Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Starting over - Week 1, Deb's Tip

Having had so much time off pole my hands have turned into spoilt, soft, supple, well moisturised, sensitive, gentle appendages. They are going hurt so badly in the coming few weeks as they get used to being back on the pole.

One thing about pole dancers, their hands are like leather, they have to be.

Pole dancers hands are toughened over time, become calloused, hardened, dry, and incredibly strong. It's a process we all go through. Many of us will have blisters, scrapes, abrasion, burns, and even cuts from our beloved poles and pole related equipment.

While grip aids are a god send, the skin of our hands still needs to be toughened to take the beating we give them.

I'm trying to jump start the toughening process before I get my hands fully on to the pole again.
Baby soft, moisturised, no longer toughened hands... and action plan ;)

As most polers know, moisturisers and moisturising agents are a serious no, no. Our skin needs to grip, no slip. For most of us we stop moisturising as a sacrifice to having good pole grip.

In the past I've been able to keep my hands toughened and dry by spraying them with Methylated Spirits. It's an amazing drying agent. I keep a cheap spray bottle filled with it next to my bathroom sink and any time I wash my hands (with a non moisturising soap of course) I dry my hands and then spray them with the metho, letting them air dry - it takes about 30 seconds. It's a quick, easy, and convenient way to keep your hands tough and dry.

Another tip, after you've moisturised your face, or applied your make-up, or sunscreen, remember to wash your hands rather than have them absorb the cream... and you guessed it, then spray them with metho and air dry.

Thank me when you see me.

P.S. yes, minor cuts and blisters will sting like a bitch but dry and toughen quick.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Starting over - Week 1, let the healing happen

For something different I'm starting over... again!

My injured left elbow has kept me on for bits at a time, but mostly off the pole for the past 6 months. I've been having physiotherapy, doing home exercises, and things have just stagnated. Being the honest bunny I am I will confess to you it was my mothers constant nagging that actually spurred me into action. I might be 48, but I can still piss and moan about my woes like any good teenager can which in turn pisses off a parent who nags you until you take action. I'm just gonna call it the circle of love.

I went and saw the musculo-skeletal specialist GP she recommended, and I walked out having had two injections into my elbow. One right in the joint into the ligament area, and one into the top of my forearm muscle. My arms been aching since, not from the injection but because my muscles have adapted to being held in a state of constant tension, now they can't. The anaesthetic agent is forcing them to relax, and that stretching action, ouch!
The offending elbow and the doc's room
So this week is all about minimising the use of my left arm, especially for anything requiring my hand to grip and my muscles to lift. It's hard because while I'm right hand dominant, my left is my stronger arm/grip. I keep catching myself and stopping, so far so good.

On the poling side of things my studio has commenced an eight week term today, and I got into the class I wanted, Pole Pleasures. This week will see me modify movements on the pole so that I'm not gripping and lifting, challenging times but the instructors are understanding and encouraging.

It's going to be good to get back, I've missed the social side of things, but I feel like I'm almost back to square one as far as fitness, strength, and flexibility go.
Perfect opportunity for me to document the process and let you read my suffering.
Isn't there a saying like, "Suffering shared is suffering halved", something like that, or is it,
"A whinge shared makes me feel better", you picking up a theme here.

Well here we go... week one, again.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Goodbye Mick ...


Almost a week ago a pivotal member of our pole family experienced a loss none of us thought possible.

The days following this sad news have been numbed and muted.
The usual online banter grew quiet, the atmosphere in the studio dulled, and each of us has tried to work out how to approach this sadness.

A lot of us have cried, a lot have reflected on our own loved ones, some have re-lived their own losses, and some through newness to our community remain reasonably unaffected.

We try to empathise as best we can, and we’ve all waited watching for clues and signs within this confusing time; hints that show us that life goes on, that show its okay for life to go on.

In the freshness of this loss days feel so unfair, the sun shining is wrong, hearing people laughing is wrong, normalness feels wrong. 

But life does go on... and we work through this time the best we can.  

Our thoughts now turn to standing beside one of our own and being there for her as she says her goodbyes and we say ours with her.

We will share this experience with many others who are unknown to us.
We don’t have exclusivity on her, or on her grief.
As much as we want to claim her solely for ourselves, as much as we want to hold her, help her, and make it all better… we cannot. 

