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.