Social media is a beautiful thing. It allows us to curate the best image of ourselves and portray it however we want, all in the comfort of our own home, behind an anonymous, perfected profile. Some people use it to live the life they want to live, for others, it becomes a journal of their everyday life. For me, social media became my safe haven to escape the judgement I may face if real people knew who I really was.
If you haven’t noticed…
For the longest time, I never used my real name in my blog posts, YouTube videos, Facebook and Instagram. In fact, you can’t really see my face in them either. I can’t really explain why, but I didn’t want people to know who I was.
A voice kept telling me, “You’re a pole dancer, you share pole videos online… when employers search your name and your YouTube page comes up, it’s not gonna end well.” At least that’s what I’ve managed to convince most people, but deep down, that wasn’t the reason. I just didn’t want to be known and made sure it stayed that way in the past 5 years.
What is Pole Asana?
When I first started writing and vlogging, I didn’t have a goal in mind. I grew up in an extremely conservative family and always maintained a ‘good girl’ image. Pole and me? No way. When I first started pole I felt empowered because I found something I loved, but at the same time I also felt very alone because I was afraid to tell anyone. In the first few years, I’ve recorded so many videos of my pole practices, videos I never thought I would share. Of course, there are days when it just feels like nothing is right – you feel weak, exhausted and defeated. On one of these days… I dug up my old videos. The ones where I can barely invert? What straight legs and pointed toes? You mean the ugly frog legs? Ya, those embarrassing videos. As I went through each of them, I saw so much improvement!
|The first video I ever shared was my scorpio.
On the left: beautiful cocoon (super advanced pole move) – not me
On the right: a barely there closed inside-leg hang, while slowly sliding down the pole – me circa 2011
The uplifting effect these simple videos had on me made me wonder if someone else could benefit from this. I searched through YouTube and actually couldn’t find too many videos of people showing their fails. I mean, ya, I get it, it’s ugly and no one genuinely wants to see fail pole videos if they’re not funny (the world is pretty cruel sometimes!). I gathered up the small amounts of courage along with the non-existent video-editing knowledge I had, and uploaded my first Pole Diaries video on YouTube, ready for the world to judge. I clicked upload. I clicked published. And waited for something to happen… Of course, nothing happened! The world didn’t stop spinning because I decided to expose myself in the most vulnerable way. In fact, I think I got a record-breaking 20 views and 3 subscribers in 5 days! Good job Kimmy, job’s done.
My intent was never to gain any publicity for what I do. I only wanted to share and inspire others and so I just kept publishing more of these videos. I can’t say I get a lot of views or subscribers, but every comment that I got reminded me that if I can be a positive influence to anyone, it’s all worth it.
Pole Asana is my diary to document my pole and yoga journey. It’s meant to inspire other people and hopefully change the public perception and stigma associated with pole dancing.
Why are you so afraid to use your real name?
I didn’t want online people to know the real me, and I didn’t want people in real life to know what I do.
It took a few friends a very long time to convince me to start a Facebook page for Pole Asana. I hesitated because I knew it could eventually trace back to my personal account.*gasp* What if someone finds out??? Well, I finally did it, and it wasn’t so bad! I was happy to “come out” and let my friends know that this is what I do. Honestly, I think most people don’t really care and those who did were very supportive! All that worrying was for nothing! But for some reason, I still had a mini heart attack when my best friend left a comment on my photo: “Kimmy, you’re amazing!!” Irrationally, I deleted the comment in panic and apologized profusely to her. I could tell she was hurt and a little confused… To date, I still regret it (I’m so sorry, Estie!)
When I started teaching private lessons, I was still hesitant to share my name again (no surprise right?) and instead used a nickname, Kay. I love my students and I loved the connection I built with each of them. But a part of me still wanted to keep my pole life separate from my real life. But what’s to say pole is not already a big part of who I am already?
In this reflective time alone, I scrolled through all my past photos and videos on my blog. None of them clearly portrayed my face. At least, if anyone saw those photos/videos of me, they would never recognize me if they bumped into me on the street. Was that deliberate? Yes. I wanted to share a part of my life with the world, but only anonymously.
It’s been a long journey since those days when I still hid from the world. Competing in my first pole competition was an item off my milestone checklist. My parents’ perception of pole changed when they knew I was training to compete on stage. They also became super supportive of me when I finally showed them my YouTube videos. Oh ya, they shared it with their friends and family on Whatsapp too! When you’re Asian and your parents praise you in front of their friends, rejoice because that definitely doesn’t happen often!
Hey Kimmy, what’s next?
I always thought being personable and professional is mutual exclusive. I didn’t know if it was appropriate to show those silly happy dances at the end of my videos (ya, I cut those out), since that’s the real me but not the professional me. There was a clip where I smiled after getting one of the moves and someone actually commented on how they loved my smile. I literally basked in that comment for days!
I also decided to post a few selfies on Instagram – which is not very me at all! In case you haven’t noticed by now, I’m very self-conscious and would be happy just being a wallflower. But I loved seeing the occasional non-yoga or non-pole selfies my role models share on their IG feed since I can really put a face to the amazingly flexible and strong bodies.
Lastly, I’ve been slacking off on updating my YouTube channel but I promise I will start posting more videos soon! It’s been on my agenda to start doing voiceovers but I just lacked the confidence to do it. An exciting collaboration is coming up and that was just the little motivation I needed to step out of my comfort zone.
Thank you again for everyone, virtually and in real life, who had been so supportive of what I do. A small comment really goes a long way! Hopefully, you will all like the new me. Okay, it’s not really ‘new’, but more the real me. It’s hard to just throw myself out there waiting to be judged, but I’ll do it anyway! Just be nice 😉