We share only a small part of her grief, as we share her; she is also a daughter, a daughter in law, sister, aunt, granddaughter, colleague, bestie, buddy, and a friend.

She is a strong woman, surrounded by strong women.
In that strength we will unite, we will support, and we will cry. 

We will care for her the best way each of us knows how; some of us will overwhelm her with our good intentions, some will become overprotective and become hypersensitive for her, some will try not to be noticed by her for fear of not knowing what to say or do around her.
A lot of us will fall in between those gaps. We will try to imagine, we will reflect, we will empathise, and we will cope the best we can.

Unfortunately life is not a neat and tidy Facebook quote, death and grief are messy. Hell, even life is messy a lot of the time!

Many of us will play the cruel and pointless mind game of what if, should have, and could have; wondering if with hindsight things could have been different. This doesn’t help the healing, and it certainly won’t change what has happened.

Unexpected losses like this jolt us and remind us how unpredictable life is, how truly fragile we are, and that nothing is guaranteed.

The only response, the only way to move forward is to make sure you live.
 
Honour those who have had this opportunity taken from them, and out of respect for those who have been left behind.

Live your life in the present.

Yes, absolutely plan for the future, celebrate the past... but the here and now is all we are. 

Here and now is our experience. 

Here and now is all we have been granted.  

So, say those words you’re unsure of: pay that compliment, praise that action, be kind, smile.

Do the things you’ve wanted to do: make plans to get you there, sign up, save up, book it in. 
Appreciate the steps along the way.

Hug that person, brush that hand, touch that face, even just in friendship, or even if it’s more.

Feel it, embrace it, live it.

Savour all that life offers: the bad as well as the good, the simple, the grand, and the in between.

All of it… Every. Damn. Experience. Every. Damn. Day.

From that coffee that’s too hot, that song stuck in your head, to that divine smell you just can’t place. 

For as long, or as short as we have it for, life really is a gift worth living.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Just gotta write

It's not that I haven't wanted to write, oh god you have no idea how much I've wanted to spill my guts. It's just that I've been waiting for the 'right' time to write.

I've had a revelation though, there is no 'right' time, not for me anyway. It's like asking a part of me to become non existent for a time, to be ignored completely. The reality of that is just implausible.

I've coped with my forced silence these past months by eating my emotions, to stifle the hurt, the shared pain, disappointment, and rage, just to appear calm. Misery followed, and all the other negatives you'd expect.

The time has come to stop with that bullshit and just be who I am once more.

Yah, this is so not a pole post, it's a this is who I am post.

I'm Deb by the way, nice to meet you.

Long story short, a member of my family had been in a relationship that became emotionally abusive. There was manipulation, control, lies, isolation from friends, tears, so many friggin tears. But he got out. Yes, he. I am not saying he didn't make mistakes, you better believe he did. But he paid such a significantly high price in comparison. He lost a job, lost 'family', gave away a sport he loved, gave up studies, to be available when needed. To his credit he recognised how this wasn't how he wanted to be treated, that emotional cruelty and demands isn't love, and he realised he was worth more. The process to reach these conclusions was horrific, but he did it. And I am proud.

Life goes on right. We make mistakes, we get hurt, and we learn the lessons; unfortunately we harden a little bit, but we survive.

And we have, we all have.

Where to now? Seriously it's just family and friends rallying around to help put the broken pieces back together. Unfortunately, the pieces will never go back the way they were, and he will be forever changed, but I know he will find love again. The way love is meant to be: gentle, passionate, healing, happy, supportive and encouraging.

It's been almost three months post now. Doors are once again opening, opportunities are revealing themselves, he's taking steps forward. I can't wait for the next love to show him how it's truly meant to be.

I'm Deb... and I'm a hopeless romantic.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

An accountability buddy

Today I became an accountability buddy.

Here's what happened...

In a shared conversation on my Grip And Squeeze facebook page, Amber disclosed feeling a disconnect with pole and not having her head space where it should be. Among the common themes of life getting in the way, tiredness, time, and apathy, we agreed to commit to attending two pole sessions per week. We share a joint one on Friday mornings, but differ on our evening sessions.

