Body Confidence and Pole Dancing Classes

Now I love a good work out no matter what. On this fine Hump day, we are going to dive into what I learned in a series of pole dancing classes. There’s no need to clutch your pearls for this blog. There’s no need to dip yourself in the river to be baptized. I am not the only one who has taken a pole dancing class and I won’t be the last. It is an art form and it is a workout. What you choose to do with the skills learned is a personal decision. I have yet to quit my job and take on a stage name at this point and my house has been hit several times with economic stress. So it’s okay I promise, relax and read!

Disclaimer:

I am grown, married, and have children. This blog isn’t for approval meaning not only have I taken the class and enjoyed it I may go back 🤷🏾‍♀️

So now that we have gotten that out-of-the-way. I took a series of pole dancing classes right after the birth of my son. I did it because I was towards the end of my postpartum treatment and my therapist wanted me to learn better ways to accept my new body and my new mindset. I will say I got my entire life in class.

I like to think that I am a graceful dancer. I can pop it like a lot of women but I am definitely no Cardi B. That’s fine with me. I was paranoid to take the class because being a PK (Preachers Kid) there is never talk about erotic dancing outside of being taught that it’s for hoes and only hoes do these things. For the record that’s not true. The physical ability to pull yourself up on a pole to do a simple twirl takes inner guts, confidence, and upper arm strength. I had zero in my first class. I couldn’t even buy any. I actually wanted to quit the class. I took my best bedroom shoes, booty shorts, and a tank top but the simple twirl you see on television or strip club was hard.

In my head I was going to go, pop my hips and look halfway descent. The mirror revealed I looked like a dolphin out of water and a hot mess. My instructor let it be known we would most likely look like that for the first few classes until we came out of our head. She was right. I was more concerned with how I looked than technique. Foot placement and hand placement literally assists you in pole dancing, not how big my thighs looked or if my gut from having a C-Section looked right.

The women in my class all had various reasons for taking the class. Some to improve their confidence in the bedroom. Let’s face it body confidence matters there too. If you want to always have sex with the lights off because you’re ashamed of your body it comes off to your man. Confidence is sexy! I remember growing up and we were watching the Cosby Show when Claire has that black outfit and red jacket. I said all loud oh she’s sexy and my mom liked to had knocked me out reminding me I didn’t know what sexy was. She was right in what she was saying for a child. As an adult, Claire was sexy cause she was confident and sure of herself. The way she danced in the room (which by the way had nothing to do with the pole) was alluring in a respectful type way.

Body Confidence

When I got married I didn’t feel different when it came to sex physically, but mentally I was in my PK mind that I could at least be relieved that Hell flames weren’t coming for me like I was told it would years prior. It’s not a secret that I wasn’t a virgin when I married. My two older kids were at my wedding. But what I learned in pole dancing class was that I had yet to scratch into the surface of loving my body enough to appreciate its ability to be sensual like I had thought I was. Grown enough to have sex, but not knowing enough about myself, or my needs to be calling myself a woman.

I learned that as a woman I couldn’t achieve self-love which includes how I see myself in the mirror until I became body confident. I would meet this message again as I did Weight Watchers later down the road. I learned that size has very little to do with how confident you are. Just because you’re skinny doesn’t equate to having body confidence. A BBW can easily make you blush if they know who they are, accept who they are, and walk in confidence and you don’t. Confidence is a mindset. Body confidence is the ability to accept yourself flaws and all, walk in a room, and own it.

I didn’t love my body. I was looking at what was left of my body at the most vulnerable time of having a baby. I like to shout out Dr. Y. She knew what she was doing sending me there. If I could learn to love myself at my heaviest, I could learn to love myself at any size. If I could learn to love myself in that vulnerability, I could learn to shift my mindset towards positivity. If I could learn it was okay to let my guard down I could relax within the stress I was experiencing at the time. Having to change my vocal point was difficult. My instructor made us look at the mirror at every class. She made us own our body and she definitely made sure we didn’t waste our coin. If you showed up, show up and give it your all.

Strength

It takes incredible upper body strength to pull yourself up or slowly come down on the pole. I said it before and I’ll say it again, the women who do it gracefully without hearing that shrieking sound on the way down, bravo. It’s not easy initially. Pole dancing is a great way to tone your arms. Although it’s super sexy, it’s not about selling sex. We do acknowledge that women use it to sell the illusion of sex. Let’s get that out-of-the-way so you can take away something today. They do sell illusion of seduction. How a woman makes her money is for another day. You’re feelings on that won’t change until you take a class. To just get up on a pole and look sexy is work and any woman who chooses to do so earned every coin they scrap up after the end of their shows, period!

