So, I got my first pole injury tonight…
I know. Maybe “injury” was too strong a word. But, this captures what happens in pole. There will be bruises and scars. There will be pain. There will be challenges. But, we keep going anyway.
My obsession with pole started back in 2012. I was introduced to the pole world by my long-time friend, Stephanne. She invited me out to a “recital,” of which at the time I had no idea what the meaning was; I just went to support. Because I love her, and that’s what love does.
To say that I was amazed would be an understatement. I was blown away. The ladies I saw perform that night – from the beginners to the veterans – was inspiring and empowering. I was moved, and I didn’t even know much about pole beyond what I’d seen at strip clubs. To my surprise, my admiration and respect only grew.
Fast forward, I showed up at an open house she invited me to, and again, love made me do it lol I said, “Ok. Let’s see what this “studio” thing is all about.” Step and I have been friends since the very first day in high school. I knew her background lol We ate hot fries, chocolate chips, and Fruitopia together! But what I saw in her was strength, confidence, and sexiness. It was contagious. I wanted that too!
Open House day – the studio put on a SHOW. They gave you a taste of the different classes they offered, from fitness classes like zumba to sexy pole choreography. I was hooked. I signed up for a series where I met some beautiful ladies who are still friends of mine to this day.
Fit Candy Studio was my first pole studio, and to this day I call it my pole home. The ladies there are outstanding, but what made it home was the culture of sisterhood. Everyone is encouraging, uplifting, and positive. The owner, Kee, is a gem among gems. I can’t speak more highly of her. She’s a sister, a friend, and an inspiration. She’s built her studio from a foundation of love, is a strong believer in her higher power, and a bombshell, ok?! If you ever see her perform, your breath will be taken away. What I love most, though, is that she is so incredible, but so approachable, accepting, loving, and welcoming. She has built that studio with her spirit, and you feel it from the moment you walk in. The sisterhood in that place can’t be faked – it just is: genuine and real.
For me, FitCandy was the only thing keeping me on the eastside – Yes, I love it just that much! But I needed to transition to the city. I work in the city, I was always in the city, I had a house that was just too big for me and my dog; we needed to make a move. BUT if you’re on the eastside of OTP-Atlanta (Decatur/Lithonia/Conyers) and you’re a lady (sorry; no boys allowed – women’s only fitness playground!), do yourself a favor and follow them on Facebook so you know when the next open house is. I’m telling yo. If you don’t get all the feels after being there your first 15 minutes I want you to let me know!
Oh, and I’m not advertising for them, by the way lol Just giving my honest to goodness testimony.
Since moving to the city, making the drive to Conyers was challenging. It might not be so hard if I didn’t hate driving. But when I tell you I hate driving, listen. I am willing to turn my work parking pass in (18 minute commute to work) for a MARTA breeze pass which will take my commute to about 25-27 minutes. (I know, I know. Less than 30 minutes. That’s why I moved to the city!)
I went on a pole break when I started my Master’s in 2013. Pole is not the type of hobby you can jump in and out of like Zumba and not miss a beat as long as you have rhythm. Pole takes practice, practice, practice. That’s the only way you get better. That’s how you get stronger. The skills and techniques build off one another. It’s very much a commitment to growth type sport. Take a few weeks off if you want- what you could do effortlessly will be “Why can’t I get it?!” moment the first session back.
After I got into my school flow I was ready to pick back up with pole. I missed the burn! (oh yea, I think I mentioned pole is painful. You get over it. Or at least I do. You gotta hurt for the werk!) I found a Groupon for Polelateaz. The address wasn’t too far from my condo, so I tried it out for 30 days. I liked the versatility in their class offerings. My primary purpose up front was to get into a regular cardio routine, which they offered. Then I sampled some pole classes. With the encouragement of a few ladies I’d met and made friends with, I decided to join. It felt different. Not as warm and fuzzy for newbies as FitCandy, but I enjoyed their selection – I had enough dose of challenge, sexy fitness, and flexibility courses to keep my attention. I started a pole series with a couple ladies I’d met there, and enjoyed it for a while. The drop-ins were more appealing to me, though. They kept a wide-ranging rotation of classes to sample from yoga-inspired to fierce cardio, floor work to twerk workshops – crazy cardio!
