Let me tell you about pole dancing.
Once a week, I take my almost 40-year-old body to a studio in Frankton to learn how to pole dance. It is one of the hardest things I have ever tried to learn. I am a cerebral girl. Before I started this, I hadn’t danced in 15 years. I am finding muscles I forgot I had. I am getting stronger. But holy shit it is HARD.
It is also one of the most empowering things I have ever done. It is an incredibly supportive environment of (mostly) women wearing almost nothing (skin grip is the best grip) in all their variety of shapes and sizes because what their bodies LOOK like is nowhere near as important as what they can DO. And those of us who can’t do as easily as the others get nothing but love and encouragement.
Recently I got taught to hula hoop by a woman who is at least ten years, maybe 15, younger than me. I have never been able to hula hoop. I am still not awesome, but I can keep the hoop up now.
My pole instructor is becoming a dear friend.
When I tell people I am learning pole, at least half the time I get raised eyebrows and laughter. And I smile sweetly and say, “It’s incredible. I’m getting so STRONG. It’s the most fun I have ever had getting fit. Way better than the gym. It’s frikkin’ HARD. But I love it.”
I have learned more self-respect hanging upside down half-naked from a pole with these extraordinary women than I ever did following the rules.
Do what you want. Bollocks to the haters.