So, you pole dance.
You might be a new student gaining confidence or an instructor with years of bruises under your belt. But no matter your level I’d venture to say we all have one thing in common;
On at least one occasion you’ve thought twice before telling someone what you do.
Now don’t get me wrong, you absolutely shouldn’t have to. The idea that pole dance is any less legitimate a career path, sport or form of self care is ridiculous but like so many other areas of life the external pressure can weigh heavy.
When I first started taking classes what feels like a million years ago (seriously 6 inch shoes were considered huge and the Jade Split was an elite trick), I genuinely didn’t think twice.
I told anyone who would listen.
As I did this however, I saw the looks I received in response. The up-and-down glance. The condescending “oh I hear that's great for your core” that was supposed to show you how hip and open they are as a person, but you can feel the sense of obligation to say something like this in the words.
After what felt like the hundredth time having this conversation, I started second guessing whether I should tell anyone at all. Should I say I took dance classes? Maybe I just say I workout? How do I do justice to this thing that I had completely fallen in love with, without dealing with the quiet judgment.
Sometimes I felt it would be easier if they would show their feelings openly, at least then I could rebut their arguments. Other times I wished I could get everyone of those people to a show hoping if they saw the joy myself and my classmates felt when we accomplished what we had been working towards for so long.
But you know what, it’s true what they say. “What other people think of you is just none of your business”.
Now I’m not falling into the trap of projecting my own frustrations onto the other party. I don’t believe every person who doesn’t accept what I do is closed minded, backwards, jealous, or any of the other adjectives that can come to mind when our ego speaks for us. I do, however, feel a little sad for them.
This community is really remarkable. We have our differences. At times things can be a little strained in places. But what family doesn’t have its differences? The diversity of our pole family is what makes it beautiful, and keeps us ahead of the curve in acceptance and openness. We welcome all people, from all walks and we are better for it.
Our culture, for lack of a better word, is made richer and more beautiful thanks to the incredible mix of students, teachers and performers.
So next time you are asked, “hey so what do you do?”, take whichever approach makes you comfortable, but know that this community, this beautiful, diverse community has your back.
Whether you’re at the “shouting it from the rooftops” phase, or you’re gently diverting the topic of conversation.
Your decision is ok, it’s perfect, so long as it feels right to you. We’ve got you babe.