Thursday, 16 November 2017

Pain Pleasure and ... a Pole


I started a beginning pole dance class six months ago when Polerocks opened a studio just up the road from my gym – first lesson free. I wanted to give my workouts and my fitness routines another dimension. I’ve always thought pole dancing was incredibly beautiful and powerful. I knew that it would take my fitness to the next level. IF I could even do it at all.

It took me all of the first ten minutes of that free lesson to figure out that I was hooked. It took me way less time than that to discover that the pole is not a very forgiving dance partner. It has no consideration whatsoever for my delicate dainty body parts. It’s a rare class I’ve not come away from bruised and battered and sore as hell. I suppose it says something about the masochist in me that I love every minute of that cruel dance. I’ve never done anything that has made me feel more challenged, or more empowered.

On the pole I’m awkward and weak at the best of times. I consider any time I can get a grip on a new spins or holds, any time I find myself working with the pole rather than against it a huge step forward. But the results are beginning to show in my workouts and in my body. I’m stronger, more flexible and leaner than I’ve ever been. The other day I went into a dressing room in a High Street shop to try on a sparkly top for the Christmas season, and when I took off my shirt, the woman in the mirror actually had belly muscles. I had to look around to make sure it was really me I was seeing. I’m discovering muscles I didn’t know existed. They usually introduce themselves to me in some way that involves pain, and the pole is always happy to give me a new anatomy lesson in pain.

I’ve never denied being an introvert who could probably happily be a hermit given the opportunity.
Most writers have that tendency, I think. But we all still need people and community. One of the benefits of pole is the wonderful community of women I’ve discovered in class – women of all ages and all skill levels. And all of them are laughing and joking, and comparing bruises, all of them are encouraging and cheering each other on.

Me on the pole -- well it’s not a pretty sight. Add a photographer to that combo, and it’s quite possible that I’ve lost my mind. But regardless, I’ve signed up for a photo shoot. Oh the shoot is seven months away, so I have time to train and prepare. A good challenge often involves a bit of blood, sweat and flat out terror. I have to admit, I’m really excited about the wild ride ahead.

Above are a few of the earlier photos I have of me and my new BFF, bruises and all. It ain’t pretty, but it’s my journey, and it’s as much of a challenge being brave enough to share it as it is being brave enough to make that journey. I’ll be posting regular updates on my blog for the months ahead. Some may be so horrid that you’ll want to look at them from behind the sofa. But in seven months, one way or another, there will be a photo shoot.


I can see some of you scratching your heads and wondering what the hell pole training has to do with writing, but a lot of you won’t be surprised at all. You know that my fitness journey has gone hand in hand with my writing journey for the past five years. It not only helps inspire me, but I’m pretty sure it helps keep me sane. More than that though, it reminds me that I’m a whole person, and the body is as much a part of the mind as the mind is the body. We forget that fact at our own risk. And whether we spend our time sitting on our backsides in an office or spend our time inside our heads writing stories for other people to read, what we do will never be complete if mind and body aren’t working together toward the whole. But that’s another post for another time. Right now I’m just excited and really wanted to share my challenge and my journey with you.

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