Everyone is a genius but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

Albert Einstein

Dear reader, I was quite hesitant to post this article and I’m sorry if it comes across as egotistical. Over the past two terms, I have shared two very inspiring stories with you all. In that time, I realised that people are very cautious about sharing their stories, which I understand. I came up with a few reasons as to why this could be, maybe they felt like their story wasn’t worth sharing, maybe they are just a very private person or maybe they didn’t trust me enough to write their story the way it deserved to be written. So finally, I decided that if I told my story it might help people to trust me with their own.

I grew up feeling like I was average, everyone was smarter, prettier, more social. As I got a bit older people started to comment on certain things and suddenly I was too pale, too skinny, too weird. It’s easy to brush it off for a while but eventually, you start to believe it. I’m sure everybody knows how that feels. One day I was feeling bad about myself, my body, my life, just myself in general. I remember staring at myself in the mirror and just crying.

I decided that if I wasn’t happy then I needed to change something. I downloaded a fitness app and started working on it the next day. It was about a month before my aunty (now pole instructor) told me about a try before you buy class at the studio she worked at. I went with my grandma, my mum and her friend and immediately fell in love with the sport. I even went to a second try before you buy the next week with two of my friends because I didn’t want to wait any longer to do it again.

I’ve always been horrible at sticking to things, especially when it came to exercise or sports, but I’ve now been doing pole for about eleven and a half months and I am not stopping anytime soon. A big problem of mine has been social anxiety, I have always hated being in crowds and never thought that anyone wanted to be around me. Being in two classes (Static Pole and Booty) every week, with some amazing women has helped me begin to overcome this anxiety.

Pole Fitness has improved my confidence, my social skills, my fitness and self-worth. Now, I look at myself in the mirror and I tell myself, “Damn girl, you look good.” and that is a better feeling than I can describe. I can honestly say that I love myself now. I hope that these articles are motivating or inspiring people. If I’m lucky, I’ll start teaching one day and be able to help others on their own amazing pole journey’s.

Thank you for reading and remember that you can do anything, it doesn’t matter how you look or how old you are or where you come from.

You are amazing.

By Shania Barrett

Photo by: Emily Eborn Photography
Photo: Shania Barrett, Christmas photoshoot 2017