Last month, I was sliding head first down a pole and landed flat on my face. And you know what? While it was embarrassing and uncomfortable for a moment, I’m fine. I posted on Instagram that it reminded me of something important: in fitness and life, falling on your face happens but it’s not the worst and you get over it.
Since the beginning of the year I’ve been steadily taking pole dance classes. I’ve advanced from the beginner to intermediate classes – but in June, I decided to try an advanced level class. My instructor assured me that I’d be alright in a higher level class, but I was nervous – and for good reason. The advanced pole classes were a lot more challenging (hence, the face-plant) and I went from being one of the better more experienced people in class to one of the worst. My body aches after every class and I’m covered in bruises. Weeks will go by where it feels like I’m making zero progress and everything is just hard, but then something will happen – a new move will come easily or I’ll finally get the hang of one tiny element of a combo and it will renew my faith in the learning process. It’s exhilarating but also deeply uncomfortable, but I keep showing up anyways. Did I mention that all of this learning happens while wearing little more than a bathing suit?!
I’ve been thinking a lot about this process and realized something about myself: I don’t like doing things that I’m not good at. I can be a total ham and a bit of a show-off, so I tend to only gravitate towards activities where I can shine. That’s part of the reason I like my barre classes – with 15 years of ballet training under my belt, I’m confident I won’t embarrass myself and literally fall on my face.
I’ve noticed this pattern outside of my fitness life as well. I gravitate towards hip hop and house music nights partly because I love the music and know how to move to it (thanks all of those insomniac nights I spent in university watching music videos on BET!) and avoid Latin clubs even though I enjoy the music (my salsa moves are “meh”). I write about dating and relationships professionally because I’m good at it even though, sometimes – ok, often – I think about breaking out of the niche I’ve created for myself. And I date men, because men have been approaching me since I was 12 years old (#creepy, but that’s another post altogether), getting their attention is rather easy and I like dating men – well, mostly. With the exception of hip hop & house music (which I’ll never give up), these activities provide me with validation but don’t necessarily satisfy me or help me grow.
In January I decided my word for 2017 was going to be “shift” so, I’ve embracing that and making a few changes.[VERY DEEP BREATH]
I’ve decided to open myself up to dating women, as well. For some people this may be a huge surprise (I’ve spent the past 8 years writing a very hetero blog) – for others who know me in real life, maybe less so. This decision isn’t spur of the moment, but rather years in the making. I’ve been attracted to women since I was in my early 20’s, but never really did anything about it. This is partly because I was always dating men and wasn’t sure how to even go about trying to date women, but it was also because I was scared – not of what my friends and family would say (they’re very openminded and supportive) but rather how people who aren’t close to me would perceive my actions. It’s like I could almost see the comments section (“a dating writer who banged a bunch of dudes and now is dating women…how cliche” or worse, “she’s just doing this for a good story/blog fodder.” )
And yes, I realize how ridiculous this sounds. When I told a friend and colleague about this, she said, “it’s none of their business. Fuck the haters!” and reminded me that people have been making erroneous assumptions about me for years. True.
Plus, I haven’t wanted to define myself with a label. I’m still physically attracted to men, but lately I find myself more emotionally (and in many ways, physically) attracted to women. So, I feel like this is an unanswered question that needs be explored.
So, why am I sharing this now?
Because I’ve learned something over the past month. While I’m extremely confident (to the point of almost being cocky) with men, I’m hopelessly bad at dating women. I’m shy, I’m awkward and I have no idea what I’m doing. It feels a bit like I’ve gone back to square one and I’m back in high school again. But like the pole class that kicks my ass on a weekly basis, I keep showing up anyways – for better or worse – because I know there’s something for me to learn here.
Sharing my thoughts through writing is how I process things. So, while I won’t be providing play by plays of the dates I go on or the people I meet while dating in Victoria, I’ll probably be writing about my general thoughts and experiences throughout this journey.
Spoiler: talking to women on Tinder is a thousand percent better than talking to dudes. You know, in case you ever wondered.