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Pole as an Anxious Introvert

Hello and welcome back to The Ealing Pole Studio blog. We have been busy with Photoshoots, Workshops and Community events but we always have time for a catch up with our incredible students. Today we will be hearing from Ania and her journey through Pole as an Anxious Introvert and how our wonderful community has changed her life. Take it away Ania!

2 cis femme presenting women talking in a pole studio
Alex and Ania discussing Pole Moves

Hi! I’m Ania, also known as the Studio Gremlin. Short, bright-coloured hair, Alex’s “hairdresser”. If you go to the studio chances are you’ll have seen me putting up/taking down poles, manning the door at showcases or just being a general menace to Alex. If not, hi, nice to meet you! I hope you come and join us soon. :) 

When Alex said she was adding a blog to the website I knew I wanted to contribute, what with being pretty passionate about the studio and pole in general! I can’t promise that this won’t just be a huge love letter to our great and glorious leader.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a massive introvert and pretty damn anxious. I struggle in social situations that have more than a few people in attendance, especially if they’re people I don’t know incredibly well. I often need a few days to myself if I’ve had a big social event. It’s something that’s stopped me from doing things more times than I care to admit, so obviously I was kind of terrified to start pole. I even said that to Alex in my initial booking and she sent me back a really lovely email reassuring me!

In my first lesson (over five years ago!) I ended up being on a pole with a lovely human (shout out to my pole wife Liv!) who like me was small, quiet, and seemed fairly nervous. As time went on, we continued sharing a pole and she became an anchor in an ever-changing ocean. We moved up through levels together, cheered each other on in our successes, and encouraged each other when we couldn’t quite get something. She helped my confidence grow which in turn helped me with my interactions with others.

Nowadays pole is a place where I can let loose, and for a few hours that day I don’t feel like an introvert, I can talk to people and it isn’t so scary as we have that commonality. We’re all in a room together doing a very physically demanding sport, cheering each other on. Being more involved in the back end of the studio is also definitely something that’s helped me with “the fear”. Obviously, the endorphins help too!

As my ability has increased my social confidence has increased as well, we can help each other out and give tips on how to achieve something (but only if we know what we’re doing!) 

Don’t get me wrong, there are still days where I struggle, my social energy is low or I’ve had a rough mental health day that I can’t shake off, and on those days I know that Alex will make sure I get as much out of the class as I normally do in the way that works for me at that time, whilst also making sure everyone else has their needs met! How she does it I’ll never know, but her being a superhuman is a topic for another time!

There are some simple things that help me, for instance, I always use the same pole (in the furthest corner from the door by the weird dummy man if you’re curious) as I can keep my stuff close to me, and if I need to sit down and take a minute I don’t feel like I’m in the way and can do it without worrying about a fuss being made. After all, sometimes you might just need to sit in a corner and have a little cry! Or at least I do… The fifteen-minute change-over period between classes allows me to get myself together without feeling rushed or panicked. 

Having a teacher and environment that you mesh well with makes all the difference, TEPS is my safe space. While I’m in the studio other people aren’t scary. I can truly be myself with no judgement, and the impact that it’s had on my life is immeasurable. I feel like a good teacher will be able to adapt to your needs and give you the support you require in the way that works best for you. 

To summarise; Do pole, it’ll help with so much more than you would ever believe. You’ll gain an incredible family and get strong as hell in the process!

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