Here’s a few take aways:

  • I sucked at pole dancing classes until I relaxed and allowed myself to tap into it
  • It was hard and I wasn’t as graceful in the beginning
  • I can’t get up there and pop like a professional but I can own that pole and dance graceful by the end
  • I conquered a fear of tapping into my sexuality. As a woman I should be okay with my own body at any size and in any condition
  • I did bring the skills of being able to be confident home. It is what it is. Lights on or off I can enjoy sex. For my PK followers let me tell you what I learned if you gon (yes I said gon) have sex at least enjoy it. I ain’t having sex to be lying around so my husband alone gets his.

Owning your sexuality is important. Even at church bachelorette parties the women sit and talk and laugh and get excited bringing women lingerie. They talk about how much sex they are going to have yet no one says it’s okay to enjoy it. It’s not necessarily implied either. My PK experience was about being there as a tool for your husband and that’s a blog for a different day! Why are you doing all of that for the lingerie to sit in the closets or drawers collecting dust because no one says it’s okay to enjoy sex? This is mind-boggling. I grew up hearing “save yourself for marriage.” So then when you get married, then what?! You supposed to just pray that it’s okay or not participate?

Pole dancing class took me so far out of element so I could come back to my element and love the body that I carry around. Essentially you are on a pole twirling your body weight but off the pole hate the same body?! Off the pole tell yourself you’re too fat? You’re too skinny? You don’t have enough butt or breasts?!

On the pole, own it and then wipe the pole down, grab a shower and love all of you! Love each and every part of you. That lesson is necessary. Like my instructor let us know, if you can pick it up, bring it back down and love it too!

Pole dancing for the everyday woman

There are traveling pole classes that come into various cities including yours. They teach you body confidence, self-love, and how to conquer the fear of being in front of others learning something you know you don’t do well. They have Groupon lessons that many women take classes with their closest friends and there was even a mother and daughter duo in my class. I don’t know if my mom would take one but the momma in class was showing and telling us some things about womanhood and I was taking it all in.

Pole dance classes make great Girl’s trip events and of course bachelorette party ideas. Some take them for exercise which I would definitely take in addition to my cardio and weight lifting I do now. I know plenty of gym instructors who take them to pull in another level in the classes that they give that have nothing to do with this the pole. I would recommend a few but this ain’t a sponsored post.

Pole dancing isn’t for hoes. Anyone who has this ideology hasn’t for sure taken one. That’s the first thing they teach you. Can you learn body confidence off the pole? Yes. Test your level of body confidence by getting on one and I’ll be the first to tell you it needs work. There’s pure vulnerability being on a pole. What you can do, what you can’t to and what you lack shows up on the pole every time. Who you think you are is forever challenged on the pole.

FYI this post isn’t telling you to take a pole dancing class. I’m just saying on this hump day if and when you do:

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Monday Motivation: Morale is Important

We understand morale in the sense of working with a team.  If you are at work and morale is lost it could be a number of factors that affect morale. It could be from not having an understanding manager, having to do other team members’ work, or from lack of incorporating fun activities into a work day. Either way, morale is important. It’s the heartbeat of how you move at work. How much more do we need to keep our personal morale going? We scroll through social media getting super hype over stories we see that is why we comment and argue with strangers. Yet when in comes to personal morale, we give ourselves whatever is left over.  Oh I’ll complete that maybe next year when this is supposed to be your year. You hype everyone else but yourself. This has to stop. I’ll hype myself past my own flaws. Meaning I own them so no one can ever use them against me and use that to disqualify a gift that is in me or being used to flow through me. That is lesson one in anything you ever want to do in life. Folks don’t have to like me in order for my gift to rise above a few folks that are walking in disagreement. Disagreement doesn’t cut off the gift inside of you. It only sharpens you to be better and walk better and to utilize discernment.

