Whew! It’s over. Colorado Pole Championship 2014 has come and gone. The most prevalent question is always, “Did you win?” The answer: no, in a trophy or medal way, I didn’t. But in so many other ways, yes, yes I did.
To my fellow Masters Division competitors, THANK YOU! You ladies made this experience so much less stressful and so much more enjoyable with your compassion, love, and understanding. Even though medals and trophies separate us, we still stood together (or leaned on our wheeled walkers together) in support for one another. I can be almost 100% certain that this is not how all competitions go, so I am oh so thankful to have had this experience with you. Mel, Lisa, Kris, Tammy…you’ll be in my heart forever. I’m so proud of each and every one of you for getting up there and putting your hearts and souls on display.
To Leesi and Sasha, for without you, I would be trying to pole on thin air, thank you for your generosity in allowing me to utilize your equipment and facilities to work out this performance. You are certainly my enablers in the best possible kind of way.
To Nina, for without you, there wouldn’t have even been this opportunity to perform. Thanks for holding it down for Colorado and giving competitors and those who wish to compete one day a place to do just that.
To Team Imperial Flyers, YOU GUYS!!! Thank you for coming out to the show! I loved seeing you there and I hope you had a blast. Nicky, Kristen, Violeta, and Alex, from the rig to the stage – HEP!
To the ladies of Boulder Spirals, much love. You guys are so supportive and you always have a smile and a hug for me no matter how long it’s been since I’ve seen you, poled with you, or even chatted with you. It’s with you ladies that I cut my pole teeth and for that, and for your love, I’ll be forever grateful. Jaslee, Leslie, Daisy, Linda, Chrissy, everyone. Thank you. <3 To my L’Ru Crew, well, I’m not sure what to say outside of FUCK YEAH! For having my back. For yelling till you’re hoarse. For laughing with me in the studio when I’m complaining about a move ripping off ass meat. For still loving me if I catch up to you in PDP on Monday nights. For accepting me for who I am, baked goods and all, lol. Joy, Alexis, Amber, Chelsie, Meg, (I know I am missing ladies and I am SORRY!!) but MAD LOVE to you guys! To ALL of the competitors, you all rocked! Thank you for sharing your vision and your talent. Thank you for your comraderie back stage. Ariel and Dave, Lauren, Nadia for being extra nice to someone you didn’t know. Meri and Sara, for just being you. 😀 To every single person that put two hands together or opened their mouth to cheer, thank you. There were some folks that knew me but I didn’t recognize in the excitement of the moment. For that, I apologize, but know that I am grateful. To the complete strangers who really got it, who got the energy, who felt pulled into the fun, this one was for you. Thank you for making me a winner! To my makeup guru, Holly (and her mom Tracy), a million thanks for helping me create the look I was going for. Great big expressive eyes to help tell my story. I do a lot of talking with my eyes and you certainly helped me to tell my story! Last, and certainly not least, I’d like to thank my family. Thanks to my brother, Jesse. Thanks to April for coming out. A tremendous thank you to my mom for FLYING OUT to see all of these shenanigans. And thanks to my hubby, Jorge, for putting up with all of the time away from the house, the grumpiness, the aches and pains, and everything in general that comes with competition training. I really couldn’t have done it without your support. So, in the end, did I walk away with a trophy? Nope. But, did I walk away with a sense of accomplishment, a sense of satisfaction, a feeling that I shared my energy? Yes, I did. Did people tell me they were encouraged to try pole based on my performance? Yes. Did a husband ask me to try to coerce his wife into competing? Yes. While I may not have touched the judges, I moved the crowd, and to me, that is far more important. Thanks, CPC, it was a wild ride.
How well do you really know the woman who stands before you (or sits behind this keyboard as the case may be)? Some of you haven’t known me for all that long, so it’s natural, but there are a select few of you who have known me for more than a decade, some for more than two decades, and some for practically all of our lives. And in that time, what have you learned? Not a lot, probably, because, believe it or not, I’m private about stuff. Today, for your Friday present, you get a peek inside my head. Yes, it’s a present, like from Jason Voorhees. Leggo.
