Blog 10 High Heels, Superman and Face the Fear

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I am about to take an exotic dancing class. I started pole so that I could do the human flag, they call a variation of this the Iron X in pole. I also wanted to feel more comfortable in my own skin, so the offer of exotic dancing came up and I thought what the hell. Stay at the back, don’t make too much noise, they won’t even know you’re there.

I had arrived for my studio’s strength and conditioning class and Scarlett who runs the studio brought in some shoes for me to try in preparation for this class. Yes people there are shoes and OMG! I was going to get short boots because I figured they would stay on but Scarlett brought in thigh high boots as well. Now I have always wanted to have a pair of thigh high boots but where the heck would I wear them? Bring on Pole and your wishes are answered Trishy. I didn’t have time to try the thigh high boots before my class started so there they stood in the corner of the studio while we worked out.

I’m doing push ups and I’m thinking boots. I’m doing squats – it’s still boots. Pull ups – now the boots are actually talking to me, Trish come over here, you don’t need strength and conditioning you need us! There was 15 minutes to go and Scarlett comes in to wave goodbye. I wave back then when she’s gone I look at Sarah (she takes the Vital force class) aghast and ask if Scarlett had gone? Sarah can be a tat bit psychic and answered yes but she’s already said you can try the boots. I was all set to go running after Scarlett and throw myself at her car – SCARLETT THE BOOTS!!!! Anyhoo since Sarah is a mind reader there was no need for that. The class was finally finished and I had a date with those boots.

I put them on sooo carefully and then I got up so carefully and then I tottered around for a little bit in them. I made sure Sarah took my picture wearing them and then I thought I’m getting me a pair of these, yes sir. On a side note I have always thought that high heels were a way of restricting women’s movement so I have always been against them. These boots however reminded me of getting up on stilts when I was with circus I guess they are another type of prop or tool for the discipline. All of the pole shoes take strength and balance to be able to dance in them and not impale yourself while you dance.

On this same night my Superman arrived. I got the idea to use a mat because maybe the idea of smooshing my face into the floor was making me hesitate. I tried and failed a cupla times and Ella said you’re almost there and I thought almost is like a world away. I know I should have thought it’s close but I didn’t, it felt like it was an un-obtainable move. So I pounced on poor Sarah, and I said come work some magic. She didn’t look too convinced that she could do magic but I said just stand there and tell me what I’m doing wrong. So she watched and she said, shoot the hand out squeeze those legs and you will have it. So I thought righto my son I’m having this. So following Sarah’s instructions, blindly like someone leaping from a cliff, I shot my arm out and I squeezed my legs and bugger me if I didn’t get the superman. OMG!!!!! This is a cow of a move, there’s timing, strength and a soupcon of courage needed and it doesn’t help when others don’t seem to struggle with it but oh I wanted this move such a lot. I wanted to run around the studio yelling I got it, I got it, but that’s a crappy thing to do when others don’t have it yet. So I ran through the curtains, told Skye at the desk, (she handled the news very well) and I waited until I got home to announce my news on the facebook pole page. I wanted to announce it, not to brag but to acknowledge when it happened and that it did happen because for a long time I started to wonder if Superman was ever going to arrive. It took me forever to get to sleep that night.

I’m going to call Friday’s class hilarious. I went with an intention that completely didn’t materialise. I listen to a positive thinking cd on my way to class and I said to myself that I was going to have the Dive. I saw myself doing the Dive, I wanted the Dive, I was strong enough for the Dive, so tonight was the night.

We had a wonderful class where we did cool spins up high and worked on our leg hangs. I had to find my pocket and you need to be a poler to know what that means. My pockets two days later are still a little sore. Sarah spotted me for the leg hang and I got in a good position and I know that she is as strong as hell but when she said let go of your arms, in my head I was saying “no fucking way” but that translated from my mind to my throat and out of my mouth as “oh Sarah no way” and no hands were taken off that day. I know she’s strong but I am big and bony all at the same time I didn’t want to crush her if I fell, can you understand that?

I managed to do the Superman again, he’s a little wonky but he’s there but we didn’t do the Dive in class so I thought ok I’ll wait for the end of class and then the Dive is mine. The end of class came, up and I went and nuffink. It was bloody soul destroying. I was still pumped on a half hours worth of the ‘you can do it’ CD. I tried and I tried and I tried until I fell and pretty much lost feeling in my foot for a while and I thought well shito just because you visualise something, that doesn’t actually mean it will come – live and learn hey?

Saturday arrived and Emily was the instructor and that girl is a riot. She is gorgeous to look at but is so down to earth you feel like you have known her forever. Emily, God bless her, allowed us to work on a move that we wanted so off I went to Dive school. Amelia one of the students showed me how to fall and not hurt myself and Emily gave me some brilliant tips so I’m closer. I don’t have it yet but if I got the Superman I can get this.