If Amber cannot make her class, she needs to be accountable to me. I'm not quite sure what that means, she did give me permission to yell at her. Unfortunately I'm not a yell'er... but I can give amazing face and have a pretty awesome scare-the-shit-out-of-you glare. I'm also a demon at typing in ALL CAPS, and I can type PRETTY BLOODY LOUDLY TOO... See!

So to avoid these scary events from happening Amber will attend her two nominated pole sessions per week. The reasoning behind this is:

  1. No one ever walks out of a pole class saying I shouldn't have come 
  2. It's consistency, even just twice a week it's still consistent: it's planned, it's do-able, and it will give results
  3. Every session attended is an achievement, a step forward towards her goal, towards our goal, to fan that spark that wants to burn brighter
  4. Every step forward is a positive that will lead to changing thought patterns, increasing drive, and increasing motivation


If you're struggling with your motivation, you've lost your pole mojo, and you're ready to fight to get it back, consider an accountability buddy. You've got nothing to lose.

Just do as was suggested by our instructor Karla and find someone you're not too comfortable with. You need someone not too familiar that you have to answer to, not someone who will let you make piss weak excuses, or worse still come up with them for you.

I've never done this before so hope I don't scare the shit out of my buddy with my new found sense of power. Maybe she doesn't realise I think I have power, oh but I do.

Mwah hahahaha

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Re-motivation

I have a voice that talks to me when I write. She's pretty cool and for the most part I really like her, she's informative, she makes me think, and she makes me laugh.

Unfortunately we go through bouts of silence too. I will have weeks and months where she just won't shut up and then weeks and months of nothing. Lately it's been nothing, and even worse than that, when there's been something to comment on or write about and another blogger beats me to it, and does a really good job of it too. So I make her voice be quiet and move on to something else to be distracted by.

But that doesn't get me writing, and I need to write. I want to write.

I have stuff I want to tell, to share, and to even just think about and process on the page; which was why I originally started blogging a long time ago now.

I'm wondering if my writing slump is having an impact on my poling too. My motivation has waned, the enthusiasm has dulled, and it's all become a bit 'meh'. I don't want it to be 'meh', I want my spark back, that hint of mischief, that bit of defiance I feel when I pole dance.

So I am trying a different approach, a pro-active approach.

Between Instagram, Facebook, and here I plan to report, in one form or another, something I did that was pole related.

Every. Damn. Day.

It might be in the form of a motivational quote, a thought, an activity, a blog post even, anything really that is pole related. All done with the intention of getting that motivation back and igniting that spark again.

This could get interesting.
Today's pole related activity... I wrote this post

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

A beginners guide to pole shoes

The time has finally arrived. 

Your confidence has grown, or your curiosity has been piqued. 

Maybe you've secretly yearned for them, you've marveled at others on them, or you feel you may be close to being ready.

Perhaps you get a bit giddy at the thought of them, your breathing becomes shallow and rapid, you feel the adrenaline surge. Or that could be just me, I don't know?

Anyhoo, the time is closing in, or the time is now, whatever the reasons...

IT'S TIME TO BUY POLE SHOES! 
A variety of 6 inch heels
Your first purchase of pole shoes can be quite daunting, as well as exciting. There seems to be a huge array of styles, colours, and brands, and there is. The decision making process involved is mind blowing and can seem overwhelming. 

HOW IS A PERSON EXPECTED TO NARROW IT DOWN TO ONLY. ONE. PAIR! 

Chillax, I'm here to help. 

By no means do I consider myself as having the status of pole shoe queen or goddess... yet, I've reached double digits in my pole shoe collection and I've learned a few things along the way, practical and mistakes too.

First up my go to brand is Pleaser. I fully agree with the adage "You get what you pay for". With Pleaser's you expect quality, and I've not been disappointed yet. The Pleaser pole shoe is designed for the rigours and demands that pole dancing will place upon the shoe. They are light, and under the circumstances reasonably durable. Non pole shoes just can't handle the demands you will put on them. 

Pleaser's range of shoes and variety of styles is HUGE. And when I say huge do not for one second think I'm exaggerating. By huge I mean load the website, make a cuppa and a small snack because your arse is not going to lift off the chair your sitting on for a few hours.

