Visual Perception

The saying, “Things are not always as they appear” is more true than your typical platitude. Seeing is not something that we do with only our eyes - in fact, the eyes are a fraction of the process involved in what we constitute as “seeing”. As much as we may want to believe that there is one objective “reality”, perception is something that cannot be divorced from what the eyes see and is ruled by many factors. One factor I address here is the role of the emotional state on perception and seeing.

Typically, emotions and visual perception are thought to be mechanisms operating independently of each other; however, one’s current emotion state can affect how an environment is perceived. For example, most of the time, people have a tendency to process their surroundings globally; however, stressed conditions seems to minimize the spatio-temporal field, thus narrowing attention. In 1959, psychologist J.A. Easterbrook proposed his hypothesis that “the range of cues attended to is inversely related to the degree of arousal; that is, in a state of increased arousal, attention narrows and fewer environmental stimuli are focused on.” (Easterbrook)

Conversely, findings since Easterbrook’s hypothesis have supported the notion that positive emotion encourages global attention. When researchers induce a happy or stressed mood by having participants reflect on and write about a happy or stressful event from their lives, those in positive moods perceived their environment in a global perceptual style, whereas participants in stressed moods adopted a local perceptual style.

A common test to measure global and local perception is the Kimchi test, wherein participants are shown a geometric figure made up of three small squares arranged in the overall shape of  a triangle. People are then asked which of the comparison figures is most similar: a triangle composed of small triangles or a square composed of small squares. The local response would be to elect the figure with squares, the global response being the figure with the triangles.

To read more about the Easterbrook study, this is a good starting point:

Easterbrook J.A. The effect of emotion on cue utilization and the organization of behavior. Psychological Review. 1959;66(3):183–201.

Formed By Responsibility + Resolve

There are some games you don’t get to play unless you’re all in.

If you want to live a life of meaning, you must first decide this is what you want. Living a life of meaning is not a thing that happens to you naturally. Our first instinct is often to run in the other direction as soon as difficulty arises. Your decision sets the tone for how you will deal with all subsequent circumstances.

What’s the upside to facing all this inconvenient struggle? You get to live at the top of your game. You get to know what you’re really made of. You get to look at your face in the mirror and see not the face of a naive hobbledehoy but instead the face of a person formed by their responsibility and resolve.

I’m often asked by students how they can be more sexy. This is what makes a person truly sexy. Everything else is ornamental, but that “attitude” all comes from this decision to live life and all of its unknowns all in.

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Trolls

I heard someone suggest that online bullying isn’t real. Of course online bullying is real. We are human beings and no matter what technology is invented, like literally every other thing in life, some of us are going to act like arrogant fools and others will act civilly.

I do think some people invite bullies in because of the way they act, but generally speaking, no one deserves to be bullied. I think we all knew that kid in school that acted in such a way that practically invited people to tease them – even people that typically weren’t bullies – but the truth is also that if you are a person living your life authentically, you are going to have people that hate you. That’s the price to living an authentic life and it’s a price that most people are not willing to pay.

People love to wax poetic about how everyone should strive to "live authentically" but no one really talks about the fact that when you do that, you open yourself up to people that will strike at that vulnerability (and living authentically means being vulnerable). The upside to living a real life (meaning you are an outward expression of more than just your socially acceptable persona) is that you will have many people that adore you. And you must live authentically if you want to ever be happy. Being happy and being hated are not mutually exclusive.

I think that what it says about our society that we’ve gone from physical bullying to digital is that people just feel more free to let their dark sides out online because it’s anonymous. I think it’s pathetic because these trolls in real life are most likely polite and “friendly” milquetoasts with their seething resentments hidden under their surface personas.

These types of personalities have always existed in our world, now they just have a place to let their pent up resentments and insecurities out, unrestrained by responsibility and identity. Trolls are of the weakest beings because they betray their very identities and selves every time they make an anonymous hate comment.

If you’re going to hate online, at least put the power of your actual name behind it so at least you can have some self-respect - no matter how paltry that respect actually is.

Pure

As a person, a teacher and a friend, I am a balance of “fun to play with” and “instigator”. I’m full of laughs but I’m not the one you come to when you want to hear what you want to hear. I’ll teach you how to empower yourself, but I’m not the one to come to when you need your ego fluffed with meaningless flattery. I will tell you the truth, and most times it will make you feel like you can take on the world, but sometimes it’s going to hurt your feelings or piss you off. I am a lover at my core, but God gave me these teeth and I will use them when I need to.

I know without a doubt, that my bite is as pure as my embrace. You need teeth in order to have any semblance of internal or external power in this world. Better still, you need deep familiarity and knowledge of those teeth. This familiarity enables those teeth to be channeled for good instead of unchecked chaos.

My bite is what never allows my friends, students or myself to languish in self-hate, weakness or excuses. My bite is the voice that speaks out against the bullies and assholes of the world. My bite is what impels me to leave situations or people that are draining my vitality. I don’t know who or where I’d be without these teeth.

