Written by Victoria Gould
Anyone who does pole/aerial wears many faces. Many of us have full-time careers, we’re parents, spouses, caretakers, pet parents … need I say more?
Point is, we are usually not solely living life up in the air or have our bodies wrapped around a pole.
Besides an aerialist; I’m also a full-time career woman, a mom to two little humans (ages 5 & 11), a mom to an array of reptiles and a wife. Can I call myself a professional juggler at this point?
I always have to reevaluate my life and make sure I’m not overdoing it. There are certain things I make sure to do as a way to keep myself from burning out, like:
1. Writing it down
My best friend is a planner, I take this baby with me everywhere.
I write down everything from chores, errands, critter maintenance – all of it. It keeps all my to-dos in one place and nothing is sweeter than crossing off those check boxes. When it comes to trainings, I know each month when I’ll be in the studio so I write them down (might as well carve them in stone). As a structured person, once the training is in the book – there is no going back.
This keeps me accountable not only in training, but what leads me to my second point.
2. Prioritize yourself
I have a habit of being a one-tracked mind. It’s both a blessing and a curse. The curse comes when I’m so wrapped in my work, or spending time with my family that I forget to give myself time to do what I love. Making time for yourself is important, especially when you’re a parent and working full time. As much as I enjoy my career and my family, I enjoy time to myself just as much. Amidst all the busyness of life, I make a point to give myself those one or two hours of aerial time because it’s what I want to do. But, life is not always so breezy. The only constant is change, so when life becomes too busy you have to…
3. Know your limits
I know for myself I’ll never be a professional aerialist, it will only EVER be a passionate hobby of mine. Despite this (and I’m sure we all feel the same way) I know aerial/pole is not just for the studio. We want to live and breathe our apparatus. So we train 3-4 times a week, we workout on weekends, we practice in our head, diet, stretch and do all the things to make us the best we feel we can be.
There are some periods in my life when I have more down time and I can train a lot more than once a week (get those calluses!). Then there are times when I have to completely put aerial/pole on the backburner. When I was on the last semester of my bachelor’s degree, I was doing full-time school, full-time career and full-time mom/wife. There was literally NO space for aerial on my planner.
Don’t get me wrong, I definitely tried to integrate it. Unfortunately, I got tired, cranky, overworked and became a coffee lush. Thankfully, my husband noticed how much I was doing and advised that if I stepped away, I can always come back. That hit me hard. Sometimes, we have to put our dreams away for a while. Doesn’t mean we don’t hold it close to us or think about it or get inspired by it. Once you understand dreams sometimes have to be put on hold, you can prioritize what needs to be done and then you can prioritize bringing it back into your life when you’re ready.
4. Give yourself a break
We are truly, our worst critics. We see someone getting the move we’ve been practicing for a year (I’m looking at you Jade Split) or others winning competitions while we’re trying to figure out how to not slip off the pole (or maybe I’m the only one?).
We are constantly looking to better ourselves, we compare our successes to others not in judgment, but because we also want to be great. While admiring someone else’s talent and challenging yourself is good, overdoing it causes unhealthy stress on your mind and body. Juggling my career, my family and wanting to be the best aerialist is not always easy. I have victories some days, other days I’m just tired. We all know aerial and pole is an intense love, you can’t just half-ass it. But all of our journeys are different, I’ve learned more than anything it’s not a race. I do aerial because I love it, if it’s causing me stress and angst to keep up with it then why keep doing it? So I’ve made a choice to be easy on my progress, not hate on myself because I haven’t got my splits or I have not DARED to try a pdeagle yet (one day though).
To balance my aerial/pole love with the rest of my life, it’s about remembering why I started in the first place. Not only did I find the most supportive community out there, I found that I was stronger than I believed. Every move you ace, every showcase, every workshop you sweat in; as you see yourself getting stronger and more confident you start to wonder why you ever thought less of yourself. Through aerial I’m more confident in myself and what I bring to the table, both as a career and family woman. It’s brought so much good in my life that I have to make a point to always keep it in my life. If you’re a professional juggler like I am, it’s important to keep something in your life that lifts you high (both mentally and physically) and know that where you are right now is a lot farther than where you once were.
Victoria Gould started her aerial/pole journey since 2017. In her tenure, she's performed and shared her apparatus with adorable critters. When she isn't flying, you'll find her on the ground playing with her 2 human children and/or her 4 reptilian children. Check out her instagram!