This weekend I taught a bunch of workshops, three at The Brass Ring Chicago and three at Indy Pole Fitness North. There was one in particular that stands out in my mind. It was the very last one. It does not stand out because it was last, it was because I witnessed something that makes me want to cry tears of joy.
|With students after three workshops at The Brass Ring Chicago|
One of the students there, let’s call her Mary, was talking with the other students about the “Stripped” workshop. Here is the description I wrote for this workshop: “The art of peeling off ones clothes has been around for decades and evolves as fashion does. Making eye contact and dropping your head back at the moment of exposure is essential. Learn how to teasingly reveal more skin while looking confident and in control. You will learn how to slide your shirt or shorts off over your hips with straight legs as you bend over, laying on your back with hips and heels over your head and how to tie your panties to the pole behind you, seamlessly.”
Mary was expressing her discomfort of taking her clothes off in front of other people. Other students exclaimed, “That’s exactly why you should do it!”. I explained to her that we do not get topless or anything like that in the workshop, that we layer extra clothes over the clothes are already wearing. There was still some doubt in her expression. I did not push the subject as I have come to learn that everyone moves at their own pace and to respect that.
|With student Amanda at Indy Pole Fitness North|
She took two of my workshops leading up to “Stripped”. That day I taught “Heel Clack Extravaganza” and “The Joy of Sexy” in that order. At the last minute, Mary signed up for “Stripped” and I was so happy! The best part was fifteen minutes into the class, Mary was ripping off her shirt, not an extra shirt, but the shirt she had on over her sports bra. She was bearing her skin, she was doing with sass and confidence. I yelled out at her “I’m so proud of you!”, and she smiled. I almost cried right there.
Today, I told my sister this story, and I really did cry. Forgive me for bragging, but I am so lucky and so grateful to be able to have experiences like this. To watch someone step outside of their comfort zone, to watch transformations before my eyes is priceless. Mary, and all the other students this past weekend showed so much exuberance, fearlessness and were triumphant in many moments throughout both days. It was empowerment in it’s highest form. It was beautiful and it was so sexy, it made me cry.
I want to thank owner Melissa Schrader of The Brass Ring Chicago, owners Melissa Morris and Misty of Indy Pole Fitness North and all of the ladies from both studios that shared their experience with me. Thank you for giving me moments that remind me why I do what I do, why I travel so much, why I lose sleep and that I’m never alone in this life.
~ Annemarie Davies