I started taking pole dancing classes nearly a year ago, and it has been one of the most rewarding activities I’ve ever done.
(Why? See end of article). The more I talk (or post) about it, the more I meet women who have been curious about it, but are hesitant to give it a try or even discuss their interest openly, as they are worried about the connotations. A few of them have taken the leap, and every time someone says, “Pole class was amazing yesterday” or, “I’m going to own this from now on” it fills me with happiness, knowing one more person shares this passion.
It makes me wonder, what if everyone did the hobbies they’ve always secretly wanted to do? And what stops us from doing them?
Lack of time, feeling it doesn’t fit our image, fear of judgment, thinking we can’t learn it…
Maybe you’ve always wanted to skateboard. Learn samba. Make a dirty martini. Do magic tricks.
Maybe it’s time to save up for some gear, sign up for a class, or watch a few tutorial videos online.
Sure, you might not be tearing up the skate park in a year. Or backup dancing in a music video. Juggling bottles of vodka, or escaping from an underwater chamber. But tapping into these interests, especially when they fall outside what we perceive to be our self-definition, allows us to grow and let a new part of ourselves unfurl. It allows us to connect with others who share that interest, who we may not have crossed paths with otherwise. It also allows our community to evolve, and see beyond stereotypes.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could stop limiting ourselves, and just do what makes us feel alive? If we can get over our fear of potential bruises (to our bodies or our egos), and if we can get over assigning personalities to others based on their activities of choice, it might just move us in the direction of greater acceptance and greater respect. As parting thoughts, here are the top five reasons I love pole dancing:
#5 I’ve found a safe and supportive space, where the focus is on empowerment, not who can fight their way to the front of the room and looks best in spandex.
#4 It’s about challenging yourself (regardless of what skill level you’re at) improving over time, and having fun along the way. When you get that move that took months to learn, it’s all the more satisfying. And people are there to cheer for you!
#3 I leave pole class feeling stronger, inside and out. Happier about life, in general. And more at peace with the present…which is more than past attempts at meditation have ever done for me.
#2 It is an opportunity to share with my community that women can be sexual because it makes them feel good, not because it involves money or pleasing men.
#1 I’m surrounded by amazing people who, by day, wear the hat of nurse, student, cashier, advocate, marketer, assistant, acupuncturist, educator, or any number of professions. But behind the labels, we all share the desire to unleash something inside, which cannot be put into words. It can only be put into motion.
Author: Mary Tam
Assistant Editor: Leah Kroll / Editor: Renee Picard
Photo: provided by author