In this phase of my pole story I was very excited and conflicted and I struggled.
I was such a “born again” poler and I was so in love with my studio that I felt like a disciple. It was hard to contain my joy and I’m sure I annoyed my non-poling friends! I was a fierce brand advocate for my studio. I couldn’t get enough!
But suddenly (or maybe slowly – about 9 months in) I started to feel so emotional. Instead of just enjoying what I was learning everything became deeply personal in ways I couldn’t understand. I started to dance entirely within myself, by which I mean I was glad my friends were there, but when I danced I didn’t even know they existed. I mean at all. There were times I felt an impetus to move in ways that my mind could not have conjured. I don’t know if it was my heart leading or my body but it was not my head – pretty scary for someone who lives in her head as a logical being. It was liberating but so confusing. Why would dancing overwhelm me to where I’d practically cry at the end of a dance? I think my body was learning to express things my mind didn’t know how to. I had a lot of emotions running around inside me and I think dancing made them all come alive. I wasn’t ready for that.
At the same time, of course, tricks were getting harder. I have a terrible habit of competing with myself. I felt I had to accomplish everything we were taught. My biggest challenge was the invert (I still am not consistently good at it). It seemed that every class built upon the skill I couldn’t master. I was so afraid I wouldn’t be able to continue in my “series” classes and would have to only take “accessory” classes (non sequential specialty classes which are wonderful but not about advancing). It just broke my heart and I couldn’t stop worrying and crying. I felt that my instructor, Ami, didn’t understand how hard everything was for me (retrospectively that pressure was from me). I spoke to Rachael and she assured me not every advanced thing requires inversion, but also I was welcome to take private lessons to work on it. About then, I found a wonderful post talking about repeating classes (was it Chwenny or Lolorashel? I can’t find the post that inspired me, but here’s a similar one showing that repeating is an option!). I instantly knew this was the solution for me. But I had to talk myself into it! How could I leave my beloved friends and join strangers? How could I leave my current instructor, Ami, without hurting her feelings? Again, Rachael assured me that students change classes all the time for various reasons. Sure enough Ami wasn’t bothered in the least. My classmates didn’t understand why I wanted to repeat; I suppose it looked like I was succeeding. I couldn’t explain the anguish I was feeling. Things were moving too fast, I was too caught up in progressing. I approached every class with anxiety rather than joy. Even the warm-ups – and Aerosha has an amazing reflective signature warmup – were filling me with distress as I pushed to keep up.
I made my decision. A do over. I’d have a chance to re-learn things that were really difficult, and a chance to refine things I felt fine with, and a chance to build up some strength a little more slowly. And I’d try it all on my left side so that I’d have to learn new habits and even out my strength. Oh the relief! I can’t tell you how much pressure was removed. So pretty much exactly one year after I started, I started over. Not from the very beginning, but enough to feel like I got a new lease on my pole life.
And so began Phase 3…