In Shynes Mind

My journey to pole

I believe that there are times when someone may look at a woman (or a man) participating in pole dancing, and wonder, “How did he/she get there?” I don’t really think that anyone that knows me wonders that about me as, if you know me, well, you know me, but let’s take a trip down memory lane for those of you who aren’t overly familiar with the outside-of-the-box that is me.

Waaaaay back in the day, I was a tomboy. Hard to imagine, right? My preferred cohorts had, gasp, penises! They didn’t like dolls. They could cook though. Everyone could. We played rough and tumble. All the time. Tag, peg (like dodgeball but against a wall), horse, football, sled riding, dirtbiking, hanging out in a garage fixing engines. That’s how I liked to spend my time. All of these things gave me my base strength. The time in which we sat around not doing much was few and far between. Thank you, small town America. Thank you for that one positive that I am able to take away from a funk-di-fied childhood.

I’ve never wanted to do what everyone else is doing. I would cut off my nose to spite my face. You’re going out to play? I’m staying in to read a book. No one wants to go out? I’m painting the town red with my single paintbrush. Oh yes, I would go out and enjoy the nightlife on my own. I had a network of friends that made me feel safe no matter where I went. Life was good in the 90s. My adventure, however, didn’t begin in earnest until 2000.

For reasons that are an entirely different story, I ended up working for Club Med. As I’m wont to do, much investigation was performed to find out about my new surroundings prior to my arrival. The moment I saw it, there was nothing else that could hold my interest: the flying trapeze. Of course I had seen this contraption before, as I was aware of the circus in general, but I had no idea what it had in store for me.

At my very first free moment, I went over to that monstrosity of steel and net, hovering, towering, looming over our heads. I sat patiently awaiting my turn thinking to myself that this would be a piece of cake. After all, I had done some pretty stupid stuff prior to this moment without safety lines and nets, so how bad could this be? As I climbed up the ladder, the tension continued to build. I reached the platform and was told to step across. And as I did that, I failed one of the first tests – don’t look down.

24 feet looks a lot different when you’re looking down at it as opposed to looking up at it. I lost my cool for a moment, but realized that I was already up here, people were watching, and some of those people, I would be working with for the next 6 months (and some way beyond that) so let’s not start off making a wussy impression. Once my feet left the platform (board/perch in circus speak), I was hooked. I became the circus guinea pig. Hey, we wanna try something, let’s ask Sunshine.  Hey, we want Sunshine to try this, she’ll do it, no problem.

All of that strength from being a tomboy was wonderfully honed during my circus time. Lifting kids, counterbalancing adults, throwing my own body all over the place and managing to keep it all in one piece. Just another day in the life. I was strong. Ridiculously so. I put on a tank top and had to take it off because I looked like a dude across the back and shoulders strong. Grace, however, that bitch eluded me from day 1.

One cannot stay at Club Med forever. The toll that is taken on the body (the liver in particular) is tough. I rejoined the “normal” world, but I craved something new, something different, something outside of the norm. And into my life, spun pole dancing. Whilst living in Miami, I came across a studio close to home. My first class was super fun, but at the same time painfully awkward. Strength moves – nailed them. However, I was severely lacking in flow. And hips. And ass. You recall, I was in Miami. The home of big hips, big asses, and the ability to move both of them. Contrary to what you see on the outside, those things just weren’t happening for me. I focused on what I could do and left the rest alone.

For a while. Until I had a teacher who was also a trained ballet dancer. She inspired me to move. It was she who set me on the path to finding the dancer inside myself. She brought choreography to class and after kicking our asses in a warmup, taught us five or six eight-counts to put together. Always beautiful, always sensual, always strong.(Thank you, Marissa!!)

Once I had tapped into this part of myself that had been buried underneath jeans, sweatshirts, and dirty garage rags, I wanted more. I bought a pole for home. I started to take online lessons to supplement my studio time. I was seriously hooked. And we were moving. Across the country.

Hello, Colorado!

Upon arriving in a new location (or more than likely long before arriving), I’m looking for two things: a place to fly and a place to pole. For once, flying was found more quickly than a studio, but the wait was worth it. From the second I walked in the door at Boulder Spirals, I knew I was home. The studio was nice and bright, the opposite of what I’d come from, and the people were open and welcoming, also the opposite of what I’d come from (not studio-wise, just people-wise). Before long, I was a studio regular. Working on everything and anything that I wanted. Enjoying the challenge of pushing myself physically. Growing as a dancer, and more importantly as a person, most importantly, as a woman.

Starting at Boulder Spirals, I had to “unlearn” some bad habits, but during the process, my poling became more safe AND more solid. I started really hearing music and hitting beats. I created my own choreography – an accomplishment in itself – and performed it. TWICE! Now, I’m at my (almost) pinnacle. I’m taking all of the knowledge I’ve gathered over my thirty-some odd years, and I’m sharing it with others as an instructor.

One goal yet remains to be accomplished. Competition. My original goal was this year. I may still make it if I focus. No matter what, though, compete or not, teach or not, pole or not, I know that I have an extended family that will be there to support me every step of the way.

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