So the theme for November is gratitude: a time to look at where you are in the pole world, and see the bigger picture, to recognise the many influences and people that contributed to your successes.
It is said that the way to bring positive things into your life is not to look to the future, but to look at the present and express gratitude for what you currently have, in order to welcome more of the same. I have undergone some professional changes recently which have brought gratitude into sharp focus, a time to appreciate everything I have, and how it came to be. My journey to where I am now has not always been smooth, but that’s what makes it something to be grateful for.
I am lucky to have crossed paths with some amazing people between the day I first walked into a pole studio and the day when I finally had my own. I am grateful to the person who invited me to my first pole class, who without knowing it changed my life forever. I am grateful to my first ever instructor, who introduced me to this amazing sport and taught me the foundations of pole dancing that I have built upon, and I am thankful for the people who stood by me when certain “friends” told me they thought that pole dancing as a fitness pursuit was “tacky, degrading and disgusting” and that I was a disgrace to women. Yeah, that happened.
I am grateful that my parents spent time and money indulging my childhood passion for gymnastics, which undoubtedly helped me with muscle memory, flexibility and presentation, and unknowingly contributed to this career some 20 years later. I’m grateful for my body, which isn’t perfect or model-worthy, but has done what it is supposed to do, provided me with two perfect children and got me to nearly 40 years old in good health and able to do this sport on a daily basis, even though I moan when it hurts, or won’t do what I tell it on the pole.
I am grateful for the opportunities I was offered and the people who offered them to me, and that I was lucky enough to be able to take up these offers, and for the support of family and friends as I did so. I’m grateful for all the lessons I have learned, the mistakes I have made and the injuries I have sustained, because they all changed my course which inevitably led me to where I am now, which must only be a positive thing.
Sometimes I struggle with my place in the pole dancing world, and question myself all the time. Am I good enough? Strong enough? flexible enough? Too old? Sometimes nothing feels enough. But most of all I want to thank everyone who has made me feel better and kept me going when I felt like this, defeated, frustrated and alone; all the amazing people I’m lucky enough to train with and even to count as friends; all my blog readers and Twitter and Facebook friends who have cheered me up without knowing it when I needed it, with a comment, a message or an encouraging word, or even just a “like”; the wonderful friendly people I have met at courses, workshops and masterclasses who have proved that the pole community isn’t all bitchy and judgemental, but a supportive, nurturing and warm place; the professionals who have been so generous with their time and advice, and especially to my amazing students who have ASTOUNDED me with their loyalty and kindness and maturity and support. It truly is an honour and a privilege to work with you all, and I am grateful to you for allowing me to do something that I love for a living. To all of these people: Thank you.
We live in a world that glorifies excessive wealth, beauty and power, and calls it “success”. We are bombarded with a constant stream of images that tells us we need to be better in every way. You know what… sometimes things are great just the way they are. Why not just enjoy that for a moment? Celebrate. Appreciate. Be grateful.