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Morale is the motivation to keep going. You know morale is the spice in to your why. You have your why.  Why did you take on that personal challenge. Why you decided to lose weight. Why you decided that this year you will travel. Why you decided to leave that relationship. Why you decided to change jobs.  Whatever your why, work at it and keep the morale going. It may come in the form of getting organized. It may be in changing your circle. You should know that matters. If you’re circle always has something negative to say about your ideas, it may mean they are attempting to sabotage the plan. Stop sharing things with them negative folks. Morale pushes you when you are tired. Morale pushes you when you hear a thousand NOs in the journey but you know what is in you to keep going.

Morale pushes effort. Think about a relationship. Morale is what keeps scheduling dates because you see how that time alone makes you adore your partner that much more. Morale keeps patience with your kids when they jump and back flip on that last nerve. Personal morale is the self-starter to anything you are attempting to accomplish. We however let morale get trampled on by energy that is sucking the life out of us. Days turn into weeks and weeks into months and months into years. You look up and can’t understand why you are stagnant. You lost morale. The joy of what you were trying to do has been taken on with life. You need a morale booster. You need to get some new goals. You need to refresh yourself. You need to find the happiness in starting that idea.

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When I started this blog in the beginning, it was so fresh and I was excited. After a year, I saw how my posts became less and less and I asked myself-are you done or do you just need a morale booster? I changed the layout of the blog, got a blog planner, and wrote. I keep myself motivated by never writing a blog that feels forced. When I write it pours out of me because I do what’s necessary to keep my personal joy. I write and sometimes re-write my vision. I keep my eyes open and I put permanent sunglasses on when someone in my personal circle says things like: “why did they choose you.” “What makes you so special.” These are actual things that have been said to me. Them sunglasses allows me to see and hear them but blur them as I keep going. I still get invited to the tables of places I hadn’t in my first few years of writing because I stay consistent. I had one PR firm tell I always come to your writing or reviews because you have a keen eye for what the public wants to see. That is a morale booster. Sometimes when the accolades aren’t coming, having personal morale helps to keep the rays of joy in what you love burning.

Do not let anything burn your candle of morale out. You have what you need inside of you to keep pushing and making it happen. Tune out and drown out the naysayers. Keep going! Keep the personal morale going!!

Remember morale is the discipline, enthusiasm, and confidence to complete your goals. Who caused you to lack the discipline to work late and get up early and prepare? Who took the enthusiasm to push past tiredness? Who attempted to knock your confidence while you are in the shift of change? No matter what the outside factor, YOU control your life.

Ask Toi: How to Forgive a Cheating Parent?

Reader’s father cheated on their mother and reader needs help….

It’s hard to not have your parent on a peddlestool especially a father. As a kid you may have been sheltered from the things that were really going on. That’s understandable, that’s what adults should do. They shouldn’t be as open as they want with their lives for the sake of children. We know in these times some folks don’t care and do whatever they want to do. With that in mind, you’re an adult now. The wounds don’t hurt any less by finding out about your dad’s infidelity. Keep things in perspective. It’s okay to feel like you have lost respect for him. That’s actually quite normal. You’re not a kid you can express how you feel. You can also make a decision if you want to continue a relationship. I am not on team cut him off in any way. I don’t know him enough. I know in time it can be repaired if he’s willing to do the work to do so. If you’re willing to forgive and move forward is going to be key as well.

Also keep in mind that at the end of the day, your dad has to live with his decisions and most importantly your mother is dealing with it mostly. Take some time to process it. Deal with it and do not wave it under a rug like it’s no big deal.  As an adult it may help to speak to your dad one on one. Remove him from your mom and have an adult conversation. Speak candidly and maybe even go to a public place to keep you in aligned to attempt to remain calm when you speak. Remember you don’t have to take his issues on as your own but you can be verbal about where you stand.

You may hear, I am your father respect me. You can respect title and lose respect for your dad. He has to work through earning respect as harsh as it sounds.  Keep in mind that his pain doesn’t just sit with your mom and him but the kids adult or not feel the brunt of the betrayal of the family too. I don’t get why people don’t see the other side of it. Talk to someone you trust that can be a sounding board to help you through and not just someone who wants the details of what happened. If your mom and him work it out that’s great.  If they do not, that’s their marriage to work through. Support your mom in what she needs too. She is hurting too. Take a break from trying to fix it all. You are their child but not a child. You do not need to bandage this in any way to make it okay. It’s not your fight.  Be firm when you speak, say what you mean but don’t be mean when you say it.

