Behind the Poles Faces of Pole Fitness Seattle Ashlee
1 Year Pole-O-versary...
this is her story
In November 2013 I bumped into a glamorous girl in Belltown who turned out to be a stage kitten for the Vertical Cabaret. She invited my boyfriend and I to the midnight showing. Opening the show for Miss Australia Jamilla Deville were many women whom we discovered were not professional dancers, but 'regular' people like you and I. These women slinked across the stage, shimmied up and around the poles and flipped upside down sporadically and effortlessly. I was in awe their strength, sensuality and grace. They turned out to be instructors and students from PFS. When the show was over all I could think was, " I want to do that. I need to be able to do that."
But I waited another 6 months before I signed up for my first intro series. I made excuses for myself for months. "I'm too tired, "I don't have time," "I can't afford it right now", "I feel fat," and so on... but I couldn't stop thinking about it. My job had taken over my life; I worked non-stop. My sedentary lifestyle and happy hour sessions had added at least an extra 10 lbs to my frame in the last year. My once shapely butt had gone flat from lack of activity and my back ached intensely from sitting all day. One night last March I found myself chained to my desk tracking towards yet another 12 hour day, with backache and it dawned on me: I am too young to feel this old. That night I found the studio online and booked an intro series.
Warning, this is not the part where I start waxing lyrically about how I nailed everything on the first try. In fact, the first time I revisited a CS1 class and a newer student said, 'wow!' I was shocked. I never thought of myself as someone who could inspire 'wow' in anyone. In my very first class I stubbed my toe trying a sit "spin". I could barely do a fireman spin and free-style dance terrified me. I was self-conscious in leggings. But I persevered. Did I mention that I signed up for class alone? I didn't know anyone but I was pleasantly surprised to find only a few girls came in pairs. Most showed up as lone wolves, pretending to stretch while rubbing their feet nervously as we waited for class to start. There were many girls that could immediately out-spin me and most were in better shape. I felt like I was the only one that needed to be shown a spin three or four times. Without a dance background of any kind (hello fellow swimmers!), I felt a bit lost between spins.
Desperate to become a beautiful pole butterfly after my intro series had ended, I registered for freestyle flow and climbs/spins one. During my first few months I was paralyzed with self-doubt. I was great dancing with a few drinks in me on a Friday night but THIS? This was hard for me because I couldn't hide from myself in a crappy well drink anymore. I had to learn to lose myself in the music instead. My dance started rigid, unsure and I would promptly forget any bits of choreography I had been shown. I think it's safe to say I was pretty terrible. But I kept going. Pole isn't something you are just 'talented' with. It's not like music where you can hear a tune and hum it seconds later. It's muscle memory and 'try try again'. About two months in, Cynthia blind-folded the class. While I danced and a friend I made in class (hey girl!) recorded me and to show me how far I'd come. I watched the video and realized while I felt like a potato bug rolling around on the floor, I actually looked far more graceful than I could have ever imagined and even a bit (gasp) sexy.
April marks my first anniversary with pole fitness and the PFS community. I still cannot believe the progress I have seen in myself. I am no longer terrified of dancing in front of other people. I leave work at a reasonable hour. It's still there, but it will always be there to haunt me so I've used pole as a tool to reclaim my sanity and my time. I have ditched the leggings for booty shorts. I have stopped stubbing my toes (mostly)! Last month I shoulder-mounted by myself for the first time! Two days ago I nailed a "Cupid" knee-hold that I've been working on for at least six months!
If you just started pole and are feeling frustrated, don't be discouraged. You WILL nail whatever you're working on at your own pace. It's not a contest. If you are thinking about it but think you won't be any good, you will never be as bad as I was when I started! I promise.
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