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Why Pole Dancing Is My Preferred Form of Self-Expression
I’m a wife, mother of a two-year-old, pregnant with my second child, and I’m a pole dancer.
I’ll never forget the first time I became intrigued by pole dancing. I was 15 years old, Usher’s biggest fan, and captivated by some of the dancers in his concert. While the world saw something erotic and provocative, I saw beauty, strength, and art. At the time, I didn’t dare ask my parents if I could look into classes because I was convinced they saw what everyone else did: classless girls who didn’t respect their bodies and had been reduced to a man’s eye candy.
Ten years later, I finally enrolled in a class and became hooked. I loved everything about it: the variations from Chinese pole to choreography with heels, various spins, and low-flow classes. I became obsessed with watching my body transform into a muscular powerhouse as well as the sense of community the activity provided. And though my takeaway wasn’t sexual pleasure, I even became comfortable with touching myself and exploring my body as I became lost in the music. It was a hobby that quickly became my passion and preferred form of self-expression.
While the world saw something erotic and provocative, I saw beauty, strength, and art.
Once I became a mother, pole dancing became more than just a hobby for me. It was my therapy and self-care. It wasn’t long until I was taking multiple classes a week and purchased a pole for my home.
Displayed prominently in my living room is a strong and sturdy X-pole that has taken me through financial insecurities, near mental breakdowns, unbearable toddler tantrums, friendship breakups, and more. Whether in my home or at a studio, that pole has served as my inner peace and my rock. Most importantly, it is my hideaway when I need to escape the myth of the strong black woman.
The beauty of pole dancing is that I don’t have to be the unbreakable black woman without fears, have the answers to everything, and carry the weight of the world on my back. Pole dancing allows me to strip down to who I really am. When I pole dance, I’m not saddled with these loaded labels, but I am strong. I acknowledge that I can do all things, but I can’t do them all at once. I manage to ask for help even though I’m afraid to. I allow myself to explore my sensual side without feeling it’s taboo or guilty of perpetuating a stereotype of an around-the-way-girl. I‘ve learned to fall in love with my body, stretch marks, scars, and all. And when I reflect on everything I’ve learned, I’m able to take that strength back home with me so I can be an attentive wife, a hands-on mother, and a forceful woman in business.
But, of course, this freedom doesn’t come without some drama. I get criticized for exposing my toddler to the art form. Yet it makes me proud to expose him to something so expressive that will help teach him to respect women’s bodies at a young age. There are those who judge me for pole dancing at all when I have a husband at home. Trust me; he’s not complaining. I’ve even had people who assume someone like me couldn’t possibly keep house for a family doing what I do.
There are those who judge me for pole dancing at all when I have a husband at home. Trust me; he’s not complaining.
Yes, there are days when I head to class and the meal plan isn’t done, laundry remains unfolded, and the budget spreadsheet isn’t updated. And it gives people a reason to talk, but I don’t care anymore. I’ve learned that my family needs a happy wife and mom more than they need folded laundry.
Now that I’m pregnant with my second child, I need that strength and mental release even more. I need that constant reminder that I am still a powerhouse and in control of my body despite sharing it with a growing person. So, I continue to pole dance through it all.