I’m not sure I’ve mentioned this on the blog, but I’ve been attending pole dance class pretty regularly for the past few months. I’m building strength and flexibility, as well as toughening up my skin – your body is not normally ready to support it’s entire weight by the friction of about thirty square inches of arm or leg flesh clenched around a slim metal pole!
Today my teacher praised the way I go at it: most people tend to stick to the moves they know, and avoid the ones they haven’t perfected yet. But I’m repeatedly making myself try the ones I can’t do yet, and asking for crit.
I suspect this is because I’ve learnt two things in my many years learning art: how to learn, and how to not wrap my ego up in my skills.
I mean, I have learnt from master cartoonists, I HAD to learn how to detach my ego from my drawing skills. I’ve assimilated the idea that “people who have done a thing longer than you can probably kick your ass at it without blinking”. Plus I know that while I may be a pole noob, I can draw rings around anyone in class; my ego can afford to suck here. And that probably helps a lot.
The other big thing: How to learn. I’m taking the same tack I tell kids on DA’s forums again and again. Keep doing the stuff you love to do, but also push yourself to the parts of the craft you hate. It’s perfectly okay to hate to draw a subject once you’ve mastered it enough to do an okay job when you have to, but saying “I hate drawing this” to cover up “I can’t draw this” is not okay when you claim to be An Artist. Turns out that this applies to anything. Know what parts of a craft you’re good at, and either push at the ones you’re not good at yet, or accept that you simply aren’t that interested in mastery right now. You don’t have to be great at everything you do – but know that you can be if you’re willing to dedicate the time to it. (Modulo things like “I want to be a great marathon runner but I am paralyzed”.)
Anyway. Now I think it’s time to learn what I’m going to dream about tonight. Going to pole dance class and walking home takes a lot of energy – though not as much as it did when I first started doing it.
Originally published at Egypt Urnash. You can comment here or there.