Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I'd like a pair of stripper shoes, size 8, please

About the time I was finishing chemo, I was struggling with some body image issues. I had lost my mojo, if you will. I searched everywhere for my mojo - I got drunk (always worked for me before), I tried to pour myself into some hot clothes, I wore some make-up. I worked real hard to bring sexy back. Sexy was not listening. So, one of my first "holy-shit, you must be a little bit crazy, but that's totally awesome" moves was signing myself up for pole dancing lessons. Yep, you heard me. As in a big stainless steel pole and 8 inch heels. Lucite heels.

There's a studio in Atlanta that specializes in pole and exotic dancing for fitness and fun. http://www.polelateaz.com/ (yes, POLE- LA- TEES). I enrolled in Level one and off I went. If you go to to the website and sit there while the pictures scroll through, you will see a group photo with me all bald and shit right there in the middle. That was our Level one recital. And no, no one I know does this in real life or is learning for a "job".

My first class was amazing. It was full of these fun, outrageous women of all kinds: a mother of two, a recently divorced woman, a 40 year old trying something new. We introduced ourselves and said why we were there - get in shape, try something new, feel better about ourselves. I told these ladies about my lost mojo. Tears welled up as I described how I hoped to become comfortable in my own skin again.

As the first class progressed, it became obvious to me how self conscious I had become. I never used to give a fuck about anything- what, the blinds aren't closed? Hell, here's a show. You wanna do it with the lights on? Here's my ass.

Not anymore. With just a simple walk around the room, all I could think of was how I couldn't run my fingers through my hair (the hair is still a problem... everyone loves a big ol' hair flip) or that my ass l was umpy or my belly was out of control. I couldn't just relax. I couldn't feel the music. I couldn't enjoy my body. No one was looking, and I was in the most supportive environment ever, but I was unhappy. And it pissed me off. So I struggled through that first class, put on my big girl pants, and sucked it up. I pushed down my desire to burst into tears and I learned how to spin.

At the end of each class, we danced around the pole in a circle, free-styling it, if you will. At the end of that first class, my teacher declared, "I think she found her mojo."

I'm still working on my pole. I have just begun level three and am starting to learn to go upside down. I have learned moves like the fireman spin, the roly poly, the sidewinder. I stir the pot and do the butterfly and play peek-a-boo. I'd like to say it's all sexy and stuff, but much of the time I'm saying, "wheee!" like a little kid. Although I do believe in slapping my ass at the end.

For my thirtieth birthday, my wonderful husband got me my very own stripper pole. It's currently in my living room. Yes, the room right in the front of the house. I have no furniture in the room so it's like my very own strip club. Except I'm usually wearing a t-shirt and yoga pants. I had to talk my husband out of getting me a stage and lights and a smoke machine- you get the idea. I think he just wanted toys.

So every Saturday morning, I go to pole dance class. Sometimes, I take chair dance class. Sometimes, we go on field trips to a martini bar or a strip club or trapeze class. For a short time, I focus on what's good about my body- how I do an awesome merry-go-round or that my arms are getting stronger by the class. I have found new friends, a great hobby and a really fun way to get in shape. Plus I have an amazing story for a bar or cocktail party. And yes, with every spin, every dip, I'm that much closer to getting back to who I was. But better.


Chris said...

Just so you all know, Court is an AMAZING pole dancer. On Halloween, last year, I went with her, to her class. It was hard, and I felt like I total idiot, but when I looked at Court, I couldn't help but feel proud. She was was swinging forward and backward, crawling on the floor, in 4 inch heels. She was HOT. Courtney, I think you are succeeding in bringing sexy back.

Unknown said...

I attend Polelateaz as well and I'm so happy to see that you are having fun and getting your mojo back! It is the best atmosphere for a self-confidence booster through ass clapping and such, and it is absolutely wonderful that you getting a chance to take it all in during your recovery process. God bless you and your health!