When pleasing yourself is phenomenal.
It was a self-deprecating morning. I looked in the bathroom mirror and I didn’t like my hair. I didn’t like my dry morning lips. I didn’t like my puffy face. Hell, I didn’t even like my pajamas. There was nothing positive about my reflection. Except, I was aware. I was aware of the dislike and the understanding that none of these physical traits defined me. And I immediately thought, “Beauty is a feeling, baby.” And from that, a poem and ultimately spoken word piece called “BeautiFULL” was born. I wrote it in less than ten minutes and from there, t’was a great day…a day all about self-love.
Many of the new experiences I seek in life come from that place. A place where I consciously acknowledge the beast of a beauty that I really am and decide that she needs something worthy of her magnificence. Something that speaks to who she has evolved into and how fantastic it is that she’s made it this far. Several years ago, that new experience was pole dancing.
I walked into a friend’s pole dance studio with all the confidence in the world. Mainly because I had been a professional dancer and choreographer for decades and figured this would be another credit on my resume of fabulousness. Well, my confidence shifted. Not to a place of doubt, but to a place of readiness. After one hour-long class, I knew that I had a challenge on my hands. I wasn’t strong enough to do many of the tricks and spins I saw the instructors doing and I knew that I would have to access other parts of my body and mind to master them. And I was all for it. I stripped down to my sports bra and booty shorts, and I became a student…again.
The first month was brutal. Three classes a week and a new bruise to mark every class. But I was dedicated. Three classes a week and new calluses destroyed my pristine hands. But I kept going. Three classes a week and soreness unlike I’ve ever felt racked my body. But I got better.
The feeling of capability one gets from mastering a new pole trick is somewhat indescribable. You literally feel like Superwoman and you start to believe anything is possible. And you begin to love yourself for the progress. You also tap into this wonderful, hidden power that you never knew you had. Sex. Sexuality. And not for the pleasure of anyone else, but for yourself. You begin to see yourself as a powerhouse and understand why the sacred feminine is a beast. No matter the weight or body type or physical traits, SHE is phenomenal. And SHE deserves to give and be loved. And again, not from anyone else but from herself. To acknowledge the strength and capability of the body is phenomenal. To know that resilience and spirit can overcome any fear is phenomenal. To look at your own reflection and see your ideal self is phenomenal. And to embrace your sexuality and its power is doubly phenomenal.
Since that first pole class, I’ve embarked on many new, exciting journeys revolving around embracing my physical and sexual beauty. Recently it was the Be Your Own Bettie workshop. A few hours of camaraderie with other women acknowledging the sassy, sultry, sophisticated parts of ourselves, complete with self-reflection and champagne. It was another marvelous act of self-love that I consciously bestowed upon myself as a gift for the New Year. And that to me is what love of self, means. Taking time to acknowledge your own power, your own beauty and generously giving to yourself with time, effort, thoughtfulness and no regret. It has been a wonderful journey, sometimes with self-deprecating moments that taught me that there is always greatness brewing inside and it just takes a moment of self-awareness to remember to give love to the person in the mirror.
– by Tanya Alexander (originally titled “Mirror Image”)