So, two weeks ago I had a bit of a breakdown. I’d been a bit ill, and red bull and strawberry laces weren’t helping me push through any more. I hated my routine – I thought it was embarrassing, beginners-level, clunky and ugly, I hated my song, and I was getting pain and niggles everywhere.
I was at the point where even looking at a pole was filling me with dread. Even freestyling, I could only think of moves in my routine, my whole life was one routine, again and again. I just wanted to get the whole thing over with, never think about it again, and get on with my life. To make it worse, there were still parts that were going wrong, didn’t click or I hadn’t polished enough. So it really needed the work. Thanks to other stresses back in the real world I was also eating and eating to get me through, always thinking in short term energy bursts, some crisps here, bread there, and definitely not getting my 5 a day.
All in all I was miserable and I finally realised my own head was making it worse. So I manned up. We filled the house with vegetables and pulses, I started going to bed earlier, drinking loads of water and trying to look after myself. I started training elements of my choreo to different songs to ‘trick’ myself into rehearsing. Bits of the routine that I felt awkward about, I just scrapped. And I switched my head back to where it was when all this began – to get the best experience I could, to be me, to have some fun! I forced myself to think positively, to smile while training, and over a few days, some of that anxiety began turning into excitement. There are studies that show how closely the emotions of fear and excitement are linked in your brain, and if you can switch the way you interpret all of those crazy chemicals, you can really change your mindset. By the end of last week I was genuinely looked forward to it for the first time in ages. Such a relief!
As the competition is on freestanding poles, including a brass pole for the spinny element, the competition organiser invited anyone who wanted to to come down to her studio to practise. I wasn’t sure whether to go as I thought a bad training session with a week to go would destroy me! But I’m so glad I did – the brass pole didn’t feel too much different, and I was good to have a little practise with the wobble of a stage pole. Plus, now I’ve met a few of the people ahead of next week so won’t be walking into a room full of strangers.
This whole process has been about as emotional and challenging as I thought it would. Part of me is still terrified, but there’s now a big part full of excitement – as well as a big part that can’t wait to get back to training strength and flexibility again properly – doing moves like these…!
So here we go, the final hurdle… 5 sleeps to go!
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