The title is not a typo. This isn’t a blog about platform heEls. This is a blog about the healing power of pole. I can speak with some authority about this, even if only anecdotally, because pole has healed me. Twice, in fact.

This is the story of the first time.

Flash back to 2008, my first pole class. I had recently separated from my husband, with whom I’d spent 12 years of my life — ending a relationship that I grieved for intensely, even though I had initiated the separation.

I didn’t feel like myself. The strong, happy, confident woman I had been as a 20-something was gone, and I didn’t know how to get her back. I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. Sexy? Pfffft. I felt about as UN-sexy, UN-desirable, UN-feminine, UN-important as a woman can feel.

So what on earth made me take a pole class, where a sexy style was the norm? I dunno. Maybe my subconscious knew that my former self wasn’t gone, she had simply gotten buried under the weight of years of unhappiness and anxiety. At any rate, I signed up, and I didn’t chicken out.

I arrived at my first class a terrified, overweight, middle-aged woman who had lost her spark. I wish I could tell you that I felt an instant change, that I strapped on platforms and became Superwoman. But it had taken years for my confidence to flutter away. There was no way it was coming back with a single pole class.

In fact . . . I was a complete and utter disaster. Physically weak. Uncoordinated. While my classmates were whirling around the pole in their basic fireman spins, I stood next to my pole, defeated.

So why did I even bother to go to class #2? Why didn’t I move on? To this day I’m not entirely sure. I can tell you that my instructor, an elegant and gorgeous woman who moved like a gazelle, also happened to be exceedingly patient and kind (If you’re reading this, Sam, I am ever grateful for that!). My classmates were fun. The dance moves were fun too, as long as I didn’t catch sight of myself in the mirror. Yikes.

I think I went back because pole fed something deep inside of me that had been starving for years. I was spending time doing something that was for me and for me alone. I was spending it with other women, in a completely non-competitive, non-judgmental way. I felt supported, I felt valued, I felt loved. And I needed to feel those things from the outside, so that I could feel them from the inside.

My physical strength improved week by week. So did my coordination. Eventually I too was whirling around the pole like my beautiful classmates. And slowly but surely, amidst sparkly booty shorts and dangerously high platform heels and hip grinds and chest rolls . . . I started to find myself. To like myself. Then, to love myself.

This is me now. Badass. Strong. Capable. Pole Mama Bear to other badass, strong, capable women.

Courtesy Shannon Williams Photography

I cannot imagine my life without pole and the women and men who make up its community. My eternal thanks to each and every one of you, even those of you I haven’t ever met!

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