I hear that phrase all too often. Heck, I say that phrase all too often.
“If I could just do X, I’d be happy.” Then we learn to do X, and guess what . . . we’re not happy. We want to do Y, too.
Don’t get me wrong — I push myself in the studio. Hard. I want to learn new things, partly because it’s fun, and (I’ll admit it) partly because it feeds my ego to be able to do new tricks.
Our egos want us to be incredible! flexy! sexy! athletic! badass! graceful!
But reality says that only a very small percentage of pole dancers are genetically predisposed and physically built to be all of those things. Look at other activities that require a high amount of athleticism. How many people — what percentage of participants — rank among the elite? Yeah. That’s what I thought.
On the subject of “elite” … let’s talk about this a little. Would I love to move like the competitive giants I see on YouTube, the ones who float around the pole as though gravity has no effect on them?
Well sure. Sure I would. Of course.
But there’s my old nemesis again … reality. I am a 41-year-old woman with no formal dance training, no gymnastics background, who never did any sort of flexibility training until about 4 years ago. If I take a step back and look at myself, I see a 41-year-old woman who’s doing pretty well. She’s in better shape than she was at 31. She carries herself like a dancer, and she’s strong enough, and flexible enough, and good enough.
Why on earth would I compare myself to competitive polers? Why on earth would I compare myself to anyone? But I do. And then I get the pole blahs, because I want to be in even better shape, even more flexible, better at learning the latest new trick … and I feel like I’ll never get to the level I want to be.
Sometimes… OK, more often than I’d like, I have to forcibly shove myself away from the “I’m not as good as I want to be” blahs. They’re hateful things, and they make pole less enjoyable for me. That’s a shame, for me to let any negativity come between me and something I love so very much.
When we were kids, long before anyone compared us to another kid, before we learned to compare ourselves to others, we did things that made us happy because they felt good and … well, because they made us happy. We stretched our arms out wide in the sunshine and twirled around until we felt dizzy because doing those things was fun.
The next time your unsatisfied ego clamps down on your pole happiness, try to spend an hour dancing like a child. Move in silly ways. Stretch your arms skyward. Get your blood flowing. Don’t worry about how you look … worry about how you feel, and let it feel gooooood.