I ran into a student I’ve taught before in pole class yesterday at the lyra class I usually go to. She mentioned she was taking a break from pole because she didn’t think she was flexible enough. This made me very, very sad. I told her that’s not a reason not to do pole, and there still so much to do and learn that is not flexibility dependent AND that her flexibility would improve over time if she kept working on it.
Let’s all stop with the unrealistic expectations we put on ourselves. In a world of perfectly curated Instagram videos, no one sees or appreciates the struggle and hard work it takes to truly master something. Furthermore, the proliferation of photos and videos of girls doing handsprings and other advanced moves with captions like “I’ve only been poling for 5 months!” underneath only serve I think to make many others feel discouraged. Below are some real facts about my pole and aerial journey.
* It took me over a year of regular classes before I could do a clean aerial straddle invert on silks.
* It took me a year to do a cartwheel handspring by myself without a spot. I worked on it constantly during that time.
* It took me 3 years to feel like I can nail an aerial shoulder mount clean every time. And I don’t ever let more than a week or 2 go by without practicing them, because if I don’t do them, I lose them.
* See those pretty splits I can sit in? Or that flat pancake? The results of over 9 years of regular stretching. No, I was not born flexible and no, it did not come overnight.
I am a slow learner. My body does not build strength easily. I’m not ashamed of that and I certainly don’t let it hold me back. All those videos and photos I share are the products of hours of hard work and countless failed attempts. No one should hold back from doing something they love because they feel like they can’t “keep up” with others. Just keep working and progress will come. Be patient with yourself and be kind to your body. It doesn’t matter the pace so long as you’re enjoying the ride! Don’t let your expectations deprive you of your joy!