"Focus!" Was what Lyra told me to concentrate on this week, as I psyched myself up for pole class.
My mind is a funny place to be in; full of hope, anticipation, self-doubt and confusion. When it comes to performing new moves in front of a bunch of confident and beautiful women, this is NOT somewhere I feel my absolute best.
But heeding Lyra's warning of focussing on tonight's lesson, several times did I find myself typing the word F-O-C-U-S in my head like a drill, forcing myself not to drift off into a post-6pm world of 'what's for tea' and 'have my children destroyed the house today'.
I was paired this week with Chanel and Sophie. Everyone seems to be accruing nicknames, and Chanel lives up to hers in every way - Miss Class. Her comments are class, her moves are class, her sense of humour is class. And when she pressed her hands on my back and gave me a huge shove towards the pole, even that was class.
"Your nickname, Liz, is Little Miss Excuses!" she exclaimed as she caught me saying I wasn't capable of the pretty move Andi had just shown us. Trust me, I was trying my best to focus, but I felt like a 'reality burger' - that patty pressed between two soggy pieces of bread, a slice of plastic cheese and two strands of browning lettuce. It's not really what it says on the advert at all - and that was Andi. The most fantastic burger you could ever imagine. And to be fair, the rest of the class were top quality menu items as well! It was just me, rounding up the Corner of Disaster with my lack of split ability and fear of showing myself up.
Sophie making one of the moves this week look like a walk in the park. (In case you're wondering, she's that triple cheeseburger with extra sauce and a large fries. Every move is on point, even the ones she's yet to try)
I know I had to stop making excuses as to why I couldn't do these moves; perhaps it's because I'm still grappling at the desire to practice these on a spinning pole. I'd love to one day have a spinning pole lesson, prove that I'm not all useless! Maybe this is where my insecurities are coming, that I'm furiously re-training myself on moves and feeling so behind with the class. Yet, every time Andi came over to monitor us, she was telling me that somehow I was managing it. With an eye-roll, she'd help me down from the pole after achieving the move in practice, and wander off to her next pole-full of students.
Andi helping me get my head around this week's move
I couldn't work out then, where I was disconnected in my head. I was telling myself I couldn't do it, I was telling the others I couldn't do it. And then I could somehow do it. And the more I practiced, the more I did get it. Focus, focus, focus. And there it was! Sophie would clap, and Chanel would say 'I told you so!' and for every move the same thing happened - I said I couldn't do it, I did it, they cussed me.
I said to Chanel as Sophie was cracking out another super move, 'I just feel that what I think my body is doing doesn't look anything like it's supposed to.' This I think is the crux of all my issues; I am not merging my brain and body together to think that it's moving the same, and halfway up the pole I'm telling myself I'm getting it all wrong, I make up something that I believe to be 'about right', get cross with myself as I dismount, and find the photographic evidence that I indeed completed the required move.
Andi in the background helping me to master this little number. I enjoyed this move, I felt that I saw through the motions in the right order!
I went back to Lyra and her command to 'focus' and I decided that perhaps focussing on the teacher, or the class, or the music, or the pole, or myself, was all wrong. Perhaps my focus needed to be staged - focus on one section at a time.
As I struggled into one of the positions, Andi said 'You're not resting on your belly! You're on your hip!' Immediately my brain heard 'You've got it wrong, you can't do it'. I was ready to come down this pole like you couldn't believe; but instead of dismounting I pulled myself back up and onto my belly. 'That's it!' she encouraged, and I was able to focus on the next step; pulling my leg across. And then the following step - the elbow to the pole. I had in my mind split this move into three processes, and focussed one by one. And there it was!
Managing the move - I was pretty proud of this (and I'm sure my splits are getting very slowly better - not great but with Andi in my ear telling me to breathe through it, I'm getting there!)
The final move of the evening was one I loved to try at home, and before I could even think myself out of it, there I was ready to nail it - in stages. Invert - grip - feet off - hold - dismount. Those five stages I focussed on calmly and slowly, and there came my straight leg hold. No support, no spotting - all by myself.
Straight leg hold
I was able to walk away this week feeling a little magic in my mind working - another lesson learned mentally and physically. Hundreds of photos of the little corner pole and our progression in our pole journeys. Smiles and sore bits, mess-ups, blurs, and mostly Andi standing under us supporting us, but every photo was one taken in a moment of focus. Focus Pocus. Believe - concentrate - magic!
Martini to end the lesson
With thanks to Chanel (Miss Class), Sophie and Andi, and the rest of the class at Active Cherry Eastbourne. And until next week, don't forget my discount for the pole collection - POLE10.
Ooh - also - did you see my Galaxy shorts? Cool right?! They're hitting our store in the next month, so if you're as excited about having the universe on your booty, keep watching!
Until next week,