This time last year I was a buzz with energy and excitement! My first ever Pole Divas SHOWCASE was coming and I was busy practising my heart out, feeling super pumped to hit the stage and show the world what I was made of.
But this year, every time I think about SHOWCASE I just want to throw up and go and hide in a corner.
Perhaps because I'm doing more dances this year, perhaps because I'm at a higher level than last year, perhaps because I'm also doing a lifting program, perhaps because it's hot and I'm not sleeping well, perhaps for a hundred f***ing reason, but all I feel about SHOWCASE 2018 is STRESS STRESS STRESS STRESS!
To cut a long story short, I'm not looking forward to it and I just want Sunday over and done with, so I don't have to think about it for another year.
I love my pole dancing, I really, really do, but the focus on SHOWCASE has stripped all the fun away from my courses this term. Freestyle (my favourite part of Intermediate) has been cancelled, learning new tricks postponed and the whole hour is dedicated to doing the SHOWCASE dance over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. For the first time since I started at Pole Divas Caroline Springs, I have actually considered giving up and leaving the studio, because I'm just hating this term so much.
And I've considered, several times, pulling out of SHOWCASE. Tired after endlessly repeating the Inter Spin dance last week I was lying down on the floor of the studio, catching my breath, thinking about going out to the foyer and just crossing my name off all the lists, packing my pole bag and taking a break from it all. My only bright spot in preparing for SHOWCASE 2018 has been my Showtime course, which is the only thing at the moment that I am really enjoying at pole, and my Solo, which I will be performing on the Wednesday after SHOWCASE. When it comes to pole at the moment, Wednesday is the only night I actually want to be at the studio, and Tuesdays and Saturdays are my 'pole is a chore - is SHOWCASE over yet' days.
And yet, despite all the stress, all the aches and pains, and the near constant tiredness that is making everything both in and out of the studio hard, I haven't quit.
To be perfectly honest with you, I'm not sure why I'm still trudging through, but I do know that, once Sunday is done and dusted, pole will become enjoyable again and I will be able to focus on what I want to learn and the tricks I need to master, rather than pre-choreographed dances that I'm not enjoying and tricks I don't like. Freestyle will come back and student choice will be a thing again when we dance at the end of class.
The second bright spot is that, after next week, PDCS closes for their summer break and that will mean I am doing less in the evenings during the week, so I will be able to get to bed a bit earlier and get more shut-eye. There are Summer Sessions - workshops, practice time and casual classes - but I've only booked in for one so far. It's not worth adding more stress on my head at the moment and I will wait until after SHOWCASE to have a good look at the Summer Sessions and see if there is anything I feel like doing before pole goes back in January. There's no point being at a high level physically in pole if my mental health suffers for it, and a break sounds pretty damn good at this point!
And I also know, despite everything else, that I will enjoy myself once I get out there and start dancing. Last year I did two dances - Beginner Static and Showtime - whereas this year I threw myself in head first and am doing FIVE dances: Intermediate Static, Intermediate Spin, Exotic Chair, Booty and Showtime. My dances are actually very well spaced out throughout the afternoon, so I will have time to change costumes and have a breather inbetween shows. And, as my Exotic Chair instructor said on Tuesday night, it doesn't matter if you get up there, forget all the dance, and just grind for two and a half minutes: the point is you got up there and did something!
So I WILL be doing SHOWCASE 2018, and I WILL throw my all into it. I'm not going to let myself or my pole sistas down by half-arsing it. Maybe I'll forget a step, maybe I'll trip over my PLEASERS, maybe I'll go roll the wrong way and have to do a quick little spin on my knees to get to the right side of the pole, or maybe I'll forget to booty pop to the correct counts, but I'll be there.
Because if I can do my best when I'm feeling at my worst, there's something to be said for that.
P.S. Pole is not the only stressful thing going on in my life at the moment. Right now I'm in a very stressful head space, with work, pole, lifting and personal issues all spinning around in my head. I'm looking forward to things slowing down after SHOWCASE so I can start to work on putting my head back together again. I will say that I'm lucky to have supportive friends and colleagues who are helping me through it and giving me the encouragement I need to see it through.
If you're afraid to fall it means you're prepared to brave the heights from which you might fly.
Me With No Apologies.