I love girls on chairs almost as much as I love girls on poles. There’s something seriously powerful about watching one of your best friends giving your other best friend a lapdance, just because she can. In that moment, nobody is worrying about how big or small her ass should be. Or how her legs compare to [insert championship pole dancer here]. We’re all just enjoying the absolutely carefree playful spirit permeating the room. We shout dirty jokes as the lapdancer pops her booty in the receivers face until one of them has to “tap out” because she is laughing too damn hard. (NOTE – no pole dancers were harmed in the making of this post.) And everyone claps in real appreciation as she slides down in the splits and says” TaDa!”
No one critiques her. No one holds up signs that say 8 or 9.5. No one would even consider saying something negative at a pole party (especially at the fabulous birthday party I went to last night at Siren Fitness.)
The Demon’s Playground?
But when we move this whole experience and rename it from Party to Class, our inner demons surface. Instead of playfulness we become overly serious. Instead of experimental we become regimental. Instead of cultivating acceptance of ourselves and our bodies, we become judgmental, critical, and frustrated.
One of the key issues that every teacher struggles with is how to create an environment where woman will let go of all that self judgment. We use encouragement, positive feedback, and try to teach by example. Some dance studios encourage Las Vegas Rules, ie what happens in class stays in class. Students can share generalities and their own experience with their family and friends, but not the names of other students or whether Stacy’s invert is better than Jane’s.
The Big NGE
But in the end, everything still comes down to one woman and her thoughts of being Not Good Enough. And don’t kid yourself, every woman struggles with Not Good Enough. Even if she has managed to slay this demon, the damn thing usually has babies and no matter how cute and fuzzy they may seem in the beginning, eventually they’ll start sprouting six heads, shark teeth, and menacing poison tipped spikes. (I know this sounds all doom and gloom, but I promise there’s a happy ending…no not THAT kind of happy ending. Geez!)
You’re Not Alone
I’ve been pole dancing for 10 years, teaching pole for 6 years, taking dance movement classes since I was 12 years old and I still regularly experience Not Good Enough. In fact, some days it’s all I experience. I’ll go to class feeling relaxed and ready to experiment, attempt a pole spin I’ve done a million times and totally bomb it. At this point, I can usually get up, dust myself off, and try again. But by the third try, if I’m still unsuccessful, my NGE Demon will shake itself awake and start snarling at me. It’s beady red eyes will glow as it says “You’ve got to extend, silly girl! Look at how weak you are? I told you this would happen if you ate that slice of chocolate cake last Saturday! At least try to point your damn toes and fall gracefully! “
However, for me, the worst of the worst, the nastiest of the nasty, is the Not Good Enough demon from hell that I experience when I’m teaching. Now, I LOVE teaching. In fact, I’m working very hard to make teaching movement my full time job. But when I’m teaching, it is my job to make sure every woman in my class has an awesome experience. I need to ensure every woman understands the technique we’re working on, the safety issues associated with it, and all the different layers that turn a mechanical movement into a sensual pole spin. I WANT her to have a good time…. but I can’t MAKE her have a good time. Which means whenever a student is struggling with her NGE Demon, I’m struggling with mine. My Teaching NGE Demon says “Quick, quick! Help her for goodness sake. What sort of a teacher are you? Can’t you see she’s struggling because you didn’t explain it well enough?”
I wish I could tell you that after years and years of pole dance practice, the feeling of being Not Good Enough goes away. I wish I could tell you that if you conquer the beast once, it will never rear it’s ugly head again. I WISH I could tell you that, but I can’t. And I wish I could tell you that some sexy, gallant man is going to ride in at just the right moment, shove a pike into the belly of the demon and whisk you away to a huge castle with a room full of Louboutin shoes. Instead you’re going to have to learn how to strap on a sword… because You are the White Knight.
The only person who can rescue you from your NGE demon is you. And here’s the light at the end of the tunnel: Slaying the demon isn’t easy, but it’s does get easier.
Arm Thyself, Sensual Warrior
The number one way I have found to kill the feeling of being Not Good Enough, is Aparigraha. No, I’m not speaking in tongues, well maybe I am a little. Aparigraha is a concept from Tantric Yoga which basically means non-attachment or non-clinging. For me, Aparigraha is the cultivation of acceptance that all things in life will change. All things are ethereal. Today can never be exactly like yesterday and tomorrow doesn’t exist yet. It means JUST FOR TODAY, let go of the past. JUST FOR TODAY, let go of your judgment. JUST FOR TODAY, let go of your fantasies for the future (also known as expectations). Because, if you hold on to everything with a death grip, you’ll lose the one ability that makes us alive, the ability to change.
So when the Not Good Enough Demon attacks you, pull out your sword (of compassion) and kill him with kindness. JUST FOR THIS BREATH, accept life without resistance because you still have the power to change. In fact, the world is conspiring with you. That’s why it promises that this moment in your life won’t be anything like the last one, or anything like the moment before that.
You have the freedom to choose something new every time you take a breath. Instead of judging yourself as Not Good Enough, simply accept that something happened that you didn’t want to happen. It already happened. You already lived through it, successfully(!) and now you have more information, more knowledge, more understanding. Let it go, learn from it, and make a new choice.
Queen of the Compassionate Castle
I know how difficult it is to accept yourself in the heat of frustration, as you fail to achieve that perfect pole spin, that perfect advanced invert, or that perfect extension in the pose. Try to practice taking a breath. One breath, leads to another, leads to another. Take just a moment to feel compassion and say to yourself…
Just for this breath, I let go of self judgment.
Just for this breath, I am Good Enough.