Friday, August 10, 2007

My workout spins circles around yours...

Okay. I think I've teased about this in other posts. So, time to 'fess up.

I'm a pole dancer.


You read that right.

Me, Jeanne the librarian. Swings on a pole once a week at her dance class. Have since January.

And I absolutely love it.

The class is all adult women - 12 students, 1 teacher. The studio is usually dim, disco ball spinning, bouncing light off the mirrors and the 13 silvery poles. Deep purple velvet curtains hang from the windows. Black rubber floors cushion our feet (whether heeled or (as I have lately) bare.)

Right now, I've mastered the invert - going upside down on the pole. We've been working on letting go with our hands while we are upside down... Something I'm not very comfortable with, to say the least!! Which actually makes the women in my class laugh - because I'm usually the one who is game for taking off outer layers of clothes.

So, you are probably wondering (if you've gotten your jaws off the ground,) why, in all that's holy, would someone recovering from an eating disorder WANT to learn to pole dance, let alone strip????

In early January, before I started taking classes, I was completely insecure about my body. I hated my sexu@lity, my sexu@lness and everything that made my body feminine. And I wanted to change this legacy that my brother and cousin left me. I wanted to take back my body and love it.

My instructor, Stephanie, is amazing. From the moment I stepped into my first class, she made me and each and every woman in the room feel beautiful. Even in my long sleeves and yoga pants that covered every inch of my skin, I felt alluring.

It's funny, looking back now. I had forgotten how uncomfortable I was with dancing in front of others. The only way I could really get into the moves was to close my eyes. (Something I still do from time to time, but I don't need to anymore.)

As I've progressed through each level (the studio where I go has six levels of classes before one becomes a Pole Master,) I've become bolder. And I've let it show. For class, I wear a tight pair of short shorts and a T-shirt that molds to my curves. Both match my 6-inch platform, red-white-and-blue heels. (Which I haven't worn in weeks because of my ankle. 8-( )

But where I've noticed it the most is on the inside. When I look in the mirror and I see the chubby little girl from long ago, I do a hip circle and suddenly, I'm a hot momma who can swing on a pole! Yeah, baby!

I walk taller. I feel the strength inside of me.

I like my body. And sometimes, I even love it, if only for a few moments.

The point is that I am slowly claiming my body for myself - relishing the strength of my muscles, cherishing the miraculous wonder that is me.

Sheila Kelley says it best in her book The S Factor, "I love to pole-dance and strip... I don't do it for money, and I don't do it for strangers. I stripdance for myself... I do it because it makes me look and feel extraordinary. Because it lets me soar high above the world and its troubles. Because when I dance, layers of self-doubt and self-consciousness fall away to reveal my true, powerful self." (page ix)

And while I may still cover up my true self in my day-to-day life, I know that she exists now. And with every gracefully landed spin on the pole, I come closer to letting her see the light of each and every day.


disordered girl said...

That does sound incredibly empowering. You go!!

æ said...

hubba hubba Jeanne...
and recovering your sense of, is that a challenge? I think I need more time :)


Faith said...

Wow! I am so incredibly impressed. I've talked about doing something like this but I am so not ready.

You are AMAZING Jeanne!


Sarah said...

You are so cool! But not just because you pole dance. Because you do it, and write about it, and acknowledge all the different aspects of yourself.

What a great post.


Jeanne said...

Thanks, dg – it is incredibily empowering, partly because it is in a safe environment.

Hey ae! It is a challenge for me – it’s the one part of my marriage that is underdeveloped right now, and it happens to be the one part that my husband can’t do anything else than what he’s doing (be supportive, patient, understanding, patient.)

Thanks, Faith – believe me, you’ll know when you’re ready for it. It’s a fabulous time!

Thanks, sarah!
These are the shoes and where I bought them… American flag shoes - juliet If you decide to buy, you may want to buy a size larger than you normally would. I’m normally a size 7.5 but I take an 8 in these shoes.
Enjoy! 8-)

Emily Jolie said...

Wow, that's so beautiful, jeanne! And so inspiring! And, to second what's already been said, empowering. Awesome!

Thanks for sharing!


Jeanne said...


I'm glad you stopped by.

Dancing is incredibly empowering - especially since the focus is never on form (unless one is in danger of getting hurt), and always on "your body is beautiful."

Angie at Lokahi Acupuncture said...

That sounds awesome, jeanne. We really don't give our bodies near enough credit most of the time for how amazing they are. Just think of all we can do with our bodies and how much joy we can experience thanks to them! Starting with a simple walk and breathing in fresh air...

with love,


t said...

This was so awesome to read!

Jeanne said...

Hi ej,

Thanks, tara!