While I was slogging away at the Dive I watched Emily demonstrate some moves for the more advanced students. I cannot imagine myself doing these moves. It is going to be amazing if I get them, one was called the Teddy bear and I thought teddy bear from hell? I know I’ve said it before but Pole is heaps more physical than I realised.

I had a go at the Genie, it wasn’t pretty but hey I had a crack. We did the Star gazer and I thought that was awful pretty. I know now that I am much happier with moves that involve holding on with my hands, leg holds pretty well freak me out. I’m going to take a tip from Amelia who was saying that she identifies her weaknesses and works on them.

I hadn’t had Emily for an instructor for a little while and I was kind of hoping to show her that I had improved since she had seen me last. She said at the end of the class that I had done good and that I was more willing to try things so I’m going to take that as moving forward. It’s funny but you want your trainers to be proud of you or at least know that you are working your tush off and that their work is appreciated.

I figured out this week that I am not so brave on the pole as I was with trapeze because I don’t feel as secure on this slippery metal upright structure as I used to on my perch. I’m sure with time I’ll get more confident with it and more confident in my abilities to hang on.

Thank you Universe for providing this studio, these instructors and my fellow students who I love to bits.

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Blog 9 It’s Starting To Come Together

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Friday night rolled around. I had eaten a good pole enabling dinner, I’d had my nanna nap. I was armed with a positive go to attitude, pole would be mine.

We got up to the dive part of the class and I actually slumped. I thought oh here we go let’s go and do this thing I cannot do. Now the funny thing is there is a girl in the class who loves dives and she’s great at them and just her sheer joy at doing them kind of motivated and inspired me a bit. It was like my mind, which had been saying oh no Trishy not the dive, was now saying, well she looks like she’s having a lot of fun there Tricia how about you give it a go?

So I gave it a go and I didn’t get it but I got further than I had previously and I thought hang on a minute. The first time I tried to dive I pulled a muscle in my calf just trying to get up there. After a couple of weeks I could get up and couldn’t figure out the feet part. A couple more weeks I got the feet now I was working on the knees. I got the knees and then I had to figure out how to get my body in front of the pole. I did that and last night I was working on how to get out of the dive without crumpling and hurting myself. All of a sudden when I was working my way to the front of the pole and when I was slowly coming down not just crashing I realised that I was thinking about what I was doing not just saying, “Sarah help me I can’t do it”, Sarah is our instructor who can do Iron X push ups. I want to be like Sarah when I grow up.

So last night showed me that I am progressing, I am getting stronger and I am able to think about the moves and work on them. Slowly for sure but that’s ok as long as I am moving forward. Going from the hang and pushing myself out with my arms I thought was very cool indeed. It made me see possibilities for my pole future.

Stretch on Saturday was brilliant. I come there straight from gym so I am all stiff and twisted up and it’s agony for the first ten minutes or so until I unkink, then it’s so relaxing I can hardly stay awake. I can see all sorts of possibilities for me stretch wise in this class and it’s going to be interesting to see how far my body can take me. Already I can see improvement in my splits and my back bends, it’s all kinds of cool.

I was all kinds of rubbish in the following inters class but I get so mellow and relaxed from the stretch class it’s hard to fire up for the next class. I got to see Giang do some seriously cool stuff and it was like, stick with me kids and one day you will be able to do this too. Every week I go to pole I see the instructors doing new things and I think oh I want to be able to do that and that and that. Giang was doing these kicks and it just looked fantastic. I don’t know if I will ever get to that stage but I aim to find out.

I’ve signed up for some new stuff at the studio with the idea of taking myself out of my comfort zone and seeing what I can do. I’ve never been very comfortable in my own skin and pole is very good for working on that. So I have signed up for an exotic dance class. Oh my gawd!!!!! There will be shoes and I am very excited. Step one – get the shoes, step two learn how to move in the shoes, step three don’t trip and do an ankle. Step four if I do trip and do an ankle don’t tell anyone how I did it. Can Pole make this Clydesdale into anything resembling a show pony? Just how magical can pole be? Stay tuned to this bat channel to find out. This week’s picture is courtesy of Pleasers.

Thank you Universe for providing this studio, these instructors and my fellow students who I love to bits.

Blog 8 There’s a Clydesdale in the China Shop

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The most important piece of information for this blog at least important to me is that my pole studio, my happy place, my place that I did not think could get any better – has plovers. I am seriously nuts about plovers. I was minding my own business getting to class and what do I see on the grassy verge out the front but plovers. But wait there’s more. First I see the plovers doing their cool distraction thing when a family walked past and I thought in my plover knowing way oh they must have eggs, but when I went back to take their picture after class what did I see? I saw a BABY PLOVER!!!! I nearly died.  I love plovers and after kookaburras they are pretty much my totem bird. I wish them all the best with rearing their baby. My photo won’t upload so the photo with this blog is one I got off the internet, the plovers I saw only have one baby. The plovers have chosen such a busy spot to have their babies but that is the way of the plover, inscrutable to many.

