“You’ll always be different,” she said, patting me on the shoulder with what she thought was a loving gesture for probably the hundredth time that year. I was eight years old, and couldn’t realize why I didn’t look like all the other little girls. I was overweight, too tall for my age, and equally if not more awkward to boot. I hated myself. I despised being different. All I wanted to do was fit in. I wanted to be “pretty” like all the others.
Fast forward to almost two decades later. Past eating disorders, trouble with authority, issues to commit, constantly moving from place to place like a nomad. To a young woman who, despite what the number said, was still a confused little girl. She still was different, though by now she had learned to look a lot more like everyone else, yet still created outside the lines, and still hated every aspect of it.
I walked into my first pole class filled with intrigue and trepidation. I didn’t know what to expect, just that I wanted to learn something new. I dragged a friend with me, for emotional support.
The same thing happened, just like every other experience in my life. I fumbled. I couldn’t pick it up, I went left when everyone went right. I couldn’t lift my body up to climb, I couldn’t execute the most basic spin. I got the funny looks and eyes rolled from the others in the class.
I sucked at it. But something clicked. I wanted to push myself. There was finally, after 25 years, a voice that said, “keep going.”
So I did. I began training in Las Vegas with an amazing, patient instructor, who showed me more and more as time began. I was intimidated, but I didn’t quit, and after what seemed like a lifetime, I started to get stronger. I climbed. I got that spin, and those bruises began to go away. I began to like what I saw looking back at myself in the mirror. I didn’t give up. I began to find not only confidence, but peace within from pole dancing. My journey began to transform as I grew from an awkward ugly duckling, becoming my therapy, my expression, my practice. I have learned so much, not only technically, but emotionally, connecting myself to the world, and instead of constantly comparing myself to a mold, but embracing my uniqueness and learning to translate it to others through my dance. For the first time in my entire life, every moment I began to fly, I was FREE.
A few years go by, and I picked up a teaching gig at a local studio in order to train for a competition. I had to teach one class a week, and in return I had a key to work on my piece whenever I wanted. I didn’t think for a second that it would impact my world and take my pole journey in an entirely different direction—but it did. People were looking to me, this person who had always regarded herself as too different to be heard, to be anything, and they were learning from me. It changed my life.
The hugs, the laughter, seeing the lightbulb going off in someone’s head or watching them finally achieving a challenging move they worked so hard for—I began to live for that. It was the most fulfilling thing I had ever done in my entire life, and I realized that this is what I was put on this earth to do.
I opened this studio in order to help others. I get the chance to wake up every day, knowing that each day I am blessed enough to teach others what I love the most in my life, my passion, and watch them grow on their journeys. My students, and my staff inspire me on a daily basis, and I can only hope to do the same in return. I have worked very hard to make this vision a reality, and I am eager to see what the future holds.
And I look forward to meeting you.