I pray you receive closure. I send love your mom’s way and clarity to your dad. I pray he is remorseful and willing to do whatever it takes to restore balance in the family structure without taking offense to the responses. I find men tend to think that once the cheating comes out, the children and women are to GIVE this level of instant respect without ever acknowledging the pain. I find it hard to understand the lack of understanding of the pain of the betrayal. Your dad can’t shrug this off like no big deal. The family ideology has been broken. He needs to be in the forefront to fix it. Everyone will need grace during this time!

Monday Motivation: To Do List

Happy Monday. It’s a beautiful day this morning. As I look through my calendar I was reminded of something so simple but necessary and that’s the to do list. We have strayed away from them because we have technology, alerts and alarms. The to do list is still a necessary way of organizing our lives. It takes what we need to do and allows us to prioritize them.

To do list also helps as a secondary back up so those forgotten things can remain at the forefront of our minds. Even with how busy life can be I’ve been known to be forgetful. So let’s take it back and gather that to do list. There’s so much pride crossing things off. It makes you feel a sense of accomplishment. It pushes you to get more done and it really takes a load of off of you! So what is on your heart and mind to complete? Write it down! Did you know that successful people are the ones who write down their goals? To do list can be for the day, week, month, or quarter. I’ve started with master lists and tweak it as necessary.

Today my to do list looks a bit crazy and the reason? It’s Monday! Monday are how I set my week up instead of starting it with negativity and complaints. Write that to do list and get in the habit of goal setting. Trust me it will make your days, week’s, and months go that much smoother even on hectic days!

Also to do list can help with self care as the ability to feel like you’re in control of the things you can control helps in moments when life can’t be controlled!!

Weekly Recap: Friday April 5, 2019

What a week it has been!! I am super glad for balance. From work, blog events, and life it has been one for the books. Let’s dive into it:

Blog Life

This week we have been out and about and there is no stop coming any time soon. I looked at my calendar I am booked and happy about it until May and June request are slowly coming in. If you didn’t get a chance to, catch up on the blog Crunchik’n. You talk about some good eating. It was amazing and they have vegetarian options and I tweaked them to be vegan. I have been going strong for about a month and some change. I am super proud of myself. I have been fortunate to find some amazing new recipes and ways to have some of my favorites without compromise. I have noticed an immediate change when I eat. I am full but not overly full and my stomach is hurting me. I have no gall bladder and a lot of foods that I was eating prior to although were in healthy portions weren’t right for my stomach. Vegan has solved a lot of that for me. This is a personal choice!

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Yesterday I was at the Philadelphia Zoo. I had an amazing time with the animals, the food was amazing and I love that the Philadelphia Zoo Key is back. It was interactive and I enjoyed going without the kids. Don’t fret as soon as they saw me they asked when am I taking them.  They should know by now, super soon. Our summer is always jam-packed with activities and the Zoo is on the top of the list. The fact that Urban Green now has amazing fresh choices and that includes vegan inspired dishes I am good to go. Toss in that wine and beer garden and I am set for a family fun day.

Fit Life

Tomorrow is race number one of the season, the Hot Chocolate 5/15K race. I am excited but super nervous. I have trained, ate well, hydrated and today I will be loaded on carbs, getting my rest, and hanging with my BGR crew as we celebrate race day! Look for the blog to follow as soon as I can.  Most likely Sunday! Send positive vibes!
race

Kid Life

We are in the planning stages of my oldest soon to be 10th birthday. To say that I am more excited than she is a complete understatement.  To look at her when they told me that she may not breath on her own and to hear her screaming and progressing faster than they expected was amazing to me. I am overcome of how much her birth changed me. It made me be more responsible, cut things and people from my space, and be a better human. She is the most amazing child. My other children are doing well. We have an almost kindergarten and a rock star soccer playing son.  I am blessed beyond measures.

Personal Life

So getting my responses has been my goal. I have been tried on every hand but I can say that I am passing. I am grateful to know that responses have to be tailored in this world. You can’t in the name of keeping it real say what you want just because you are grown. There is always a price.

So as you continue to your weekend, remember to do something for yourself. I have a few events next week and you know the drill by now, blog will follow. I will continue to explore this great city. Have a great one!

Monday Motivation: Anyone But You…

I sometimes get tired of hearing about haters. Often times haters have to want what you have. There are times when that aligns. However many times, they really just would prefer if the success was from anyone but you!

