I suffer from anxiety; I think I have been pretty open about this fact. Through the years I have worked through it the best I can. This has included a healthier diet, many attempts at exercise and even therapy. The end result did lead to medication for a time when my symptoms were so bad I could barely leave the house.
Fast forward to present time and I still live with anxiety, I just consider it “under control.” With that being said, I still get bad days. The emotional turmoil, the panic attacks out of nowhere, and the inability to just show up. (You know; the sudden excuses you make because you just can’t bring yourself to go to Girls Night.)
For 2019 I wanted to live by the motto “Have courage, and be kind.” (Yes, I am a Disney fan.) What better way to move forwards into a new year than to try new things? In order to try new things, you need to have a little courage. (And a little kindness never hurt. How else will you make friends along the way?) I don’t typically do the resolutions for exercise or diet, because they feel mundane and they aren’t really my end goal. Sure, I’d love to have that perfect beach body and eat so healthy that I live until I’m 120, but is that really what I want out of life? I want to be happy; that is the end game.
I signed up for Pole Dancing classes. I know, I know, that was a sharp left turn from where we just were. You did read the title, right? I wanted to try something new, meet some new people and throw some exercise in there. What brought me to this glorious decision? Well, I have tried Pole classes years ago when I was living in Connecticut, and I really enjoyed them. When I saw them offered here in the South, I really wanted to go, but I didn’t have anyone jumping at the chance to try it out with me.
I figured the best way to make the kind of friends who want to go to Pole Dancing class are the ladies already at the Pole Dancing classes. That meant signing up, and going it alone. (Here’s where my anxiety kicked in.)
I signed up; this was the easy part. The pole dancing studio also offers a kids class in aerial arts that my oldest daughter really wanted to try.
We showed up, I was able to meet the owner and get a feel for the place. This is a pretty important step in the anxiety process. I need to feel out the environment, and get a sense of the people I will be surrounding myself with. My daughter loved the aerial class, and was excited to go again.
I had made the decision that I would show up the following night, alone, for my first Pole Class.
No photography is allowed in the studio out of respect for the girls attending. These women are just here to let loose and have some fun, and they don’t want to end up on someones Instagram account. Cool, I can get down with that. No photo’s of me in the background making an absolute fool of myself.
My first moment of panic before I even left for the class was, what do I wear? I knew what to wear; but I didn’t want to just show up in booty shorts and a tank top. This resulted in 15 minutes of digging through my closet trying to find something to wear over the shorts. Cool, found something. Now I’m dressed, I have my water and yoga mat for stretching; but when do I leave? I know what time the class starts, but I don’t want to show up too early, and I absolutely don’t ever want to walk in late. So there I was; sitting on the couch playing a game on my phone. Well, I tried to play a game on my phone; In reality, I kept checking the Goddess Facebook page, and their website to make sure I had the class time right (and to check for any cancellations.) This is anxiety at it’s finest.
Time to go! The studio is about 9 minutes away from me, and incredibly easy to find. I show up, and it’s dark. I don’t just mean the sun has set (which it has, because it’s winter and gets dark at 4:30), I meant the studio. No lights at all. Okay, I still happened to be 10 minutes early, and maybe they don’t open the doors until right at 6. 6:01 PM, and nothing. I’m desperately checking my phone, thinking I made some mistake. There’s a car parked next to mine, with a woman sitting in it, so this relaxes me a little. I text the owner about class, and she responds that she is on her way. Okay, I’m calm now; only a brief freak out.
I’m a mess. Class size is small, and the ladies are great, but I am like a fish out of water. This studio is much different than the one I experienced a few years ago. I was expecting instruction and tricks, and to walk me through it. Instead, I got choreography I don’t know, and Pole tricks that is going to take me a moment to master. (And when I say a moment, I mean like 6-9 months). While the other ladies are doing a simple spin around the pole, I am still trying to pick myself up off the floor from the last time we dropped our butts to the floor. Ouch.
I would like to point out that this studio emphasizes that you can go to any class, and be any skill level. I didn’t find this to be 100% true. This felt more like, keep up or get left behind. I realize that the girls who have been doing this for awhile move at a faster pace, but a little direction would have been nice.
Overall, the class was a success. The women are fun to be around, it is truly a judgement free zone and I was very sore the next day! My second attempt at class was a bit like the first; I was just trying to keep up. I got some direction from the instructor this time (and my fellow Pole ladies), but I think that was because I got so lost in the choreography that is was hard to ignore. Towards the end of class the ladies all broke out their dancing shoes (see example photo below), and I felt a little out of place; and short.
I have since been several times to take my oldest daughter to her aerial class, and to do some of their strength building classes for myself. I haven’t returned to a pole class due to my schedule with my other kids. I am still deciding if this is something I want to continue. If I do, it wouldn’t be for the awesome tricks I could eventually master, but for the women who go there. I have already bonded with a few, and the whole experience keeps me laughing (mostly at myself).
There’s more to Pole than just physical fitness; It’s about letting loose and having a good time, no matter how experienced you are. I’d say the only requirement is knowing how to laugh at yourself, because you are going to mess up (a lot). I might just invest in a pair of those dance shoes after all.