I've been pretty active my whole life. As a kid I was always climbing trees or swinging upside down on the bars at the playground. I got put in gymnastics after the neighbours expressed concern that walking along the fence at my house was dangerous (Ok, maybe not just walking, I may have tried the odd handstand).
I loved gymnastics but as a quiet and awkward kid I was prone to bullying. It got so bad that I walked out of practice one day and refused to go back. I turned my back on the sport completely.
It wasn't until I was in my late 20's that I realized I shouldn't let people like that get in the way of my dreams. By then though I'd discovered boxing and was loving it. I thought the gymnast in me was gone, but I was wrong. From doing all my exercises with straight legs and pointed toes, to spinning around on the kitchen floor in my socks, I knew I had to get back into it somehow.
Meanwhile more and more friends were getting into Pole. I remember feeling envious when I saw their photos and videos online. I wished I was that flexible and that graceful. Then Altitude Pole opened their new studio right next to my other gym and on a road I travel everyday. It seemed perfect for me. I could climb stuff, be upside down, and they had acro classes!
It took me about a week to find the courage to sign up and I'm so glad I did!
I was terrified when I came along for my first class. I wasn't sure if I'd be any good. Dancing is not a strong point of mine, I'm about as graceful as a brick and somewhat lacking in coordination. I also hadn't worn such little clothing in public in years and to make matters worse there was a giant mirror at the front of the studio! I took the pole at the back of the room and desperately tried to hide behind it. But then the class started and everyone was so friendly. I never felt like I was being judged and I gradually gained more confidence. Once or twice I've even joined in the freestyle at the end of class.
Fast forward nearly a year and I now take the pole at the front of the room. It's the one in the corner, but it's still progress.
I still can't dance and I still panic when I'm taught a new move or told to move up a level but given what I've achieved already in just under a year I've started to realize that even though some challenges may be harder than others nothing is impossible. I'm excited to see what I can achieve in the next few years and who knows, you may even see me on a stage at a showcase one day!