Here is an article that will start with: “let me tell you about all the horrors and traumas that I have endured as I was born and raised in Egypt…” but it ends really well, I promise.
Like most girls who were born and raised in the 90s in Egypt, we were given dolls to play with, never cars, nothing that got us too excited.
“Play quietly, sit straight and close your legs,” among many other rules that were made in our society to dictate what a girl can or cannot do, or wear. A society that shames females and their femininity.
I remember clearly when I had my first period. It was handled with a bit of shame and secrecy. It is all unresolved trauma passing from one generation onto the other. Who am I to blame?
When my breasts started to bud, I used to wear a very tight sports bra underneath many layers of undershirts to hide what is underneath. Because for me, those things were shameful. Whenever I gained weight, I was judged for being fat ‘Batta’, and when I went into my bulimic phase, I was still judged for being too thin. I mean who will like a woman without curves?
For years I suffered with my body image. I hated how I looked, my curves, my thighs, I looked at myself in the mirror and felt unattractive. For years I allowed others to make me feel insecure about my body. For years I was not good enough.
It took me a lot of time, effort and relationships to reach that level of not caring how others see me or think of me, but still I was my own worst critic. As always. But then I found Pole; and Pole has changed my life. It was at that moment, at the end of my very first pole class; I was asked to pick a song to dance to and try out the moves I learnt during the class altogether, while everyone else watched. Super intimidating and awkward; what if they don’t like me? What if I look horrible? What if I slip or fall? All of these questions started to rush the blood to my face. Surprisingly, once I stood next to the pole, they cheered and that was everything.
Encouragement from students and the instructor made it easier for me to peel back layers of worry and body shame. There was no competition, no judgment between any of us. I never knew that a place like this could exist. A place where you can be yourself, whip out that sexy beast if you want to and be celebrated for it.
Pole gave me a reason in my 30s to confront many of my fears and traumas which were scattered all over my teen-years and twenties. On bad days, it gives me a reason to get out of the house when I would rather stay under blankets. On good days, it reminds me of what my body is capable of when I put my mind to it. I’m 30 and I can do the splits!
When I walk into the studio, everything else goes away. It is the only time and place I am actually fully present, in tune. For nine months I have been training my mind and body. I ended up getting so much stronger and most of my insecurities disappeared along with most of my mind’s limitations.