Fly At Your Own Pace
by Pole Haus Student, Morgan Thompson
A couple of months ago I saw an Instagram of some awesome stranger doing the Superman, with the caption: Fly At Your Own Pace. Things like that get posted and said all the time in the pole community, and that supportive environment is one of the reasons I fell in love with pole dance.
Three years ago, I couldn’t fly. I couldn’t even walk. One day in September I was sick, miserable, and feeling like my world was falling apart. My mom had died, my brother had died, and I thought I was going to die, too. At this point my reservoir of weird jokes is pretty deep, like lots of folks who go through life-altering circumstances. But I started with this: “So depressed. Trying to think of how to write comedy, and all I can think of is how I really suck as an amateur pole dancer.”
I had never danced on a pole in my life. So you know where this is going now, right? It took another year to get on the right dose of the right medication, and another four months for most of my symptoms to subside. I felt better, and I wasn’t in pain... but I still felt like my body was controlling me, instead of the reverse. It didn’t help that after getting back to my normal weight, I’d gained an additional 40lbs. I remembered that long-ago joke, and thought “Why not?” And then... I googled.
A week later I was in Jules’ Pole Intro, sweating buckets through the warm-up & doing unsteady dip-turns. And to me, it was both deeply comical and completely serious - because somewhere between fan-kicks and stripper knees, I’d caught Pole-itis. You know what I mean: The moment when you look at the huge bruises on your thighs and think “Yeah, I finally did that pole sit!!” My first pole sit, in Alfie’s Pole Intro, was one of the moments when I felt I was regaining control. Not just of my body, but my life.
Pole is sexy, empowering, and uplifting (ha, ha, ha) - anything & everything that pole dancers say it is, because each dancer brings their own life experiences to their dancing. For me, it’s also a metaphor for life. Sometimes learning a new trick comes easily, and that’s exhilarating. Sometimes it takes a long time, and you get bruises or cuts or soreness. But eventually you learn to control your spin... and then when you can finally fly? Well, that’s pure joy.
Above left: Morgan during her treatment (with a walking stick to aid her balance)
Above right: Look at her now! Preparing for her first Pole Competition!