We're switching gears up for this post and we are featuring one of our newest Apprentices - Candace! Read more about her how pole dancing came into her life and her experience below!
When i was 28, I was a champ at being lazy. I cultivated that skill for more than a decade, across 3 countries and two continents, and like I said, I was REALLY good at it. But, it happened slowly, over the course of almost 15 years, and multiple foot surgeries that were so painful the prospect of potentially messing up the corrections made me afraid of doing anything that was heavily dependent on my feet, which is basically every popular sport. Thus, if you had asked me about my exercise routine 2 years ago I would have said it consisted exclusively of long walks and dealing with heavy grocery bags. I wasnt happy about that, and I tried to fight my desire to stay in the same pajamas for days at a time, but generally I was unsuccessful. Like many people, I hadn't found an exercise routine that I actually enjoyed doing, but as life would have it, that year, everything changed. I moved back to Seattle after living abroad for 10 years, because my father was terminally ill, and thanks to all the other stresses that come with moving halfway around the world, I found myself at one of the lowest points in my life. I decided that I needed to find something to get my endorphins going, but I was trepidatious, because I knew the battle against my bad habits was going to be a hard fight to win. Thankfully, it was at this time that a company called Fitmob (now ClassPass) popped up on my radar. It allowed me to try a bunch of studios without buying a membership at each one, and so my search for the perfect exercise routine began. I tried barre, kickboxing, zumba, 3 different types of yoga, pilates, weightlifting, cross-fit, boot camps, water aerobics, and dance classes, but after 2 months, while I felt like I was getting in shape, I was still struggling with motivation. Then, on a rainy day in January I saw that Pole Fitness Seattle was an option, and I thought, "Why not? I have no idea what this will be like, but those Czech dancers I saw in the strip clubs in Prague were amazing! That would be awesome if I could learn how they made it all look so effortless!"
I showed up 20 minutes early to the class, already amused by the serendipitous location of the studio which is directly below my family's home, (a place I would like to remind you that I intentionally got as far away from at the age of 18 as I possibly could). Emily was the only one in the studio at the time, and Im sure my ultra early arrival disrupted her. However, as always, she was kind and understanding, as she handed me the release form. Since I had time, i read it, and I was absolutely shocked by its content. Was I reading this right?! I remember exclaiming to Emily, "I could potentially die in this class?!" She smiled ( I dont think many people actually read it) and told me "not immediately but that we do things at Pole Fitness Seattle that could be very dangerous." For some reason this was very exciting, and I remember thinking, "Hell yes!" as I signed the consent form. But wow, that first day was ROUGH! Thank goodness for Emily! She was calm and supportive and encouraging, even in the face of my frustration and general awkwardness. I had a massive realization in that hour - that my preconceived notion of what working out FELT like was totally incorrect, because up until that point I was just pushing my body. Suddenly, I realized I was also fighting a very loud, negative voice in my head that heightened my sense of awkwardness, my lack of coordination, and very quickly my sense of capacity to pole dance at all. In retrospect, it all seemed like a perfect storm, in this studio I was facing multiple challenges: my depression/my negative inner monologue and my lack of strength and body awareness and yet simultaneously I was pushing myself and enjoying the battle to stick it out, because, lets be honest if pole dancing is anything, its fun! This hadnt happened anywhere else, and I realized that this place must be very special to reveal so much in such a short period of time. I decided then and there that I was done with it all, the depression, the general negativity, my lack of fitness, the hunt for something to dedicate myself to, and my inability to just let go, dance and feel free. I dont know if Emily saw anything in me on that first day, maybe after all this time she can just tell the ones that are there to stay, even in our most unpolished form.
Buying a membership to PFS has literally changed my life, and the most profound gift of this whole experience is that I am growing in ways that I never dreamed I would in my 30s. I am at the studio everyday now, and I have to force myself to reengage those lazy habits so that my body can rest. I have truly fallen in love with the effort, but also with the community we have at PFS. It is just an amazing experience to be surrounded by such empowered and inspiring women at this point in my life. In that respect, I have received more than I could ever have hoped for.
The hard work and dedication has paid off and I am honored by the opportunity to embark on a new phase in this journey by teaching at PFS alongside our amazing and inspiring sr. instructors. I am really looking forward to encouraging new students as Emily did for me. This new role has pushed me to really outline goals, which I hadnt really done before. And that feels great! For me, 2017 is going to be all about flexibility. I am excited to be able to teach these classes in the New Year, because it is my biggest challenge and I hope that that will inspire students too. In anticipation of this, I have already made my list of pole goals for 2017, and at the top of that list: to be able to roll through my middle splits by the end of this year. (Pray for me!) I encourage everyone to do this exercise, even if it's just one thing you'd like to see improvement on, the sense of accomplishment once you reach your goal (and you will!) is deeply satisfying. I am also intrigued by the prospect of traveling for pole dancing. I would love to go to a pole camp abroad and see what that is like at least once this year! I also plan on competing again in 2017, a prospect that now seems far less daunting after participating in my first PSO competition in November. What an exciting time this is! Can't wait to see you in the studio!
Pole Fitness Seattle Blog