Monday, February 22, 2016

Can't Does Not Belong In Pole!

So, there is a debate that is going on in the pole community about sex workers and pole competitions.

What is happening is that there are competitions telling people that are strippers or people that have worked in adult films or along that line that they can not compete in their competitions. 

Well, this is my take on it.

When I started pole dancing, there was a word that was really discouraged from saying, if not removed from using in the studio at all. The word was " can't ". I was not aloud to say "I can't..." whenever a new trick or move was being taught. I always gave it a try, and if I had troubles with it, we modify it. But " can't " was never an option. That didn't go for just my studio, but in any workshops that I took, weather at another studio or Pole Expo or wherever. Every instructor I had did not like to hear that word.

That was something that I like about being in pole, they push me. They told me "I can".

Now there is a small group of people that are stating to use that bad word. They are telling people "you can't". You can't be in our competition, you are not welcome. We don't approve of you. If you have been in an adult film, if you are a stripper, you can't compete, you can't perform. That ugly word is rearing it's head. It should not matter if someone's job falls under the sex worker category, if they want to pole and put their heart and soul into a competition piece, let them. They should not be told they can't. They should not be told no to their passion.

And here is the thing about the word 'can't', it's a seed, a bad seed. As it grows, it builds a thorny barrier. It starts to grow discouragement. It grows resentment and negativity. It grows into the foundation of unity, cracking it, making it crumble. It will divide and weaken. It will destroy.

So, simply put, there are two sides here. Those who say you 'can' and those that want to say you ' can't '. One side for unity and one side for division. What side would you want to be on?

As for me, I am tired of hearing the word 'can't' thrown my way.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

My Pole Community....

Why did I fall in love with pole? It was the pole community, just that plain and simple.

It is almost four years now since I first walked thru the doors of Twirly Girls Pole Fitness and took my first pole dancing class. I had no idea what to really expect and I was totally stepping out of my comfort zone. But, it was that day that I found a new group of amazing people and a continuing growing group of friends in this amazing community.

What I loved about this community was that it was so accepting. Here I was a somewhat over weight, awkwardly shy guy and none of that mattered to anyone. If I was there to learn pole, that was all that mattered. As time went by, their simple acceptance actually boosts my confidence. As my confidence grew, I put myself out there more in the pole community. And it just seemed to grow from there.

Now, here is something that really amazed me. I went to my first Pole Expo in Las Vegas sometime in my second year of poling. It was kind of a last minute decision. Here I was with pole dancers from across the country and around the world and I still felt the same. This same acceptance that I felt from my pole studio, I was getting it from these complete strangers. That feels pretty amazing!

Pole Expo also was a hub of who’s who in the pole industry. The pros, there to perform and instruct. The pole business, clothing, poles, grip aids and everything else pole related. I got to meet so many of them! I am lucky that I have an awesome friend that had already worked hard at making a lot of these great connections. But I can say, it was great to feel this since of respect that came from all of these people when I met them! I felt it with the Bad Kitty owners, Jack and Trisha, or Joel at Mighty Grip. Or when Josiah Grant gave me my stage name and when Zoraya Judd was helping me invert in her workshop. Even getting to sit down with Suwasit and have lunch. Best way to describe it, they made me feel like I was someone, the same respect that they gave to the pros, they gave to me and that feels pretty amazing! And each Pole Expo, that experience has continued to grow.

All of this continued, even after Pole Expo. I can’t say how great it feels that I have been able to go to these people for support in my AIDS LifeCycle fundraising I have been doing the last few years. The pole community has helped me raise some major money in the fight against HIV and AIDS, from either monetary donating directly or donating product for the fundraisers.

I guess what I am getting at is that I have always felt that the pole community was every accepting. It didn’t matter where you came from, what you looked like, what abilities or disabilities you had. If you had the heart to pole, they had the heart to help you achieve your goals. It always felt like a group that was always united together and there to help everyone.

It was a group that was united as one family and supported everyone.

I wish it would stay that way. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

There is no crying in Pole Dancing... ok, sometimes there is.

Sometimes, you just need to take a moment to yourself and shed a few tears… Then get back on the pole.

So, the other day I was in pole class and having a hard time with getting the moves that were being taught.  I was getting frustrated with myself. I know some had to do with my lack of flexibility on one of the moves, but the other I should have been getting.

Now I realized that I do have a lot going on in my life right now and it is adding stress on me. The law firm I work for is merging with another firm. I know I am keeping my job, but there is still stress there. I also have the AIDS LifeCycle coming up in June and that is weighing on me. Plus add a couple of other stress factors, well it starts having an effect on you.  That stress starts to build up and your health, mentality and even your poling can be affected.

Now back to the other night, we were working on getting into a Martini and I was just not having any luck. I was giving up. I had to sit down. I getting really frustrated with myself and feeling like a failure. As I sat in that corner I started to cry. Surprisingly, no one noticed, or at least let me have my moment in peace.  I just sat there feeling the tears running down my cheeks.

