Goodbye, 2019!

I was going to write a few different posts for the new year. Originally, I was going to do another post on pole goals, “What Happened in December”, as well as a quick look at what’s coming up in the world of Sass and Clacks next year.

However, having had an awful chest infection that laid me low for two weeks before Christmas, I honestly don’t have the time. Plus, it doesn’t make sense to write a wrap-up post that spans three posts!

2019 has honestly been a game-changer in so many ways – both good and bad. Are you ready for some more chronic oversharing? No? Me neither, so let’s go!


We bought our first house!

Honestly, I still can’t quite believe that we’re homeowners now. Everything happened so fast!

We were so, so lucky with the whole process. The previous owners were retiring to Spain and wanted to move as soon as possible, so the house was already priced below its market value – and because they were going abroad, they sold us all of the furniture they didn’t want to move at a super cheap price.

I mean we put an offer on the house in March and moved in at the end of May, so I call that a win!

It’s definitely come with its challenges, though. Because we don’t have a landlord to call when things go wrong, it’s been a steep learning curve. Luckily because the house had major work done on it only a few years ago, the only niggles have been things that are easily fixable.

With a new house has come new hobbies. Now we have a garden, I’m looking forward to getting some vegetables growing next year and turning a section of the lawn into a wildlife garden.

I was made redundant

…yeah, I’m still not totally over this yet.

I was made redundant from my job as a writer and games designer at Games Workshop earlier in the year. I’d been with the company for four years and in that role for three, and the vast majority of my friends worked there too. Games Workshop had also been a big part of my life since I was little, and painting models is a hobby that has followed me around as I’ve grown up. I’ve still got cases full of models in various stages of completion waiting for me to pick up my brush again, but I don’t feel ready to revisit that yet.

It’s an odd feeling to define, really. I still see my friends from GW, but nowhere near as often, which sucks. I actually started going to pole classes because the studio was only 10 minutes away by tram, and I was looking for a fitness class I could go to without spending more time in the car.

The positive from all of this is that it kicked me straight into the freelancing life.

I became a freelance writer!

It’s something I had been saying for months that I wanted to do, but I never really had the courage to go for it – thanks, anxiety and Imposter Syndrome! But, when I was made redundant, it was either that or go straight into finding another 9-5.

I figured, why not give it a shot?

To be honest with you all, I’m still living off savings, but I’m getting closer to paying my bills every month. Since I started freelancing, I’ve learned so much about being self-employed that I’m prepared to delve right into 2020 and start building relationships with some long-term clients.

I came off antidepressants

After being on meds for nearly a year and a half, I started the process of discontinuation a few months after I started working for myself once my mental health had stabilised. It took roughly three months to fully withdraw – and those three months were very weird, honestly – but I finally reached a stage where I no longer needed to take them. Just in time for SAD season, yay!

In all seriousness though, I’ve not really had any major mental health hiccups since I came off my medication. I’ve had one major depression episode that lasted just over a day, but otherwise it’s all been at a very low level.

My mental health is far better than it has been, but I still have my issues. Being at home all of the time has made my social anxiety a little worse, and I feel like I struggle to socialise now. I’ve definitely noticed I get more anxious around people now, and I still get anxiety spikes in crowds or in places where I have no escape route.

Yeah, sitting for 20 minutes in my car trying to get out of a multistory car park the other day wasn’t a great time for me.

Still, I’m in the best place with my mental health than I’ve ever been, so cheers to that!

I’m so damn proud of where I am now compared with at the start of the year.


Pole in 2019

The good:

In April, I got to meet my pole idols in person when I travelled to Peach Lee Ray’s studio in the Wirral to learn from Roz ‘the Diva’ Mays. This workshop is the first (and only) time I’ve been able to invert, but I learned so much about the mechanics of inverting that I can’t wait to build my strength up so I can try to condition it again next year.

I was even invited back to Feelin’ Peachy to train with Peach again in November – keep your eye out for my review, and an exclusive interview, coming in January!

