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A Horse of a Different Color

As a kid, my favorite part of The Wizard of Oz was this scene:

I loved that horse. At the time, I suppose I would have said that it was because I liked horses, and look, it’s a rainbow horse, how did they do that?!

As an adult, I recognize something else about the horse: It is one of a kind.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I tend to feel like I don’t always fit in when I am in class. Sometimes, it’s an ability level issue – I’ll go to a class and find that nothing is working for me, and that everyone else seems so far ahead of me – but a lot of the time, it comes down to size.

I’m not what most of the country would probably refer to as a big girl. I’m 5’6″ and probably around 160lbs. That’s dead average for the US. But…in pole? Not so much. At least, not in Los Angeles, where thin is a religion.

In most classes I attend, I am the biggest girl, or one of the larger girls. This isn’t always true – I’m not always the biggest gal, and it’s not something that upsets me most of the time, but…I am always aware of it. No matter how advanced I get, it remains a fact that things are harder for me because I have more ass to get over my head. And that’s really frustrating.

As of late, I’ve felt like I am at a pole plateau, where I am struggling to feel like I am moving forward with  my peers. I think that’s a big part of the reason why I have been seeking out other ways to be successful in this world, like taking the free dance exploration class and my lyra classes. That success is important to me. I feel more alive and inspired when I feel successful, and it makes the days where things don’t go right a little easier to release.

A few days ago, I read a great post related to all of this – if you haven’t read Pole Geek’s recent post about being curvy in the pole world, I recommend it. It got me thinking about feeling like the odd man out, as expressed above. And, for some reason, as I was standing in the parking lot of our building, watching my boyfriend park our rental car, the “Horse of a Different Color” song popped into my head.

Somehow, it all relates. Because, here’s the thing: maybe it’s not so much about being the odd man out, but maybe – just maybe – it’s about finding an authentic way to celebrate that which makes you different. It’s about making the choice to say that it’s okay, that it might even make you special.

In this week’s free dance exploration class, we had a partner exercise, where we worked with a partner to interpret and tell stories. After our last round, there were two compliments that stood out about me and my partner. For her, the compliment was about her legs, and how amazing they were (and they are – she’s incredible). For me, it was my gaze as I danced, and that it had an emotional impact on two individuals who were watching. I don’t feel that it’s fair to boil either of us down to just those things – my partner told a story through her dance, and it was gorgeous and emotional, and yes, her body is beautiful. But, it was of interest to me that the things that were highlighted about us were so different in context, and that maybe there was a lesson there about not being disappointed that you aren’t seen in one way, but instead, celebrating the positive ways we are seen. Would I have loved a compliment on my legs? Of course! But, it means much more to me that my expression during my dance was emotionally moving to people, and I think that is its own kind of special.

I’m not saying anything earth-shattering, or even anything new, but what I am trying to do is to coax myself around to making this a practice for myself, instead of saying, “Oh, yes, totally!” and then going back to how I have always done things. I think that shift makes a difference, perhaps not in the quality of what one does, but in the quality of what it brings to their life.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Nadia Shariff, who was kind enough to grant us an interview for our Poleitical Clothing Newsletter that came out around CPDC. In the interview, we asked her, “Is there one trick that still eludes you?”

Her reply? “I’m not one of those pole dancers that is good at everything; I’m good at what I do. 😉

I think this idea is so important to remember, as we get frustrated with our differences, and as we celebrate what makes us, us:

Do what is yours to do.

Dancing at The Pole Garage

Free Style at The Pole Garage

California Pole Dance Championship 2012

[updated with new video 10/12/12]

On Sunday, I was lucky enough to be a vendor at California Pole Dance Championship – not only did we have a great launch for Poleitical Clothing, but we also ended up with killer seats thanks to Anjel Dust! It was such a great night – being a room with that many people who love pole dancing is amazing. The joy for it is infectious – I’m always fascinated to see the differences between the competitors, to see what speaks to me, to see what tricks people bust out. It’s so much fun!
I did a live tweet of the show after seeing Natasha Wang post a shout out, requesting that someone post updates – figured it was an easy thing to do, and the pole gals who were not able to attend might like it! While I missed a couple of the early competitors because I was still selling at our table – and I was without a program, so I butchered some of the names (sorry, ladies!) – I still tried to add a little something about each performer. I created a Chirpstory of my tweets, if anyone would like to check it out! (The embedding isn’t working on here, but if you click on the link in the previous sentence, it’ll take you there.)

Congratulations to all of the competitors – you were all SO inspiring and amazing to watch. For those who missed it, the results were as follows:

~Professional Category~

  • 1ST PLACE – Nadia Shariff
  • Runner Up – Mary Kolacinski
  • 3rd Place – Sergia Louise Anderson

~Amateur Category~

  • 1ST PLACE – Lily Huang
  • Runner Up – Stacey Craven
  • 3rd Place – Uyen Hoang

Most Athletic – Nadia Shariff
Most Flexibility – Sergia Louise Anderson
Most Entertaining – Nadia Shariff
Most Artistic – Mary Kolacinski

I will post some videos below of a few of the performances!

As I mentioned earlier, Poleitical Clothing had a successful launch at the show! We sold a number of items, actually selling out of one size of the shorts! It was so lovely to meet everyone that stopped by the booth, from David C. Owen to Leen Isabel from Pole Dancing Adventures – we had a blast! Thank you to everyone who came by and purchased something! For those of you who were not able to make it to the event, we do now have an online shop open on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/poleiticalclothing (our website is still under construction). We’ll be re-ordering for what we’ve sold out of and should have it in soon, and we’ll be updating the listings as soon as we have some better photos! We will also be switching up some of our stock to include other styles in the near future! For now, here are our three staples: the comfy tee, sexy tank, and perfect pole short!

Poleitical Clothing KEEP CALM line: comfy shirt, sexy tank, perfect pole shorts

And, now for the CPDC videos!

First up is Amateur Division winner Lily Huang. Apologies for the quality of the video – the song is SO gorgeous (the cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” that was used for the trailer of the film The Social Network), but the screaming from the gals nearby is earsplitting. I’m serious. Consider yourself warned. Unfortunately, a head is also blocking the view for a portion near the end, but you can catch what she’s doing on the video feed displayed on the wall in the back. It’s a beautiful performance! I can’t wait for the professional video!

Next is Pro Division winner Nadia Shariff. She was the crowd favorite to win, especially after coming in second the last two years. She’s a ton of fun to watch! I loved her opening combo – such a bitching move.

Here is my favorite performance of the night, from Mary Kolacinski (aka Mary Ashton). Stunning!

And, last but not least, I gotta give a shout out to my pole mama, Drea Roers! We were all so proud of her. She had a couple of costume malfunctions that prevented her from doing a few things in her routine, but she worked around it, gave it her all, and presented a beautiful performance.

Love you, Drea!!