The last overall encompassing topic I want to talk about is posing; this is what could determine a winner from second place, even if you have the best body on stage you need to know how to display it naturally. Which coincidentally will be my biggest struggle; I have always been a "tom boy" opting to hang out with the guys fishing or camping over shopping or getting my hair done. Don't let that statement fool you; I love shopping, getting my pedicures, and dressing up, but I don't feel as comfortable in heels as I do in sneakers. This will be my greatest challenge since unlike men, we don't get to go out on stage barefoot! I remember working out years ago at LA Fitness during college and glancing through the glass walls into the studio to notice girls prancing around in their bikinis and high heels. Were they strippers? Did they just want to show off their bodies to everyone in the gym? I had no understanding or even knowledge of fitness competitions and both the physical and mental strength that they require. Looking back now, I understand their struggle and commend them for being able to practice in a less private area. For me, I would start out in a more secluded studio thankfully; though it was still intimidating. The last time I was in front of a mirror preparing to preform for an audience was back in a dance studio, I was probably ten years old. It was now Sunday, and I was walking in for split team training and posing; which happened to be my first time posing. Nerve-racking was an understatement, should I just turn around and leave now? All of the other girls had done this in the past, sure it may still be a little foreign to them after the off season; but muscle memory goes a long way. I had never done any of the poses before, and now would be doing them in front of the the team. Luckily, I was one of three girls to show up; Seven Lemons was another, which made things more comfortable not being in a room full of ladies strutting their stuff and me stumbling over my shoes. Our other teammate was not posing for bikini; so it was just Seven Lemons and I awaiting Carmen's instructions. I looked over to see Seven Lemons already gyrating her hips and shoulders while her arms flowed into a front pose; I needed more direction than just "go into your front pose." I glanced over to Seven Lemon's reflection in the mirror to try and replicate her posture. Carmen came to my rescue to help me place and move my body in a way that resembled a bikini pose. I hadn't ordered my shoes at this point, so I just picked a comfortable pair of heels that I frequently wore to practice in. I could feel my legs shaking, and my muscles tensing; my ankles became stiff and I was a little relieved when the half hour was over. All in all, it wasn't as bad as I originally thought; I tried something new, and conquered a new experience getting me that much closer. These poses may see degrading or sexist (mine are more awkward since it is my first time, just imagine a baby giraffe trying to stand for the first time) but it's not about that at all, it's about the fear of wearing high heels higher than these, being on stage in front of a bunch of people judging you on your appearance and body, learning new routines that I've never practiced before, and seeing where I came from in the beginning while never losing the love and dedication towards my goal. Much like anything in life; it is all about confidence, if you think you can't do it then it will show that you are right. On the contrary; if you have the mindset that you are going to accomplish and succeed at something then that is already half of the battle. I describe my personality as something somewhat confusing and deceiving. In some situations I may come off as a strong, sarcastic, confident, independent woman (which I am;) but for those that know the other side of me, it is apparent that the confidence is a facade for insecurity. I'd like to have the "I don't care what anyone thinks of me" attitude, but like most of us; I don't, I do in fact care what people think of me. This is where the physical meets the mental struggle; I not only have to master these poses, walk naturally in heels, and flaunt and flirt with my body, I have to believe that I can and I am. Since that first posing class; I have had two more one on one sessions with Carmen (a couple of our group ones have been cancelled due to vacation, and the recent weather here in Connecticut.) At the first one on one, I will never forget what she told me; she said, "You need to lead with the ladies, and not your crotch. You don't have a penis." And this made me blush, and yet understand exactly what she was talking about; I have never walked like a sassy woman, I do not roll back my shoulders and stick out my boobs like the girls walking around thinking they are better than everyone else. Though once I saw the difference in my overall posture and how I look, I agreed it was more flattering. I must have walked the line 10 times; each time trying to master the next piece in the puzzle. When you see the bikini routines; everything looks so effortless, and yet for me it is anything but. If it wasn't for Carmen boosting my self confidence and Dee making me smile, I wouldn't be able to look back on this experience some day and laugh. Perfection is a process and you have to start somewhere, by spring this will be like second nature; but for now, it's more of a constant thought process: "lead with the ladies, lean forward, butt out, shoulders both forward, move arms and hips without moving your shoulders, and own it!" Each pose I would have to study the motions quick to mentally remember them before physically acting on them, and when I messed up (which was frequently) I started over to try and make my body follow my mind. I knew what I had to do; why wasn't my body following? I went home and practiced with my phone recording my routine to try to figure out what I could do to make things flow more naturally. When I came in for my next one on one posing; Carmen saw a huge improvement in my walking as well as my posing, practice really does make perfect (but I'm no where near perfect yet.) I am hoping to get half as comfortable as Carmen is when she poses because she makes it look so fluid and easy when I feel like a robot. My overall end goal in this journey is to no longer have the insecurity confidence, but instead the actual confidence in myself; the kind of confidence that those around me see in me, but I fail to acknowledge.
|Carmen and I posing practice|
|Shoes are in!|
Who wants to see a girl (who never wears heels) strut her stuff in high heels?!
|I feel like a baby giraffe learning to stand|