The thing was it felt good. It felt like a little bit of stress was released with each tear. I could feel the tightness in my muscles let up as I let my emotions out.  I took my moment to myself and just let it happen. When I was done crying, dried my tears and was ready to rejoin the class.

I got on to the pole, did my side climb up, swung my leg to the other side, grabbed that leg and there I was, in the Martini.

I am also lucky to have a great instructor, one that knows when to push me and when to let me have my moment in the corner.  

So when life starts to get in your way and weigh down on you, that that moment to yourself and just let the tears flow. There is nothing wrong with it. Just let the stress out then dry them and get on with life.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Emotional Spirituality Of Pole

I remember watching a movie called ‘The Man in the Moon’ back in the early 1990’s. In the movie, the father would go fishing down at the lake every Sunday.  His family referred to this as him going to his church. It was his way of finding God.

I guess we all have our own church that we attend and regardless of what religion belief you follow, the true nature of any spirituality is to find yourself.  For me, at this time in my life, that has been pole.

When you look at religion or spirituality, there are basic elements that a person is looking to find. They are also looking for the guidance to find these elements in themselves. Surprisingly, I have been guided to find these same elements in myself with pole dancing.  Strength, Balance, Courage, Determination are all things that I have found in pole dancing. The scene of community, the support to achieve your goals and the desire to help others achieve theirs, again all elements of spirituality, yet found in a church that had poles instead of pews.  Plus, when you get to the point where you are comfortable dancing around with others in your underwear, you have truly reached a higher plane!

Pole has also been an emotional outlet for me, too.  It’s a place I can let my guards down and not have to worry about judgments from other.  It has become my sanctuary.  It’s very therapeutic being to dance my emotions out. I do notice that my emotions do come out in the way I dance depending on how I am feeling.

I also like to pick music that I can emotionally connect to. I think that is one reason I like country music, I can relate to it and I find it emotionally activating. That is why I perform to a lot of country songs. I want to shear that emotional connection I’m feeling with my music with my audience. I like it more when someone says that my number made them cry or happy or even reminded them of someone rather than how well I pole danced.

I guess the main thing is that I am at home with pole dancing. I am with family every time I walk through that door and that is what really counts.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Am I ready to make a big reveal?

Every morning you look in the mirror and see yourself, all of yourself.  The question is what do others see when they look at you. Even more specific, what do you hide when they look at you?

I myself like to say that I am pretty much an open book, but I know that is not completely true.  We all keep things about ourselves secret, whether it’s our insecurities, our true feelings, a physical imperfection or even our sexuality. After you do that for so long, it becomes even harder to pull those covers off the mirrors and allow your full reflection to show to others.

One reason we keep things secret is that we don’t want them to be used against us. On that same note though, how much power do those secrets have over us once we reveal them ourselves?  Let’s see if I get enough guts to make my own big reveal by the time I am finished writing this blog.

Awhile ago I did a blog on things that people did not know about me. You can read it here. Some of the things that are on the list were reveals about my, while others were more of things that I would just call un-known facts about me.  Saying that, I guess a big reveal is something that would make you look at a person differently. It could be good or bad, but never the less, your view of that person is changed.

One reveal I recently did, and caught on video was a lap dance! I have danced plenty of times in my underwear in front of other people, but this was the first time on another person. Plus it was my first real number I have done that was so sexual in nature. I will now share that video for all of your enjoyment! You can watch it here. I was afraid to watch it at first myself, but when I finally did, I have to say that I was not that bad! Ha-ha! Was that enough of a big reveal?

Another thing about big reveals is who learns about them. You might not mind one group of people knowing who you might have a total pole crush on, but then there are others that is just none of their damn business. Even as I write this, I wonder who might read it, or watch the video. 

In the end, I guess we all make our reveals when we are ready. It’s part of life, learning to know when it is time to open yourself up. Eventually, you will realize that you are no longer looking in the mirror, but out the window… and not care about all those who are looking in.  It’s your life and let the sun shine in!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Finding Myself In Pole Dancing

I have been trying to write a blog about men in pole dancing, and not having very much luck getting my words to come together. Further below you will see what has taken me over three weeks to come up with. As for right now, I am going to say this. It applies to a lot of things in life.

When you do not allow men that want to pole dance into your studio, you are shutting a door. You’re not just shutting the door on that man; you are shutting it on yourself too. You or your business can not expand behind closed doors.

I have been poling now for two years. It is kind of hard to believe how far I have come. I lived a life where I did not get much exercise and was slowly putting weight on. I do not want to think where I would be weight wise if I did not find pole dancing… better yet, if pole dancing did not find me.  I am now down over 35 pounds, I have greater confidence in myself and I have more strength. Most importantly, I have found a place where I feel I belong, a place I can call home and a group of people I can call family. I have found courage to put myself out there. I was even the Face of Mighty Grip for the month of February. Plus I am a new member of the Pole Dancing Bloggers.  I am happy that I can pole dance.