Do you think I’m pretty? That’s not a question that I can realistically recall asking anyone. Ever. Because up until I was a good 30 years of age, *I* never thought I was pretty so I had no reason to think that anyone else did either. I grew up under the influence of my peers as did so many others, but my peers weren’t like me. I mean, we all had our flaws, but I always had the on the outside looking in feeling. I was trying to live up to a standard of beauty that I could never achieve with my kinky hair and brown skin. As I look back on things now, there are so many avenues I could have seen myself taking if only I had had some self-fucking-confidence back then. I could be a (much more attractive – sorry J) Josina Anderson. I love sports. I’m smart. Dudes LOVE to talk to me. But that was encouragement I never received. I never thought that I could be good enough/pretty enough to be on television. I never thought that I could be pretty enough. Never. Thought. I. Was. Pretty.
Smart? Hell yes. I didn’t have to wonder if I was smart. It can be measured. It was measured. IQ tests and gifted classes and scholarships. But who cared about that, right? Guys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses and all of that bullshit. Oh yes, there were times when I wanted to trade my brain power for some pretty girl power. I will admit it. Just a little bit, right? I don’t need to be a genius, so how about I get some cute? This is the society that we live in people. It’s damaging. It’s damaging to hear that you’re “pretty for a black girl”. And we don’t all make it out ok on the other side.
For the longest time, I avoided photos. I never wanted my picture taken. I didn’t want forever proof of my unattractiveness. I would do whatever I needed to do – duck out of the picture, give the person taking the picture the finger in the hopes that they just wouldn’t take it. Whatever it took to not have to see myself at some point down the road in a photo that I had deemed terrible before it even hit the film. My psyche was beat down and my environment kept beating it down. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, small town rural America is just not the place for a young black girl to blossom.
Not to say that I didn’t have friends because I did, and the majority of them were guys. But I was always the friend/little sister. Never was I girlfriend material. Deep down I probably had an inkling that it was just my surroundings, but on the surface, I allowed myself to believe that it was simply because I wasn’t attractive like the other girls. So I’m not pretty. I’ll overcompensate. I’ll be helpful. I’ll be funny. I’ll be smart. I’ll be the shoulder you cry on when YOUR FUCKING GIRLFRIEND TREATS YOU LIKE SHIT. Yep, I’ll be that girl who never shows how she wanted to be your girlfriend and never would’ve treated you that way but will listen to you whine like a bitch about that bitch. I will bend over backwards to make you like me in some way, even if it isn’t in the way that I want.
I lived like this for 30 years, maybe a little more. And then I changed my surroundings.
There were no instant overnight changes, don’t get me wrong. I think part of what changed was that I learned that I have the power of the pussy. That was misguided because getting laid doesn’t mean he thinks you’re hot, just that you’ll do it. But more than that, I figured out that self-confidence was a big part of what might make me attractive to other people (men, ya dicks). I stopped caring so much about what other people thought about my looks. Fuck them, they don’t have to look at me if they don’t want to. I don’t have to/want to/need to wear makeup. I used to say that I’d let the ugly shine right through. I got over that statement as well.
I was still trying to reach that pinnacle of “beauty”. Whatever skin cream would clear up my face and get rid of the dark circles under my eyes – I was buying it. I was attempting to do whatever was in my power to heighten my outward appearance. Boob job? Yup. (you didn’t really think these monstrosities were actually mine, did you?) I was still not fully realizing that what I was looking for had to come from within myself.
I think that eventually I may have come to knowledge fruition eventually on my own, but I have to say that it’s my husband who really helped. He thought I was beautiful from day one. He helped me to believe that not only am I beautiful, but that I am so many other positive things. Strong. Smart. A heck of a shot. A great cook. And these, these are the things, among others, that I now see in the mirror. They still don’t all show up in photos, but I see them and that’s what matters. I hold my head high knowing and believing that I am a beautiful woman and never discounting the things that have happened in the past that led me here. Every wrinkle, every stretchmark, every stupid period zit, they’re all mine. They’re all me. They’re all beautiful. I can tell you with 100% honesty, that never in my life have I felt the words of this poem ring so true. I am a phenomenal woman.
