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Now I’m starting fresh. I’ve learned the basics. I know I have the strength to continue, and I know the joy in freestyle dancing (which I love more than pole). I don’t have to be consumed with fear that I can’t do something. Now I’m slowing down, putting less pressure on myself and just trying to watch the details. My goals are so different than they were a year ago. I want to make sure I understand how to safely do things and why one way might be better than another. I’m doing about 75% left-sided moves to try to be more balanced and give my right side a break.

I have new challenges now. Should I get a pole? I don’t have a special place for one so it would be in the middle of my living room. I can deal with that. But for me, going to the studio is a very full experience. I’m afraid if I had a pole at home it would be exercise, which I hate. Would I take the time to do a delicious, slow warm-up or would I see a trick on YouTube and run to try it, injuring myself and delaying my progress?

Another challenge is that I live in Missouri; it’s way too expensive to go to either coast to see any competitions. There’s one in the Midwest but between the travel, the vacation days, and the comp itself the cost is pretty high. Is this important to me? I could buy a pole or 2 with that money.

I got to vocalize something yesterday that I hadn’t realized. I love the culture of pole. I’ve never enjoyed a sisterhood like this before. I’ve never enjoyed a physically challenging activity. I’ve never felt graceful. I’ve never participated in something that has so many facets and such a wide variety of supporters and enthusiasts. The closest kind of community I’ve ever had like this before was church and that was a “different” experience for me. (Both very positive and very negative.)

This is freeing and fulfilling. This feels like I’m healthy and whole. I’ve battled depression for at least 20 years off and on. I may always struggle with that but this is the longest I’ve held a hobby and the longest I’ve ever felt good about myself physically. Pole itself did not do that – that’s Aerosha, that’s Rachael’s vision. But Pole has been a mechanism within that, an integral tool to help me grow. A dance studio without poles in it would not have taught me the same lessons I’m learning.

I can’t believe how amazingly fortunate I am to have found pole and to have found Aerosha. I believe there’s no other studio like it and that I found it exactly when I needed it. I believe my journey has taken paths I couldn’t have foreseen and it will continue to do so in the future. I love where I am and who I’m with and who I am.

I learned this morning that my wrists are suffering from repetitive stress. It’ll take 8-12 weeks of adjustments and myofascial release to treat it (which is alarmingly painful but awesome to think of as mayo-facial release) and the Chiropractor advises no pole. I could have cried; it’s a wonder I didn’t. I spoke to Rachael and she reminded me that Aerosha is so much more than pole. There is plenty for me to learn and do and experience there without using my hands. She also shared some of her wrist challenges over the years and they were WAY worse than mine. She’s fine now, so I will be too.

I looked up what wrists represent metaphysically. The top hit said:

Wrists represent flexibility in grasping and holding onto things in Life. Problems like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome represent resistance to grasping onto those things that are important or a feeling that the important things are slipping away. Like breathing, life is a process of drawing in and letting go.

Interestingly, I think I know exactly what it is I need to let go of and I’m working on it with my therapist. That, too, may take 8 weeks for all I know.

I think Phase 3 is going to be wonderful and amazing and difficult and I’m grateful to you all for allowing me to share it.