So I’ve finally mastered two pole spins that I’d been struggling with: Monkey, and Chair. I did both of them yesterday properly for the first time on both sides, yay! I also managed to perfect Sunwheel (also known as Attitude), and I can now do a couple of other spins that I couldn’t do before either, but only on my left side. I’m right-handed, but with my pole my right side is my ‘wrong side’! Strange – the instructors are a bit baffled about why that is and so am I. Any other polers have their wrong side as the side they write with? Nobody else in my group does! Basically I really smashed pole yesterday – literally too because now I have even more, even more painful bruises on my shins, knees, underneath my knees, feet and ankles. Ouch. But you know what they say – no pain, no gain!
Yesterday I went to my beginners group class with a more positive attitude – I have learning difficulties which impact on my motor skills and short-term memory, so I’m one of the worst in the group and it does take me awhile to learn spins especially ones that are a bit more complicated with regards to lefts,rights, etc because I get confused. I usually get frustrated and upset with myself when I see other people who manage to pick stuff up much quicker than I do, because I enjoy pole and I want to be good at it! I’m a bit of a perfectionist and I hate being worse at things than other people when I’m trying my best. My dad always taught me to remember though to always try my best and to remember that there is almost always going to be someone better than you and you just have to live with that! I try to remember that last part but it is hard sometimes when I really am trying so hard to keep up with everyone else. But yesterday before my class I had a sort of mental dialogue with myself. I reminded myself that ultimately I enjoy pole, which is why I’m going to the classes. It’s good fitness, it’s really fun, and it helps improve my co-ordination and memory that are impacted by my learning difficulties, as well as being a good way to get me out and interacting with other people, and just overall being good for mental health due to releasing endorphins and improving my self-confidence when I learn new moves and have to strut about in tiny shorts to actually stick to the pole. I don’t need to compete with anyone, especially not by comparing myself to people who do not have my learning difficulties and so are more likely to pick things up quicker as a result. All I can do is work as hard as I can when I’m there at my classes. I just need to relax, work hard, and enjoy myself, and congratulate myself when I do manage new things, because at the end of the day even though it might take me longer to learn a move, I will learn it eventually if I practice enough, and comparing myself to other people just sucks the fun out of the class and makes me feel self-conscious and stupid. Needless to say, I actually did so much better last night after I had given myself that pep talk than I ever have in a pole class before – it felt great, it felt fun, and it didn’t feel stressful. I tried my best, I succeeded at some things, and other things remain a work in progress – but all of it was fun (except maybe all the bumps which turned into huge bruises!).
Pole fitness (and aerial hoop) genuinely are helping my mental health as much as counselling ever did. I go to a great studio, with friendly and professional instructors for reasonable prices. I genuinely can’t imagine life without it anymore and I’m hoping to continue for a long time into the future! I’m really excited about one day finally learning to invert on the pole! Even if it takes me longer to get there than most other people, I’m determined that I will be able to invert eventually and progress onwards, not because of any pressure I feel to be better at it, but because I genuinely enjoy it and enjoy making progress, learning new things, putting them together, and babbling excitedly to my husband about all the fun stuff I mastered – and all the fun stuff I haven’t yet.