Now, what if that door was shut on me? I might be sitting on the couch watching a bad horror movie on the SyFi channel, weighing 200 to 225 pounds.  My self confidence would be less, and maybe just following in others ways instead of making my own way.

What about the pole studio? The things I have achieved, those are notches that the studio can boast about. I mean what is greater than being able to say, “Hey, we helped Robert find himself and look how far he has come!" They can say, “The Face of February for Might Grip is one of our students!” How cool is that?

I have had doors shut on me before, it’s not fun. It has you walking away feeling even less of yourself. So, just remember, when you open that door, you will most likely be changing someone’s life and that will change yours!

Ok, here is what I had been working on what seemed like forever.  I was just having too much trouble getting it to come out.

Finding my place in pole… as a man.

When I first started poling, I have to admit that I was a little intimidated. I was walking into what I thought was a woman’s world. I know there were a couple of the ladies that would not have a problem with me in the studio, but not sure about the one that did not know me. I have to say that I was quickly relieved that I was wrong on those thoughts!

I pole at Twirly Girls Pole Fitness in Pleasanton, California. Despite the name, this is a pole studio that allows men and shows them just as much respect as the woman. As a matter of fact, a couple of the instructors are guys.  Everyone there seemed perfectly fine with me in their pole class and quick to welcome me.  As a matter of fact, in my two years of poling, I have not felt any judgment against me from the pole community…

Ugh…. I have been trying to write this blog for several weeks now and I am not getting the words to flow. You would think it would be an easy topic for me to write about, since I am man that pole dances. I think I will just do a quick run through of the thoughts I have been having.

First thing that popped into my head is pole clothing. I have found that most the companies that sell pole clothing really don’t have a lot for men, if they have anything at all. Finding a pole outfit to perform in is near impossible.  I do feel that this is a market that is just waiting to be tapped into in the pole industry. There seems to be more and more men getting into pole dancing and they are going to need a place to spend their money.  I do have to say that I do like dancing in the PoleFit Fold Over Pole Fitness Shorts from Bad Kitty. But like the Capezio dance shorts I also wear, they are also a woman’s cut. I have heard some talk that there are a couple of lines for men that might be coming out, but not sure when. Until then I guess I could always perform in my Andrew Christian Ass-less Underwear and cowboy boots. I wonder who would like to see that.

Another thing I was thinking, how many studios have actually had men sign up and pay to take a pole class just to check out the women? I know I have only been poling for two years, but I have yet to hear about this actually happening.  I know I was in some pain in my first class and left swore and bruised. I am sure that would be a deterrent to any men that just wanted to gawk at the woman.  Also, most women are intuitive enough to know when a man walks through their studio door if he is legit in wanting to learn pole or just a creeper. I guess what I am getting at, is don’t let this be a reason not to allow men into your studio. I am sure, if you run a man through a regular pole work out, he will not come back if he is not really there to pole dance.
Now, here are some photos of this man in pole dancing...

Monday, January 20, 2014

My 2014 Pole Goals!

My pole goals for the year of the horse, 2014!

First on my list, is more of a continuation from 2013. I want to continue working on my flexibility. I have been slowly getting a little more bendy with the help of AJ at Twirly Girls Pole Fitness, but I really want to push myself this year. I know I have it in me, as I have seen how far I can flex in some areas when AJ pushes on my body. I just need to get to where I can do it on my own. Oh, and remember to breath while I am stretching myself out.   

Next on the list is getting into Superman, on my own. This will be happening soon I hope. I can get into Superman out of Jasmine with a little help now. When I say a little help, I mean someone grabbing my ass and pushing me thigh over and popping into position. I know I can hold the position once I get into it. Then, of course, I want to keep working on other moves as well. I can only get better, right?

The third item on my list is dealing with choreography. I am lousy at learning choreography and coming up with it. I think part of this has to do with my dyslexia. I seem to get moves switched around or backwards. So, right now, when I perform, I do it free style. One thing that I have planned to do to help me get over this is a pole number with Jade for the Lovely Rita Fundraiser later this year. I am hoping this will build my confidence with choreographed numbers.

What you will see next on my list is I want to just continue to have fun! I enjoy my classes, dancing with my fellow pole dancers and promoting pole. That fun also includes looking forward to going to Pole Expo in Las Vegas! I have to wait till September for that though.

The last thing on my list is actually a goal for 2015. I want to be the Might Grip Guy of 2015. First step is becoming the Face of Mighty Grip for a month in 2014. I am on my third try, for the Face of February. At least I know I have 9 or 10 more tries if I don’t get February. After I win a month, I go on to the next level for Mighty Grip Guy 2015. Don’t you think a Cowboy would make a good Mighty Grip Guy? I do have to say I love all the support I have gotten from the folks at Mighty Grip, especially Stephanie! So if you see my photo post from Mighty Grip on FaceBook, please ‘like’ it!

So, I think that ends my list, for now. I know as the year progresses, I will want to add more to it. I will keep you up dated as we go. 
Keep it wild!