This month we pulled up a seat, poured out a cuppa and sat down with Lucy Broomfield, a colourful goddess who brings a vibrant energy to classes - whether she’s teaching or participating! Learning to unlock her inner goddess has taken a lot of self-development and work.
In our latest blog, we ask Lucy how pole has transformed her confidence and helped her in her journey of self-healing. This is for anyone who questions whether they’re ‘enough’ to pole…
Q:Can you tell us about pre pole Lucy?
A: Pre-pole, I was 2 years in recovery from addiction, eating disorders, and general self-destruction. I had spent many years harming my physical and mental health, and although free from this way of life, the residue of self-hatred, inferiority, and disregard for my well-being had left its mark. I still had a long way to go on my journey to valuing myself, warts and all. But I’d made it this far.
Q: And how did pole change that?
A: Pole has inherently changed my limited belief system regarding my physical form and whole outlook on myself. It did take a little while though…
Q: So, tell us about your first-ever lesson
A: 5 years ago, I walked into my first class, alone. I had this image of what I would walk into. That it would be like school, with pretty girls in a clique gawping at me with contempt as I entered.
In reality, I walked into a class of all genders, shapes, and sizes. My first class was a mixed-ability session, and I was the only beginner. Initially, I believed this would tap into my 'not good enough and less than' narrative. However, as I watched in disbelief at the incredible moves the other polers were creating, I was struck with awe and inspiration. Then, these fantastic, talented humans were celebrating me when I produced my very basic, very awkward step around. How on earth could they think I was doing something worth cheering?!
This class had me exhilarated. I wondered what would happen if I kept turning up for 6 months, a year. I wondered if maybe, just maybe, I’d be able to do some of the cool things that everyone else was doing! It informs what I tell my students now: we all start at the beginning, and turning up is always a win.
Q: Talking about your students, what advice do you give them now?
A: Whoever you are, it takes courage to show up and be a beginner at something. To say, I don't know what I'm doing, but I'm going to try anyway. To be brave enough to suck at something in the early stages and embrace it. In my journey, I have learned that it's important to recognise the achievement in showing up. It's not always the advanced, crazy strong, crazy bendy move you nail the first time that's a win. It's the perseverance of repeatedly trying and failing that pesky Superman (it took me three years for it to click!). It's not getting a single damn move during class, but knowing you're conditioning your body toward them. It's desperately wanting to stay on the sofa wrapped in a blanket but walking into class anyway. I have to remind myself that if I attained each move with ease, it would lose its magic. For me, the satisfaction came from the challenge, this was the enjoyment of the journey.
Q: From your personal experience what are the main struggles of pole?
A: Comparison is the thief of joy. There will always be people who are further along than you, no matter where you are. There will always be someone stronger, more bendy, more graceful. But there will always be someone looking towards you admiring all that you bring. In the words of Dr. Seuss, "There is no one alive who is you-er than you."
It's easy to brush off our strengths and assets, to zone in on all that we aren't. Of course, being able to acknowledge where we can improve is beneficial. However, when that's all we see, it can be detrimental. When we can't do something, our attention is focused on it. That means it's easy to see everybody in class who can. Our awareness is heightened in that area, so it's what we notice.
Q: And how do you handle that?
A: Today, I try to compare myself to the past version of me. Take my shoulder mount for example. I used to have it, but it’s gone again! Past Lucy would have berated herself for this. I'd have criticised and shamed myself. Today, I offer myself some gentleness and compassion. Switch my vision onto what I've done well. Know that it’s consistency that delivers results. For me, that's a win.
Q: How does pole affect your mindset?
A: Having been disconnected from my body due to addiction and trauma, pole has given me the ability to reconnect to myself. There's no way I can be stuck in my head when hanging upside down on one knee! There's no room for worry or the stresses I leave at the studio door because I am forced to turn my attention inwards. To how my body feels, where, and how my body moves. When I went to my first pole class, if you had told me that I would become comfortable in my own skin, find confidence and contentment, and learn to accept not only my physical but mental, emotional, and spiritual being; I would have rolled my eyes. My pole journey has given me another gift, seeing the joy of people of all shapes and sizes finding comfort in their skin.
Q: On a wider, more societal viewpoint, how does pole help your view of yourself?
A: The biggest shift pole has given my mindset is loving my body for what it does, not how it looks. I’d lost so much time valuing valued by numbers. I Obsessively knew my weight, dress size, and measurements and these things felt like they dictated my worth. How can the scales determine how much you light up a room just by walking in it?
In the five years since beginning my pole journey, I have moved from a size 8-10 to a size 14. This would have sent me into a shame spiral previously. But as my perspective shifted from one of exercising for weight loss/maintenance to one of training for my overall well-being and mental health, my whole outlook changed.
I wasn't working out as a punishment for what I ate anymore, I was moving to shift stagnant energy and release the endorphins. I noticed that the move I wasn't quite strong enough to do last month came into my reach. I felt more agile, and I began to walk taller, stand more securely, and look others in the eye, instead of wanting to hide and not be seen.
My physical being felt more comfortable to inhabit. Not because I'd changed shape or size but because internally, I became at ease with myself.
To say that I now love and appreciate my whole being is nothing short of a miracle. Pole has been a crucial component in this process. It helped me find my voice, my body, and my power.
Q: How did you feel about your first photoshoot?
A: Oh, it took me a long while to build up the courage to stand in front of a camera! I didn't feel I had any 'good enough' moves that were worth photographing. But the urge to try it kept building. I started to realise that voice saying the entire room with judge my audacity for entering was fading a little. In turning my focus inward, I realised I wanted to celebrate myself and my journey, so I signed up for a shoot!
When I got the first photos back, I looked in disbelief. I didn't recognise myself! I was looking at an image of this strong, graceful, elegant creature… but these were me! I realised, I’ve become empowered! This challenged all the old beliefs I had told myself over the years.
Last summer, I had the opportunity to model for Athena. I couldn't be prouder with the results. The photographer captured me in all my majestic wonder and I look at the photos in awe!
Athena pole wear is absolutely my pole version of a little black dress. The Triteia set is my absolute favourite - the lilac shell design encapsulates all the mermaid vibes that I love!
Q: Why do you buy Athena?
A: What I love about Athena pole wear is not just how delicious the sets are to look at. It’s not how incredibly supportive they are when flinging myself around a pole (seriously though, for larger butts and boobs they’re a real winner - the joy of no slippage!). It’s not even pretty and powerful they make me feel. It’s Athena’s model ethos that I love the most about this incredible brand - In providing students with modeling opportunities, you see them grow in confidence as they model their sets.
Q: Any words of wisdom for those reading at any stage of their pole journey?
Are you working up the courage to walk into that first class? Are you debating trying choreo or heels but worrying about breaking an ankle? Or maybe debating plunging into the world of performance?
Whatever part of the journey, the pole world provides so many opportunities to grow. Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. It all begins by just showing up.
So trust me, here's your sign that showing up for yourself could change your life!
For anyone who has been affected by any of the issue Lucy has brought in this blog, A wide range of help and advice can be found by the amazing charity Mind.