Whether we like it on not we are currently judged on a day-to-day basis: What we look like, what clothes we wear, how tidy our appearance is. It would be foolish to say otherwise and therefore some of us can feel quite insecure about ourselves. Now imagine having to dance around a pole in tiny shorts…
My First Lesson
Before my first lesson started I felt very excited but extremely nervous. I read all of the advice on the internet that I could find about what would happen in the first lesson – what I would need to wear, how strong I would need to be etc.When I got there I couldn’t help it but I looked around at all the other new people and thought how much more in shape than me they were. I wanted to run away! I stayed in my joggers as long as I was allowed to but soon I had to change into my shorts and heels. I decided to put a little skirt over my shorts as well to cover myself a bit more. I thought everyone would be judging me and found it hard to concentrate. I decided to take a friend along with me the next time and wanted to make it fun that way. If I wasn’t strong enough for a move I would pretend it was all a joke. Secretly I found it difficult and frustrating.
Someone asked what clothes it was best to wear and the answer was to show as much skin as possible – including the mid-drift. Now if I didn’t want the tops of my legs to show, I certainly did not want my mid-drift out for anyone to see! I decided that I would embrace the challenge of how hard I would make Pole Dancing on myself by wearing more clothes than the others. Wearing heels did help me a lot – I felt ridiculous otherwise. It adds a little confidence to the way you walk and the way you move.
As the weeks went on, I realised that I was always surrounded by the same people – and I barely realised that anyone else was around me. This was my first changing point. My friend decided that she couldn’t come any more due to work commitments so I either had to go by myself or give up. I’d come to far to give up! Going by myself felt like that first day at school – a whole new group and a whole lot of insecurities. However the love of pole dancing made me continue – I was already feeling stronger and could go upside down quite easily.
My New Group
There was a woman in my group who I noticed was a bit bigger than me – I hate to say that I noticed but I did. She also had the most amazing red shoes on – and has always been known as the girl in the red shoes until I made friends with her a while later. During this class I was going through the motions trying to work through my moves. I hated the cross leg release due to how crumpled it made my legs looked. Focusing on myself rather than pole dancing meant that I wasn’t getting any better. Angry, I got down to try again. I was on the V Invert while the girl in the red shoes was on a no-handed chopper. She was amazing. I watched her pole dance for ages… probably too long but I couldn’t help it. She was completing so many moves that I wasn’t even ready to try. All notions of size dropped right out of my mind. Our class quite literally had all shapes and sizes to it, yet we were all doing the same moves. The only time we thought about others in the class was due to the moves we could / could not complete. We were a great group – we did not judge anyone and focused on the pole. I improved so much in this class. My pole dancing went to the higher levels and I became a pole dance instructor. This is probably been the most body confident I’ve ever been – although I’ve still got some work to do.
A few years on, I decided that I would like to take pole dancing to the next level and take part in competitions. I thought that the best way forward was to go to a competition to see what was involved. I went to Taylor’s Retreat in Dorking last summer. All of the girls there were lovely – those in the competition and those watching. Once again you had a range of shapes, sizes, ages and backgrounds. Everyone is different but everyone was there for the same reason – pole dancing. Most importantly no one was judging each other which was one of the main factors that made me want to do my first pole dancing competition.
My First Competition
At my first competition everyone back stage was very nervous, myself in particular. I decided to wear two pairs of shorts (to save my dignity) and a vest top. On my final rehearsals I found that I was slipping on the Gemini Extreme and needed to wear a crop top. It was a hard decision to make – I did not want my mid-drift on show but I also knew that I could potentially fall of the pole if I did not. I opted for the crop top and held my stomach in! I had to forget about this while performing. I was unbelievably happy with my performance. I have since put it on YouTube and you can see my stomach in the opening still. Every time I show this to people I tell them that I had to wear a small top. Nobody cares. Everyone is just impressed with the pole dancing that I do.
I made friends with a fellow competitors who some people might say was bigger than me. I saw her and thought that looked strong and able to do difficult moves. I was right – she got second place.
I decided to take two weeks off from the pole and the gym but it ended up being three – just to get rid of the bruises and give my body a rest. Today is Day One of the new health kick and has begun with circuit training and will end with pole dead lifts. My body has felt wobbly for the last few weeks and it’s time to change. I can’t wait to get back on the pole. A lot has changed since I first started lessons all those years ago. I now teach on a regular basis and know that nobody cares what you look like when it comes to pole dancing. Most people simply respect you trying and are amazed by the moves you can do.
I wanted to give an honest opinion about how I felt during pole dancing from my beginnings all those years ago right up until today. Given the heading of this article and the content you may have thought that my body is a little bigger than it is. My point was to make it apparent that everyone has body issues – male or female. I have never met anyone who hasn’t wanted to change a single part of their body. My least favourite part of my body is my stomach, but except for myself, no one else cares. When it comes to pole dancing those who can simply marvel at any move and appreciate how difficult they can be. Those who can’t are impressed by almost any move. It might be easy for me to say but this is also coming from many different people. Those with me watching competitions, those I teach and those who I’ve shown random videos to on YouTube on those quiet days at work.
At the end of the day pole dancing is a personal thing to you. If you do it in a class you are likely to be all girls with no judgement. If there is a guy in your class believe me, he will be working on his x-man rather than focusing on anyone around him. If you work out at home there is no judgement there at all. I have learnt so many of the harder moves in my living room as there is no one around to watch me fall off. If you pole dancing for fun then it should be exactly that! Make every class you have as fun as the last. If you pole dance for fitness, focus on getting your body in the right positions and you will feel yourself getting stronger and more toned. There are all types of people in the world and all types of pole dancers too. Pole Dancing is a great community to be part of – we all support each other no matter what. What are you waiting for? Get on that pole!!
My aim of this article was to inspire. I hope I haven’t offended anyone in anyway, as this was not my intention. I am the opposite of being curvy – ‘gangly’, ‘figure of a 12 year old boy’ and ‘malnourished’ are taunts that have plagued me in the past. While I can’t pretend to know what it feels like to be curvy, I can give you an insight into the opposite side of the scale and tell you how terrifying it can feel to put your body on show. I have deliberately not put any pictures with this blog as I wanted you to judge me on how I feel, not how I look.
I would love any one - no matter what shape or size to email in, comment or tweet pics that you think will inspire other pole dancers. Happy Poling xxx