The following is a long-form excerpt from a Student Initiate
“[In] August 2020 I made up my mind to take a pole dancing class that’s mixed with the art of Burlesque. Little did I know that by taking this class I would gain more than the holistic healing I was looking to achieve. With absolutely no experience in pole, erotic dancing, or striptease, I attended a SpeakEasy Noir Pole Initiation class led by the Goddess Shay Au lait. From the moment Shay entered my life Shay has been nothing but an absolute blessing on every level. Having seen clips of Shay’s movements shared through Shay’s Instagram I admittedly felt intimidated by Shay’s complete unapologetic comfort. The pleasure and desire Shay invoked in mere seconds were enough for me to want to learn the nature of Shay’s thoughts and how they transitioned from Burlesque to life. I had to take a class.
For as long as I can remember I did my best to blend in and not stand out. To my dismay, oversized clothes and hand-me-downs were not enough to keep predators at bay. Ashamed of my body and of being a woman I did everything I could to be stronger, tougher, and just as good as one of the guys. I didn’t innerstand that I was suffering from PTSD building walls to survive while simultaneously suffocating my true self in the process. I was too afraid to live because of an experience I will never forget. For a while, I was just floating through life as an observer and quickly mastered the art of vanishing. In this void, I found yoga and meditation which aid in my ability to go inward to sort through and reprogram my way of thinking. It was a very slow process to change, journaling, drawing, fasting, playing sports, you name it, I did it. I have always found a curiosity in testing the edge of my fears. The biggest fear and plain denial were to be open to engagement with my environment and the people in it at all times.
The simple act of a hand on my shoulder or back was enough to cause my body to tense and my mind to run. Every day I would need to remind myself to breathe and ask if I am truly in danger. What is happening at that moment? Can I find a way to communicate my boundaries lovingly? Most of the time the answer is no. I’d normally give the person a sharp reply to not put their hands on me. They’d throw up their hands in defense and tell me it’s not such a big deal that someone might walk up behind you and stroke your spine. I would often walk away feeling disempowered and silly for making such a big deal over a small action. An action that caused a large chemical reaction inside of me. I was also left thinking that I should continue to allow these small invasions so that maybe my body can get over it. I am considered an adult after all…I should grit my teeth and deal with my painful shit.
Rolling through life like this for so long has created a disconnection between myself and the world. When Shay asked me, “What do I desire?” It felt as though Shay was speaking in a foreign language. Nine years of studying spirituality, yoga, and meditation and all I could do was repeat the question to myself. What did I desire? Four months later in her Burlesque/Pole classes, I discovered I desire connection and power more than anything. The sensuality of Burlesque is most certainly attractive but my ideas of sensuality were mixed with pleasure, fear, and the ways I could please others. Not myself.
As I attended Shay’s classes I took note of where my mind would go. Where my thoughts, emotions, and body were all blended, I began to learn how to separate and know the differences between them. Once I could identify my personal experiences I began to learn my way of expressing them through my body. This to me felt better than anything else I could have learned. My body felt more honest than the words occupying my mind. I loved it. I became more curious and every day I began to love what comes to the surface from movement with Shay. It’s easy for me to find a sense of freedom and get lost in the clouds but Shay’s playful instructions to check in with my senses would ground me throughout the class. Shay would ask things like: What does it feel like to touch yourself? How do you touch Yourself? What is the intention as you touch yourself?
I’ve personally never slowed down enough to think of touching myself in this way before. Even though I’ve had sex in my relationships, I’ve personally avoided interactions with the center part of my upper and lower torso. I walked into Shay’s class aware of my disconnect but determined to slay this demon to reconnect with love for me. If I can connect to the better parts of me and dance away the parts that hold me down perhaps I’d build better connections with the people I love. Taking these classes has encouraged me to pay attention to my body without the obscure filter of sex and it is triggered by touch. I was able to allow myself to create positive emotions that would begin to out way the negative ones. As they grew I began to have faith and hope that balance will come into my life. In turn, helping to build confidence from within. One that finally feels good and not superficial.
This is why I am oozing with gratitude for the sacred space Shay has created with SpeakEasy Noir Pole Initiation. A space that is open and welcoming to EVERYONE no matter what or how you are viewed. The consideration Shay takes in every approach flows with a fierce and angelic nature. The world is lucky to have such a wonderful being gracing its paths. For these pathways are nothing to laugh at. Oddly enough, 2020 has brought me amazing gifts, mind-blowing blessings, and growth opportunities but not without the pain and grief felt from forced changes and lost loved ones. SpeakEasy Noir could not have come into my life at a better moment. I’d rather not picture myself having to deal with this year without this beautiful outlet to process and transmute energies/emotions. I swoon with admiration as I continue to learn from Shay. This human has saved my life and will always hold a special place in my heart.
Thank you Shay for all that you are doing in creating safe spaces and sharing your time.
With Love, – Key, Yoga & Meditation Instructor