My Pole Journey: Where I Am Now

I last left you with a video of my performance at the Northern California Pole Presentational, NCPP. If you missed that blog post, you can check it out here. I’d love to hear what you think about the performance.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I decided to challenge myself and compete in my first pole competition. Am I ready? I have no fuckin’ clue, but I’m going to give it my best. And while I do so, I’ll share with all of you. So, let me catch you up:

October was a quiet month for me. I somehow threw my back out with my last pole class in September. I also strained my hand. Ouch! The strain still continues and I’m not sure if it’ll ever go away.

At the moment, I really want to focus on getting stronger and more flexible. Logically, I did what any person would do … I purchased myself a beautiful, shiny, chrome nine-foot X-pole. Yep, and my hubby helped install it and it currently lives in my dining room. Here’s a picture. You can see in the background our living room, alphabet carpet and humungous stuffed caterpillar and all.

Having a nine-foot pole in your dining room certainly leads to interesting conversations. It also leads to some fun mom and kid time. My three kiddos love the pole and always want to practice getting stronger on the pole. It’s fun to work with all of them on pull ups and crunches and spins and climbs. Not only do they get a chance to have fun and get physical, but I have a chance to really make sure I know my stuff. Teaching them has helped me get better at my moves. If I start teaching them and come across a point at which I feel stuck on a certain move, I can consult one of my pole instructors at SF Pole and Dance.

Now, I’m working with Amy Bond, founder of SF Pole and Dance on a choreographed performance for my solo on stage. I already have the schedule for the weekend, and I will perform sometime between 8:30 and 8:40 AM on my birthday! There’s only one other person in my category so I guess that means I have to take first place.

I’m simultaneously scared out of my pole shorts and excited. I have never, ever performed solo on a stage. I don’t count speaking engagements as performing. I’ve always been in a group. Going solo brings up all the blind stuff for me. Fears around orientation, spacing, audience engagement … eye contact … all show up for me. Recently, I had a conversation with my instructor on eye contact. At NCPP, one of the judges made a comment on the comment card that we needed more eye contact. Now, who knows if that was targeted at me, or the other blind person on stage, or any of the other three ladies in the group. There’s no way to know. I said it wasn’t a big deal to me, but then I got thinking. Is looking in the general direction of the audience enough? When I competed on the speech team, I never had comments about eye contact. Then again, the judges may have known ahead of time that I was blind. They may have seen me walk in, or frankly, walking up with my cane and then parking it nearby may have given them a clue that I was blind. I’ve thought about walking onto the stage with my cane and an escort: the escort to orient me to the two poles and help me get centered on the stage; and my cane, to walk on the stage as a proud blind person. The escort can walk off stage with my cane and return after the performance. Is this enough though? And, if I do this, will the judges judge me differently? Will I get pity points? Or, will they tell me I have no right to be on the stage because I’m blind? Hell, I’ve been told by a wheelchair user that I shouldn’t be out in public alone with my child and that I needed an attendant.

That’s where my head is now. I’ve got some gremlins to work through including how I feel about my weight and body shape. Somedays, that makes me more nervous, and other days, my blindness does. And yet, other days, it is simply the fact that I’ve never been on stage alone that frightens me. When all is said and done, I’m thrilled and excited to be performing. There are so many awesome things about the whole event. It’s my 38th birthday. My mom wants to see me perform, so much so that my parents are going to drive up from southern California and see me perform. And of course, the pole community is so supportive. So, I’ll just keep practicing and remembering to breathe.

Signing off for now,

Bay Area Blind Mom

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