Polelateaz’s instructors are serious about their art. From dance to stretch, tease workshops and pole, I was impressed by every instructor in that facility. It felt clique-y to me; being an introvert it was difficult for me to want to converse outside of being polite, but once I open up I’m warm bubble of Heyyyyy. Polelateaz rarely made me feel I could step into that zone outside of my regular classes and series. If I tried a new class for the heck of it, I felt brand new from scratch all over again.
School started to become a little more hectic. In addition to that, I was losing my love for pole, so I decided to take a break. At the moment, pole was feeling like a chore, and if you know anything about graduate school, the last thing you need is another thing you have to do. So I took another “pole break”, for about a year and a half (or maybe a little more). Until now.
I finished the program that took so much of my time this past summer. And these days I just want to get back into pole life. Almost aching for the challenge again. And the way I operate, once I meet a challenge, it really bothers me not to be able to again. Imagine that.
I used to hate doing pushups. And could only do 5 (regular; not “lady pushups”) with correct form and no stopping. I worked up to doing 10 straight, then 15, then 20. I was PUMPED. I love achieving goals. I don’t need outside pressure – I put enough on myself!
So when I reached level 4 at Polelateaz and could do a number of spins, conditioning moves, and do them fludily, it was a big deal to me. The thought that I’d have to possibly start over was unsettling.
My good friend has been interested in starting pole classes. I promised her I’d support and join if she’d start, and that I’d start at level 1 (partly for support, but also partly because I feel like I need to after being gone so long!). She was my motivation to start again. But we had to find a place that was convenient. Remember, I don’t like to drive! After doing some searching, I saw several reviews about Vertical Joe’s. I liked that it was less than a 20 minute ride from my place. And an even shorter distance for my friend. They offered a promo that allowed us to try out the dance workout and pole classes – score! We could do both, try samplers, and didn’t have to commit a lot upfront.
So, that’s where I am now. So far so good. The instructors are awesome. Their enthusiasm and talent are pretty freakin on point. My friend and I were talking earlier about the instructors and said, “I love Bunni”… “I know me too”… “but Allure too!” .. “I know right! I love her! And…” lol it just keeps going, so suffice it to say, we love all of them! Shout out to Southern Comfort in ATL Bounce! FiyaStarta (I believe she’s the owner; she’s at least the president) has an awesome team of staff. Everyone is helpful, and friendly, and professional. I appreciate that. It helps me want to come back and keep going.
So, yea. That’s a real quick run through of my pole journey. It’s definitely a journey. And this time it’s my goal to keep going. Even when it gets hard. Even when I have reasons not to. To face the challenges.
It’s that challenge, that grit, that focus that keeps me going. So, I’ll heal by Sunday I’m sure, then I’ll be back to hurting somewhere else by Wednesday. That’s how this thing goes. I won’t die from it. But I will grow from it – and that, I can’t explain it. It’s addictive. You may just have to experience it for yourself.
I’ll post videos of my progress/fails as they come. I’ll laugh. Cry. Fall. Get up. And do it in 6 inches or higher and boy shorts. Because, that’s our uniform. hahahaha
If you’ve never tried pole fitness I invite you to try it out. Start with a Groupon whereever is closest to you. Just see how you feel. Go in with an open mind and ashy legs (by the way, ash is good; ash will save your life. When you’re trying to stick to the pole, the last thing you need is lotion! So, yes my picture above I’m ashy. And that is why.) What I can promise you, if nothing else, is your respect for stripper life will dramatically increase. This ain’t no games, folks. Climbing a pole is work. Twerkin in 7-inch platforms is work. Keeping your cool, and your hotness, in a bra and thong is art. Respect the chrome. Tip your strippers. And be respectful. Some of us do it for fun; some of us do it for sport; some do it to make that money honey. The why, frankly, is none of anyone’s else’s business. What’s not ok is shaming. Body shaming. Work shaming. Judgement at any level is not ok.
At the end of the day, I believe this is a discipline that will only develop through the years. I’m just as in awe as I was on day one. Sooooo, let’s see if I stick in it – cause Oooooo, the burn! Go ahead. Try it! #startsomewhere 😉 See you on the floor!