To understand why I started pole exercise, you have to understand where I was in my life when I found out about it. I had a 3 year old and twins — yes, twins, who were just over 18 months old. I had to cut my hours at work when the twins came because my current sitters didn’t feel comfortable with twins, or they didn’t have space to take my children with them when they had to get their own kids from whatever activities they were in. I get that, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to handle twins myself! Not to mention nursing two babies. When that didn’t work, I pumped and when that didn’t work we supplemented with formula. Then going to Target to buy tons of diapers, wipes and diaper rash cream, I was walking right past all the beautiful things I used stop and study. But I had two toddlers with me, my time was limited. I felt like Alice falling down the hole. Everything I said I never wanted to be, I was becoming. My husband and I having alone time? You’re funny. I had my scrubs for work and my pajama pants for home. What more did I need? Make-up? What was that? Curling iron, yeah, hello ponytail! It was all about survival — theirs, not mine.
Enter pole. One evening at a friend’s home, I ended up sitting next to Paula, the owner of Aerial Dance in Appleton. Small talk ensued: How do you know everyone? Isn’t this weather amazing? What do you do for a living? Pole? Empowering, yes! It didn’t take much convincing, the idea of two hours to myself, one hour for class and one hour of driving time, was worth it alone! I started to realize that my wellness and happiness directly affected my family, so I needed to put a little effort into me.
I went home and thought about it. I still had baby weight I wanted to lose, it would be time alone that was quiet and honestly (I’m sorry, Stella, I’m borrowing your line) I wanted to get my groove back! I wanted to feel like a woman again. So I talked to my husband about it. I looked at the schedule, found a time that would work and I signed up for my first eight weeks. What did I have to lose?
September of 2014 I walked into the pole studio for the first time. Nervous and excited, it felt very much like the first day of school. But what I didn’t know then was how much there was to learn. It is limitless. You have dance things, climbs, spins, tricks and inverts, and it is all up to you. My current favorite thing to work on is Plank. Many girls in my class find this pose tricky. It requires balance and strength to make yourself as flat as possible on the pole.
Pole requires not only physical balance, the kind that keeps you from falling off the pole, but also a balance to keep life running smoothly. It’s the, “How much do you want to put into it?” versus “How much can you put into it?” dilemma. At this stage in my life I fall into the latter category. I still have to balance family, work and myself. That means that I am at the studio once a week and honestly I would like to do more, but that is what I can invest right now. I have watched ladies who started at the same time as me get stronger and do incredible things that I can’t do yet. I know I will get there eventually and when I waver the amazing instructors remind me of all that I have accomplished. They remind me of MY journey.
And that is exactly what I’m on: my journey. I want to show my children that I am a fun, loving and strong person. I want to be a role model for them. To do that, I need to work on me. I need to know who I am and what I like. To work on me makes me a better person, which means it makes me a better mom, wife, daughter, co-worker and friend. That is my journey. So remember, your happiness matters. Find something you love, something that empowers you. Make time for yourself so everyone in your life benefits.