Dance saved me
I have a neurological movement disorder. I've had it for most of my life. If you've met me in person a year and a half or longer ago, you've noticed. The blinking is a dead give away. You've probably also pretended you didn't notice... but let's be real for a minute. You definitely noticed. Or, if you're a dude.. you may have thought I was batting my lashes... nonstop... for the entirety of our conversation. Didn't know that was possible but I actually had someone tell me once they thought I was batting my lashes at them. A few people tried to tease me for that growing up but honestly, I had plenty of people in my life who taught me not to give a crap about what others had to say.
There's other things like clenching my jaw, clicking my teeth, tensing my neck, rolling my shoulders, or wiggling my back/spine back and forth. Winter is always terrible because all these combined with shivering... I don't even want to go there. It causes headaches, muscle aches, and has definitely contributed to depression at multiple points in my life.
The year Lily was born 4.5 weeks early days before we had to move, dad deployed to Iraq, William was hospitalized for a month, 2 deaths close to home, and various other huge events occurred was extra tough. Social anxiety is a problem. Stress is a big trigger. In more severe cases, patients can lose function of limbs or unfortunately sometimes most of their body.
I was once rejected by a potential employer because I "display habits of a drug addict" and the job would have had me working in close proximity to ketamine. Yeah, I know. Sue them. But as I said, "stress is a trigger" and imagine how much stress that would cause.
I also left my last job (which I LOVED) that provided a second source of income because I was blinking so much, I was scared to drive. I could barely see out of my eyes and every time I left my house, I felt like my poor babies would never see me again.
I was once offered pain killers and muscle relaxers... then I told the prescribing Dr. I was pregnant with Lily and that was the end of conversation. Well.. sort of. He also told me to relax. Easier said then done, right?
Fast forward 8 years or so later. I have been "poling" for 2 years.
I drive and I can see when I'm doing it. My night vision still sucks but that's a different story. I get very few headaches and when I do they aren't the type that make me cry myself to sleep anymore. The constant pain I felt from clenching my body all the time is an infrequent occurrence. Yes.. eating better helped. Limiting driving for about a year helped (I work 2.7 miles from home now). Quitting smoking helped. But the thing I did that caused the most drastic change?
Pole, of course!! It has been like therapy to me and I know if I never started I would still feel stuck in a body I hated. Because that's how I felt and I thought I was always going to feel like that. Trapped in pain for my entire life with no way out. Dying sounded like relief to me and dying was a very long way in the future.
Anyway, I don't wait for relief anymore cause I feel awesome about 85% of the time. The other 15%, I'm sore from a hard workout, shivering cause it's cold (that still hurts), I'm hangry or.. hm...is there a similar made up word for sleepiness induced anger? I don't know.. but those percentages are DAMN GOOD for me.
This isn't to say pole would have as big of an impact on everyone. It might be yoga, weight lifting, basketball, rock climbing, slacklining, soccer, running, or something else. But please, get up and move. And if it happens to be pole, I'll gladly be your pole friend cause all your other friends can only take so much of you talking about how amazing it is (until they decide to be awesome pole people too). If you're afraid to try it because you don't know how others will react... fuck 'em. If I cared what other people would think, I'd still be trapped in that shitty painful body that once made me hate my life. If that's not a good enough reason to try pole or another activity, then you may be choosing to feel like crap your whole life. It's really up to you.