I wanted to take moment and share with you exactly how I prepared for this Saturday's North American Pole Dance Championships. I am less than 24 hrs to step on the airplane to take me to Chicago. Butterflies in my stomach, so excited and proud that I made it. This competition is like crossing the finish line for me.
Compared to last year's road to Nationals, this year's journey to North American Pole Championships was emotional and I almost gave up several times.
You see, in April, my father passed away. We were very close. I was there for him when he took his last breath. I felt honoured and heart broken at the same time.
An hour later, when I returned home from the hospital, I received a phone call from the competition organizers, saying that I had been selected to compete.
A big part of me wanted to decline. I knew I had a lot of grief ahead of me, but a little voice inside of me said "don't give up." So I said "yes."
Now to be honest, I underestimated the grief I would feel. The last two months have not been easy - I miss my parents so very much (my mom passed in 2013).
In May, I was going to call the organizers and quit. Creativity was gone, I didn't want to pole anymore. I didn't want to do anything.
Instead I called a good friend, fellow pole competitor - Elisabeth from Muse Pole Dance and asked for help. We set up a plan to get me to NAPDC and a promise not to quit.
Also, I enlisted the support of an amazing performer, Jamie Waggoner, to help me with the performance aspect. Her background is Broadway and dance. Simply amazing!
Taken yesterday after our dress rehearsal - Elisabeth for pole and choreography / Jamie for Performance and Showmanship
Here was our plan:
1. Weekly Meetings - Once a week, we would meet up and work on the performance. A little section at a time. They were scheduled, intense and focussed meetings.
2. Homework - In between meetings, I would do my home work. Practice what we created, add a little bit more, look for inspiration. When I returned for our meetings, our creation would unfold.
3. Become Re-Inspired - I purposefully looked outside of the pole world for inspiration. I'm a glam rock kinda girl - so I looked to Lady Gaga, Freddie Mercury, David Bowie - for inspiration. I listened to their music, and studied their creativity.
4. Turn off the sad dialogue in my head - Because I have been grieving, a sad cloud tends to follow me. I had to train my brain to allow the sadness to pass and look to gratitude. Even if I wasn't grieving, turning off the negative self talk was important.
5. Stopped Comparing Myself - Do you do this? Compare your pole skills to others? Stop. Trust me. Focus on yourself and don't worry about others. It took me a few years of poling to learn that lesson!
6. Rest the final week - Here's an important tip - all your work, preparing for a comp has to take place months and weeks prior to the comp. The last week of the comp, is rest and light practice. Do not go into a competition exhausted and over-trained. The week of the comp, lots of mental preparation, light run-throughs, a final dress rehearsal and chill! Touch base with your music each day and visualize your performance.
Lastly, have fun again!
When you are constantly training, the seriousness can "fun suck" your pole skills. I wasn't alone in my training, so it was fun again!
I'm proud of what has been created - can't wait to share it with you! No matter what happens, I am proud of myself.
I never gave up. I never gave in.