They don’t think your smart enough. They don’t think you have enough resources. They don’t think you’re qualified. They aren’t necessarily trying to take resources from you. They don’t want to even always stop you. Often times it’s just about them sitting back with their knowledge of who the you they believe in or don’t believe in is enough to prevent your success. What could you possibly have to offer this world that could even be necessary as they think?! The truth is like I tell my kids, something inside of you that the world needs! Even if your world seems small!

It’s like a child when you tell them to do something they have heard you a million and one times say do. You yell or threaten but because there’s no consistency in your approach they miscalculate you. Their miscalculation is based upon their believe that you won’t come through on your word. Much like the ones who don’t believe you, it could be anyone who steps up but it won’t be you. You’re not going to finish school because in the last couple of years you picked 5 majors and still haven’t finished. You been saying you’re going to move and everyone around you has moved while you sit. So trust me often times they rejoice when you seem to slip, fall, or experience rejection.

You don’t have what it takes to make it! Wow! Let that sink in. Instead of worrying about the few things you have and thinking about those who could be jealous of you, be concerned about the ones who stand in close arms length who’s clap is quietly silent at your success. Let me give an example. You are in a group of friends. One of them gets married. You throw the best celebrations. You help them in ways to get to their beautiful day. Years pass and that friend is the only one married so they begin to act as if they are the only ones capable of being in a loving situation. You find the love of your life. Now it’s your turn but your “friend” doesn’t celebrate you.

It could have been anyone else but it’s you and what they seen and know of you they deem you unworthy. Again it goes from them simply hating your new assignment, new job, new life to them not expecting you to be able to clean up, get right, and walk in the calling that never stop growing inside of you. Your gift doesn’t turn off. They just didn’t see you as an equal recipient of goodness that was already on your way!

The best way to not entertain what they believe is to simply do! Also don’t even entertain your own thoughts of self sabotage. Monday is always a great way to reset! It’s gonna take precision, dedication, and strength. Trust me you have it! Just start walking through! Make a plan and work that plan! The same ones saying anyone but you may want to join the team! Either way rock it out this Monday and every day!

The same ones says anyone but you may find themselves having to regret the way they treated you. One thing I love is even if you never know about it, often times when in distance they know.

So it’s not about anyone but you but it isn’t just for anyone, it’s for you! No one can stop the good to come in your life! No hate, no disrespect, nothing will stop you!

Closing a chapter….

This has been a great weekend for me. I was really able to get a lot done that was on my plate. In the midst of all of that I got word that my childhood pastor had passed away. I really hadn’t formulated any emotions as of yet. Either it will come or it won’t. What I can say is regardless of how things happened it can’t stop the fact that the chapter has to close.

I’ve fought mentally and emotionally as I crossed into adulthood about what my childhood church family has meant. I remember being super angry at times about it. At the time while I was a kid, in my mind was the best place ever. Always super involved. In the choir, on the usher board, on other ministries. It served the purpose for my life at the time. I would never be able to go on record and say that it wasn’t the best place for what I needed even at points in it I wanted things to be different. It was the challenge for me that pushed me into adulthood.

I wouldn’t have met some of the best people in my life had I not been in the church. I wouldn’t have had some of the greatest memories of some of the best times like going on church trips or retreats. All of my time wasn’t bad. Not all of my memories come from a place of disagreement! I had fun. I was sheltered.

So I’ve closed the door to being a member at the church. That season is done. However now is the time to really close the chapter of all that comes with the passing of my childhood pastor! I’ve gained a lot of knowledge of who I am even as an adult! It shapes who I allow to pastor me now, what I will allow from church members and who I want to be as an example to my kids.

I’ve been extremely vocal in the past however none of that matters. I hope that my childhood pastor’s family is comforted. I pray them peace to all the members who remain and the ones that were there during my time and before who at the height of his tenure have the same type of memories that I have.

Closing chapters may be hard to do. However we all have to be able to do what’s best for us. Seasonal relationships matter and you can take the focus off of negativity to propel you into a great future!

I’m super grateful that I don’t feel with his passing that there were things left unsaid. I’m glad that at his passing I don’t feel a void or bitterness. I am happy for the beautiful times. I have no bitterness in my spirit and I try to live my life like that daily. I can close the chapter in peace and with the same peace release that back into my life.

~Pastor Albert Andrew Belton~

I’ve said this once and I’ll say it a thousand times even in difficult times we have to look at the good and focus on that alone!