, so nutrition, stretches and general progress! And as always, thank you so much for sharing my work and donating where you can. Every contribution helps to keep this site running, and allows me to provide better content for you 🙂
This is going to be a rant. You’re duly warned.
Four words I hate to hear in a sentence, especially when it’s work related. “I don’t have time for this”, doesn’t mean that you don’t have time. It means you don’t want to do it, or you don’t have the patience for it.
So much work is being pushed aside because someone “doesn’t have time”. If you don’t have time to do your job, or take the dog for a walk, or cook a proper dinner for your kids, then what do you have time for? You’ve caught up on every episode of Walking Dead, Vampire Diaries and House of Cards. You’ve seen all the latest films too. But you don’t have time. You know what you don’t have? Priorities.
So many times I’ve seen projects being pushed aside because no one has time to do it; and as a result nothing gets done. This isn’t a time issue. It’s a priority issue. Most of us have to think about hundreds of things a minute. We’re exhausted as a species. But we’re also wasting a lot of time doing things that aren’t progressing us. We’re wasting time watching dozens of television series rather than dedicating an hour to exercise and taking the dog for a walk.
So. 220 words in; what is the solution. A list. A long list for each facet of our lives. Everyone at work wants something done with a due date of “yesterday”. Yesterday is not a deadline. Next week is a more viable option.
Clear your head and write down all the things you have to get done. Take that list and decide how long each task is realistically going to take and put that in your calendar or diary. Do three things a day from that list. For the daily or weekly repetitive stuff, make them repeated events in your calendar. Use your calendar like a day to day time manager.
If you have a task that is running over time, you have to decide if you need to complete it and bump something else, or work on it a little more later on. That’s where the priorities come into play. You have to decide if this must be done today. And if so, then complete it and bump the next task.
Auditing is important here. You need to make sure that you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing. For instance, I used to make note of what I was supposed to do in one calendar, and then wrote what I actually did in another. This allowed me to realistically plan other events and tasks because I had a record of what was done. And because it was in my calendar, I was able to look back with ease.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Most of us have eight hours at the office and we’re supposed to get eight hours of sleep, so that leaves eight possible working hours in a day. Factor in your commute to the office, and all the daily routine things you’re supposed to do, even eating, sleeping, and getting dressed for work. Put all of that into a digital calendar. Soon, you’ll have a clear picture of what your day really looks like and where you could or should be spending your time.
So how much time do you really have? And how much of it are you wasting?
For months, I’ve stared at a blank Scrivener page on my iPad, paralysed by the thought of vulnerability and showing my battle scars. I’ve spent years fantasising over the emotional rollercoaster it will be to finally tell my story; to finally show the world what reality can be for me, that I’m not just a pretty face, but made of cast iron, battered and hardened.
But that paralysis keeps me satisfied with the fantasy of ever actually saying anything at all. The thought alone becomes enough gratification to quell the beast inside, the beast who remains caged in Pandora’s Box, along with all my other dark secrets.
When I reflect, it’s amazing that I’ve actually reached 27, but it’s a blaring reminder of how resilient I am, and how unstoppable. The last year has been about finding a quiet spot to lick my wounds and wrap my head around the last twenty years of chaos. I wouldn’t believe this story if someone told it to me; and it’s to the point where I’m now starting to doubt my own memories, only to be corrected when my mother, witness to the darkest of my years, reminds me of something I once thought was a figment of my own construction.
How the hell did I get here? I was born into chaos. Then shuffled into more chaos, and life began this game of raising the stakes once the dust begins to settle. From years of illness, to living as an immigrant in my home country, to growing up as a vulnerable girl in a sexualised society, to a painful long distance relationship, to living with nine years of sexual abuse, having a sociopath for a father and a mother who was so numb she become a spectator, and losing everything I had ever worked towards, sanity included. None of that is in chronological order, but my word. What a fucking mess. It’s like wild dogs have torn up a coup of chickens in my living room. And the ironic thing is, all I have ever wanted was PEACE. Just a week of my life where everything behaves in a manner that is acceptable and logical, just long enough for me to breathe.
Am I frustrated? Yes. Angry? Yes. Hurt? Beyond. But I’m not broken, and I’m not weak. I’m only gaining strength in every single adversity life seems to enjoy throwing at me.
Writing is my love, my desire. Yes, I fucking wrote that; move along now. Writing is the most painful, difficult thing I’ve ever found myself doing. So, it’s about finding consistent strength to keep writing the books in my head, and the blogs that need to be read. Yes, I’ve written a billion times about how hard it is. Any passionate writer will tell you how hard it is to write while managing a full time job and a life outside of work and writing. It seems almost impossible for me, because I work on sudden bursts of energy. But I’m working with it, because my life wasn’t painful for nothing. It meant something, and I’ll be damned if I just leave that story unwritten.
I’ve found my voice. My wounds are healing, slowly. My fuel is my passion, littered with love, anger and frustration until I run out of fuel. Then my writing purpose will change from that of frustration, to love and happiness and ice cream and rainbows and unicorns. Because history has proven that until I make yet another drastic change, life will keep kicking me to the floor.
Cheers to a rollercoaster 2018. I do hope everyone is ready for the ride… myself included. gulp