I realized early on pole dancing was going to push me beyond my comfort zone — what a misnomer that is. Staying locked within those very narrow boundaries has kept me in a constant state of anxiety — but as I’ve progressed, it’s beginning to change my priorities in ways I hadn’t given much thought to.
A laundry list of body image issues has led me to live my life covered from head to toe nearly all the time. No bathing suits. No shorts. No tank tops. And it’s never mattered how hot I might be or how ridiculously out of place my clothes might make me look. Nothing has been more important than hiding.
It didn’t take long to realize I would have no choice but to endure wearing shorts, something that still makes me uncomfortable if I’m being honest. But I do it. And once we get started, I quickly forget that I don’t feel great about my legs and someone just might — gasp! — see them.
But I’ve never been willing to get down to anything more revealing than a t-shirt, and it’s been interfering with my progress. I’m working on leg hangs, and I’ve been told I would have it if I would simply bare my stomach so I could get the necessary grip. My initial reaction was to say no, but eventually I forced myself to lift my shirt a little to see what my teacher was talking about.
My t-shirt gets in the way when I’m conditioning for shoulder mounts too. And although my negative feelings about my body haven’t resolved, I’m tired of not being able to put forth my best effort so I can cover up a few more inches of my body that no one but me cares about or notices anyway.
I’ve worn a tank top to class a few times now. And the first time my cruel mind had half convinced me I would be ridiculed for every imperfection the minute I removed my sweater. Needless to say that didn’t happen. Everyone went about their business, and it reminded me that self-loathing really just makes you self-absorbed, which doesn’t serve anyone. Ever.
So with two weeks left on my three-month membership at a beautiful studio called Addiction — no misnomer there — with wonderful, supportive teachers and kind, talented students, I find myself looking for a couple decent sports bras to wear to class so I can focus on my physical ability rather than my flaws.
And getting that down might be even more important than getting that leg hang…but I still want both.