The start off heel height I recommend is 6 inches. 
The classic glass slipper: Pleaser 6 inch
I know some people reading this are squirming, and not with excitement, instead it's fear, trepidation, or anxiety. 

Now let me explain a secret that will help calm your nerves. That height and that anticipated awkwardness, it's all an illusion. It truly is a good old trick of the eye and comes down to the platform under the ball of the foot. With the six inch heel the platform is almost at two inches which really gives you the equivalent heel height of wearing a four inch heel. A four inch heel is your standard women's high heel. See, you can do this.

Selecting a style you like is very personal. Pole shoes come as a slide, a strap sandal, ankle boots - open toe or closed toe, knee-hi boots, thigh-high boots, or chaps.
So many styles and only two feet... *drool*
When you're starting out I say go the strap sandal. The reasoning being inexperience can lead you to fling off a slide during a routine - so not sexy and very dangerous to anyone else in the room. The boots are a bit dearer and too lovely to be destroyed which makes them a good second buy when you're more experienced and know what you're doing, or a buy you save for performances. 

Did your heart skip a beat there at the word destroyed? Unfortunately it's true. Your pole shoes, as gorgeous as they are, are essentially the equivalent of gym shoes, and we all know how they end up over time.

Remember your shoes will be dragged as you sashay about the pole. They will be banged together as you master clacking and floor work. They will slide and drag when you do rollovers and any sort of tumbling, and they will knock into the pole intentionally or unintentionally. Basically your beautiful high heels will cop a beating over time. But then you're not buying them to look at them right, they're a functional piece of equipment for you to dance, and move, and be sexy in.
My first pole shoes *sigh*
These are my very first pair of Pleaser's. They lasted two years before I had to stop wearing them. I love the style, the chrome base with the black top. The colour variety available in the chrome is like a rainbow, just gorgeous. The chrome hardly marked at all considering the significant amount of time I spent banging the crap out of them with leg work. 

As you can see I have worn the front down from floor drags, but even that's not so bad. What made me have to give them up was the black covering stretching through wear and my toes sliding forward. Instead of dragging the tip of the shoe I was dragging my toes and that hurt like a bitch. Fortunately for me the time was right and I also went up a heel height as I felt very confident in the six in heels.
Toe overhang took a while but the material will eventually stretch... ouch
Yep, I now dance in eight inches, I train in them when I can, and believe it or not I'm very fortunate that I get to wear them to work. Working as a receptionist a my pole studio has some wonderful perks - like shoe wearing to showcase the different shoes I have... just because.
I know what 8 inches is ;)
Now here's something to remember... YOU CANNOT ORDER PLEASERS DIRECTLY FROM THEIR WEBSITE, they wholesale only so you need to find a retailer. A lot of pole studios are able to order in shoes for you, but not all. If you find yourself in this situation I have the PERFECT retailer for you! 

See, I've even taken the hard work out of this bit.

If your pole studio cannot order your Pleasers then there is a WONDERFUL online business I've been dealing with for well over four years now. I actually got my very first pair of 'real' high heels from her (Ramarim) and I haven't looked back; I started late with this whole shoe thing, my 40's, up until then I was a 'practical and safe' shoe wearer (boring) which really means I wasn't confident in my own skin to give high heels a go.

What is this wonderful business of which I speak? It's Shoe Me Gorgeous run by Jess Brown. Jess's customer service is OUTSTANDING, and delivery is quick - if there are delays she will get in touch and it is pretty much always a hold up at the other end. Another bonus is if you're not sure of your shoe size and you haven't been able to wrestle someones Pleasers off them to find out your correct shoe size (Pleasers are sized USA which is different to Australia and Europe), Shoe Me Gorgeous does offer exchange. One off pole studio orders may not be able to offer this.
Yes, be that chick!
I hope you like the information above and do note it is by no means exhaustive, it's just a beginners guide - something to get you started, just a tip of the heel that is pole shoe wisdom.

There is so much for me to tell you and teach you in the many months ahead about pole shoes. Until then what are you waiting for? Put the kettle on, rummage up a snack, open the website and get to it!

Happy pole shoe shopping... xox
This one makes me smile every time ;)
P.S. If you do go ahead and buy pole shoes please, please, please take picture of them and post it to Grip and Squeeze's facebook page. I'm always up for a bit of shoe porn <3