After I lost my job, I changed studios. The first studio I learned at was 10 minutes away from the office on the tram, so it was super convenient, but because it was a 40-45 minute drive from home I started to struggle making it to one class a week.

Luckily, I found a studio that’s a 15-20 minute drive from home with free parking, so I’m back up to doing two classes a week again.

I was also published in Australian Pole Dancers Magazine! This is perhaps my crowning pole achievement of the year, and I’m still so astounded that the team at APDM both read my blog and love what I do enough to invite me to contribute to their wonderful publication.

The bad:

One of the main reasons why I left my old studio, aside from distance, was because I didn’t feel welcome there any more. I still miss the other students there, and I’ve stayed in touch with some of them, but I couldn’t continue training there.

I also took a workshop at the end of this year that left me in tears because I didn’t feel supported there either. It’s not often I feel insecure about being the biggest person in the room, but I was so painfully aware of it during this workshop. It’s understandable that, when you’re learning from people who have a different body shape to yours, their choreography won’t necessarily work for you. However, it was the lack of consideration, modifications, and support that really upset me.

Both of these things have inspired me to move forwards with some of my goals for this blog, so watch this space!


2019 Pole Goals

Let’s take a look back at the pole things I wanted to achieve this year.

Pole-supported Forearm Stand

Didn’t happen and honestly, I’m infuriated with this move anyway that I hate training it. I can’t touch the pole with even the tips of my toes unless I’m assisted up. Not too sure what I’m doing wrong, but it’s probably down to needing more power to propel up more weight.

Superman

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA no.

Cross Knee Release

Honestly I feel like this is within my grasp now! Having spent far too long thinking that my thighs were the problem, I know now it’s more down to my hip rotation and top foot placement, so I can actually get my legs in the right position now!

Seductress

Didn’t even train it, so…

Layout and Skater variations

I actually did boss these! I can hold a one-hand Skater pretty consistently these days, and I love playing around with new layout shapes.

More spinny pole

I spent about 5 minutes on a spinny pole this year so…not really.

Front/middle splits

Also nope. I started training them but thanks to a lovely combination of SAD, illness, and general business I fell off the wagon.


2020 Pole and Fitness Goals

So the first thing I’m going to look at in 2020 is not having so many pole goals. Seriously, if not for my mental health, then for the sake of future me editing her 2021 blog post.

Splits

For real I’m going to work on my splits properly in 2020. That means stretching at least 3 times a week and most importantly, making a real effort to train them.

Set up my pole room

I have a spare room just dying to be used as a pole room – I just need to save up for a pole!

Consistency

I want to work on going to pole class consistently, with the aim of doing at least two classes a week. Obviously life will get in the way, but I’m getting tired of losing tricks I know I can do because I’ve had to take a few weeks away from the studio.

On top of that, I want to lift twice a week, as well as stretch at least three times a week. I’m hoping this cross-training will pay off in dividends for my pole training!


Sass and Clacks in 2020

I’m going to be focusing more on the body positivity (and body neutrality) movements next year, how they relate to pole, and what we can do to make the pole industry better in that regard. I don’t really have more information on that quite yet, but this is going to be my focus for the year to come.

Of course, I’m still going to be publishing other informative blog posts about pole, and I have plans to refresh my beginner’s guide to pole dancing classes and guide to eco-friendly poling posts.

You might also see more “off-topic” posts next year, as I want to start doing more lifestyle-type blogging and talk about what’s going on with me behind the scenes. These posts won’t be as regular, but now I’ve started being invited to events as a blogger I’d like to post more about what I’m up to.

I’m also going to be putting together some writing services packages for studio owners and instructors in the new year to help with websites, social media, emails, and your other marketing materials. I still need to get the details finalised on my end before I talk more about this, but if this sounds like something you might be interested in, feel free to get in touch with me at emma[at]dragonscribestudios.co.uk and I’d love to chat more about how I can help you!


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