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Finding My Place: Navigating Passion for Aerial Arts with Chronic Pain

Something happens when you realize you are just slightly less invincible than you were yesterday. Maybe it's a back injury, a chronic condition, or just the inevitable wear and tear of time. But whatever it is, it forces you to reckon with your limitations in a way you never had to before.


For me, that realization has meant coming to terms with the fact that I may never set foot on a stage again, or be able to teach pole dancing as a full-time instructor. There are weeks when I can't even commit to a "pole day" because I know that pushing myself on the wrong day could cost me 4-6 weeks of being confined to a bed. It's a constant battle between listening to my body and pushing myself to do what I love.


It's not just about the physical toll, either. There's a mental and emotional toll to navigating a passion that can be so demanding on the body. It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel like your body is working against you, or to justify spending so much time and energy on something that doesn't come easily.


But despite all of this, I know I still belong in the air. I know that pole dancing and aerial arts are still where I find my greatest joy and sense of fulfillment. It's a part of me that I can't ignore or abandon.


So, I keep searching for ways to make it work. Maybe that means adjusting my expectations, finding new ways to move and train that are gentler on my body, or simply being more intentional about taking care of myself. Maybe it means exploring other forms of movement and expression that are less taxing on my body. Whatever it is, I never question what else is out there for me. I only question where to take this passion of mine.


If you're in a similar position, I want you to know that you're not alone. It's okay to feel frustrated, to grieve the things you can no longer do, and to struggle with finding a new path forward. But I also want you to know that there is hope. There are others out there who have found ways to keep pursuing their passions, even in the face of injury and chronic pain. And you will too, if you keep searching and stay true to yourself.

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