Phenomenal WomanPretty women wonder where my secret lies.I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s sizeBut when I start to tell them,They think I’m telling lies.I say,It’s in the reach of my arms,The span of my hips,The stride of my step,The curl of my lips.I’m a womanPhenomenally.Phenomenal woman,That’s me.I walk into a roomJust as cool as you please,And to a man,The fellows stand orFall down on their knees.Then they swarm around me,A hive of honey bees.I say,It’s the fire in my eyes,And the flash of my teeth,The swing in my waist,And the joy in my feet.I’m a womanPhenomenally.Phenomenal woman,That’s me.Men themselves have wonderedWhat they see in me.They try so muchBut they can’t touchMy inner mystery.When I try to show them,They say they still can’t see.I say,It’s in the arch of my back,The sun of my smile,The ride of my breasts,The grace of my style.I’m a womanPhenomenally.Phenomenal woman,That’s me.Now you understandJust why my head’s not bowed.I don’t shout or jump aboutOr have to talk real loud.When you see me passing,It ought to make you proud.I say,It’s in the click of my heels,The bend of my hair,the palm of my hand,The need for my care.’Cause I’m a womanPhenomenally.Phenomenal woman,That’s me
…for a black girl.
Someone actually said that to me once. It was many years ago, and while it stung a little then, if someone said that to me today, chances are great that I would punch said someone square in the mouth.
Who are you to judge what's pretty and why would the standards be different for different races?
Today, I've come to the conclusion that I don't care. America, your standards of beauty are no longer important to me. Fuck you. I'm pretty whether it's to me, my boyfriend, some random construction worker, or you America, with your stuck up ideals and your fucked up morals. I'm not just pretty, I AM BEAUTIFUL!
My life is full. Full of family, full of love, full of work (unfortunately), and full of school. I am proud of who I am and who I will be. I am me, dammit, and that's good enough. There is no longer a single person out there that can tell me otherwise because, while I was lost for a while, I just found myself this morning while walking outside and you know what? I LOVE ME!
I love all my 5 foot one inches. I love all 128 of my muscular pounds. I love my nappy-ass hair and my not-so-ghetto booty. You won't see me on the cover of some magazine or parading down some runway, and you sure as hell won't see me starving myself because I think (or society has made me believe) that I'm fat.
I will no longer obsess about stupid crap. My hair is long enough and it grows more every day. My boobs are the right size for my body. That little bit of fat on my thighs or on my belly is no big deal, after all, I'm not 18 anymore. It's okay to do things for myself and not feel guilty about it. I am allowed to enjoy life!
I don't know what exactly brought this on, but whatever it was, I'm happy that it happened. I honestly feel as though a huge weight was lifted off of me the moment I realized these things. Now I can look around and see that I had everything I needed all along. Now I can look around and not see that girl that has nicer hair or the girl that's thinner or taller or richer or anything-er. They're all just regular people with regular problems, probably problems worse than mine. I am rich in life and rich in love and I need nothing more.
Excuse me while I go live.
So it happens to also be February 14. So what? Just so we're clear, this is not a day for love just because Hallmark says so. Many other things have happened on this day, and plenty of them were violent.
Look, don't get me wrong. Businesses need to make money, keep the economy strong, blah, blah, blah. But why is it such a big deal to show your love on this day? Do you not love your spouse/sig. other every other day of the year? I do. I love him every day. I tell him every day. And that's why today is just Wednesday. I told him not to waste money on the hype. Everything that he gives me on a daily basis is more special, more romantic, and more loving than some forced flowers or candy just becuase big business says he should.
No amount of chocolate or flowers will ever be better than the sparkle in his eyes when he smiles at me, the crappy living situation he rescued me from, the care and patience he shows towards my daughter or his half-asleep hugs when I leave for work in the morning. Love didn't begin on February 14 and it doesn't end on February 15. It's 24/7, 365 for those who are really in it.
So yeah, go blow all your cash on overpriced candy and flowers today, but remember. If you love him/her, spontaneous romance is more likely to be looked upon as special than today's efforts. But that's just my opinion.
I LOVE YOU BABE! Happy Wednesday.