Now the reason for today’s blog is, I was standing at the back of the class in inters trying to hide and not succeeding much. I caught my image in the mirror in front and the image of my fellow students and the thought that came to me was – I am a Clydesdale in a china shop. This isn’t a new thought I used to have it when I did belly dancing and I used to clip clop around the studio. I had a ball but there was very little grace there. I have long accepted my clydesdaleishness so that isn’t a cause for distress, although I constantly worry about breaking the tiny little instructors. What it got me to thinking of was – what is the expectation of the trainers for the students?

There is very little I can do in the inters class. At the moment I can do choppers and I can do the strength and conditioning exercises and that my friends is it. What I have noticed Giang and Sarah do, (they’re currently have the task of teaching me inters), is they break the moves down so if I can’t get the dive and at the moment I could very easily use harsh language when I think about the dive, they will say ok if you can’t hang on just get up there, practice that, then practice the grip. So some people just pop up get the dive, done and dusted, some people like your poor blogger have to move excruciatingly slowly towards the dive and the superman. I can see theses moves progressing but ye gods it’s a slow slow process for me.

I did think, while I was feeding my horse and donkey, because that is a good place for thinking, I did think what does it matter if it takes me ages to get these moves. If I am going to do pole for the rest of my life does it actually matter that much if I don’t get the moves in a month or a year. The moves will come when they come. I do wonder about the instructors though. Do they think oh for f’s sake will you get it already or are they happy if you show up on time, show them respect and do your utmost. I know as a primary school teacher if my students do this I am more than happy.

I have to fight against feelings of I wish I had started earlier, I wish I was smarter, fitter and stronger. I have to be grateful for what I have and work with that. It’s very hard when you see the whole chocolate box that pole is and you think I want that  and that and gimme some of that please, but you can’t have it until you get your poxy dive and superman. It’s a case of suck it up Trishy.  Allrighty that’s my lot for this week. I love Pole.

Thank you Universe for providing this studio, these instructors and my fellow students who I love to bits.

Blog 7 I’ve Fallen in Love with Pole

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I’m into my third week of Inters and I didn’t think anything could replace trapeze but I love Pole I truly, madly, love Pole.

I do two inter classes a week, two stretch classes, two beginner classes and a dance class. I’m still going to the beginner’s class because there’s some handy stuff in there that I haven’t mastered yet.

The inters class is a world away from beginners and in all honesty there’s not much I can do at the moment. I have a nice Chopper and that’s getting me a little class cred but for the most part I keep my mouth shut and try not to be seen. If the instructor’s eyes are not on you that means you can take a moment to get your breath or summon up courage or try to work out just how the hell you are going to do something.

High school taught me how to avoid eye contact with a teacher, I wish they had given a grade for that because I was a master of avoidance. I knew how to stay at the back of a class and how to keep quiet. Back to present day the pole instructors get to you eventually but a much needed ‘suck a breath’ time is obtained by these strategies.

Taleah from Friday’s class moved to Honours in the Avoidance category. Sarah the instructor was doing the rounds of the room getting each student to demonstrate the move we had just covered. She stood in front of Taleah and said “Show me”. Taleah without batting an eye said “Pass”. “Pass?” I said, “I didn’t know there was a pass option” especially as I was on the pole next to Taleah which meant Sarah came to me next. We all knew the instructor was coming back for Taleah but that didn’t help me much as she was now staring me down. “Show me” She says. “Pass?” I try but it didn’t wash. I think I didn’t deliver it as confidently as Taleah did. Fortunately this was only beginners class so that when I mangled the move I didn’t die I just sort of crumpled.

We did have two other more experienced inters students in the class that night. They took up the back two poles and they were pretty much running a comedy routine for the entire class. I’m hoping they come back, they were fun. Sarah was then coming up with activities for brand new beginners, more experienced beginners and intermediate students, all in the one class. She certainly earns her money.

The Saturday inters class was brilliant. Giang takes this one and she showed us handstands. I couldn’t do them but I have the start of it and now I can work on them. A large part of the problem is that I seem to have lost my nerve. I’m confident that it will come back but it deserted me today.

We also did this very cool static pole stuff and that was brilliant. You got to really throw yourself around on the pole and while I didn’t get very far I know that I have moved forward even just a teeny tiny bit. Static is tricky because you grab the pole but you still need to release enough to spin round. My class mate was whizzing around her pole but not for trashy this week.

I heard today that Sky High is going to hold a showcase next year and friends and family can come. I am very excited by this. I would love to be able to do a routine but what routine is the question? I have wanted to do a routine since I saw Greta Pontarelli on You Tube. She’s a bit of a hero of mine and got me interested in Pole.

The photos from the pole shoot have been coming in and I love them. I may even be willing to up my game next year because the other class mates who also did the photo shoot came up with beautiful costumes and great poses. So I may step out of my comfort zone next year.

Thank you Universe for providing this studio, these instructors and my fellow students who I love to bits.