Find your teeth. Stop being afraid to be a bitch. Stop being afraid of not being “a nice person”. A truly good person is in touch with all aspects of themselves, light and dark, and uses them for beneficial purposes, controlling that darkness appropriately.

We all have light and dark within us. The difference between those of us that accept the darkness and those that do not is the difference between integration and fracture.

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What Should I Wear To A Pole Dance Class or Pole Party?

In this video, I explain what to wear to a pole dance class or a pole dance party. Don't be nervous - you are going to be in great hands! Pole Dance Instructors are very talented and skilled at making women feel comfortable and safe. It's normal to not know what to expect and to feel nervous and scared at first, but don't let that prevent you from taking your first pole fitness class! Once you get to the pole studio, you will see how friendly and warm your instructor is as well as the other students.

Specialty Pole Dance Attire is not the only thing you can wear to class - you can basically wear anything you want as long as you are comfortable and can move your body freely.

Don't forget - no body lotion or hand lotion the day of your class or party! If you want more information on taking great care of your skin if you're a pole dancer, check out my "Skincare For Pole Dancers - The Secret To Grippy Skin For The Pole" here:


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Goodbye Instagram & Facebook

Last night I deleted my personal Instagram account and deactivated my personal Facebook account. I’ve been wanting to delete my social media accounts for some time now, but this week a few things transpired that pushed me to it.

My intention with taking myself off of social media is to be closer with others, not to distance myself. What I am distancing myself from is the "illusion" of connection that social media provides. This illusion at times prevents me from actually connecting with people because my brain is “tricked” into thinking it’s getting the closeness that it needs. This is what social media was designed for - to provide the proverbial “dangling carrot” but never actually bestowing it. Social media doesn’t make us happy, it only keeps us distracted.

The feeling that we are all doing things just to get photos and videos of it to post online has always bothered me, in myself and in others. I’ve always been a person that forgets to pull my camera out during events or vacations because I’m wrapped up in the moment. Somehow, this ability to be in the moment became an unfortunate thing, because I had no evidence or pretty photos of what I was doing and with whom. This kind of makes me sick.

The past few months when I’ve looked at my Instagram page, I’ve been starting to feel that I’m not sure how to convey the entirety of who I am by what I post. I know that social media is not meant to convey the entirety of a person, but I began to realize that I didn’t like that.

I have been having experiences lately where I am in touch with a universe inside myself. It’s everything that I am. From these experiences of myself, I no longer feel satisfied with certain aspects of life such as social media. It all feels empty now.

Additionally, I don’t want to be a part of a world that is so disconnected from truth. I was viewing a photo of a model where it was very obvious that she was surgically enhanced as well as perfectly made up and styled - not to mention the photo was edited to perfection - and her caption was the Helen Keller quote: “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart.” 

I love physical beauty and I love good photography and great editing, and I have no issues with plastic surgery, but why not just own what your photo is expressing instead of putting a quote that completely goes against what your entire look is aiming at? It feels schizophrenic and sends conflicting messages, especially to people that are looking to these “influencers” as role models.

I’m a little scared. Scared that I’ll be irrelevant in my industry without posting a constant stream of videos and photos showing off what I can do on a pole and what my body and face look like. I’m scared I’ll never get another modeling gig again. I’m scared I’ll make less money because I don’t have that platform to advertise my services. I’m scared that I’ve become more reliant on social media than I previously thought and that I’m going to feel alone.

I’m glad I made this choice though. I have a feeling life is going to be better despite my initial fears and that I’ll actually feel closer to people and closer to myself. We’ll see what happens.

Experiencing Abandon

Last night I watched a Nick Broomfield documentary called, “Fetishes”. I’ve never had any fetishes but was drawn to this documentary. The film focused solely on BDSM and a New York City dungeon, “Pandora’s Box.” I started off with a scared feeling as the head mistress gave Broomfield a tour of the dungeon (the medical room made me feel really scared), but about 15 minutes into the film, my mind was completely opened to what BDSM actually is.

Broomfield was able to capture footage of the sessions with the clients and their mistresses. I realized through watching these encounters that BDSM is really all about two things: sensation and trust/total abandon. Firstly, these clients were so in touch with what gave them pleasure - many of them had been aware of their own distinct pleasures from very young ages. And they accepted it as part of their sexuality.

How many of us are in touch with the fact that a sensation felt at some point in our development gave them “good feelings” and then subsequently accepted that into our identities? Most, I would imagine, would feel shame about such “weird” proclivities and disassociate from them, relegating them to the realm of suppression.

Secondly, these clients are courageous enough to venture out in order to partake in this very particular sensory experience with another human, thereby showing some of their most vulnerable aspects to another. I was awestruck by the level at which these clients were able to trust.

There was a man that had a rubber/bondage fetish and he liked to be outfitted in a full-body and face rubber suit with only two tubes coming out of his nose so he could breathe. His mistress had total control of his sensory experience and whether he breathed…or not. He trusted her that much.

I found myself jealous of his ability to trust someone that much. I don’t want to be in a rubber suit, but I want to be able to have that level of abandon with another person. I want to be that intimate and vulnerable with another person. I think these clients are able to be completely themselves during these sessions and that is mind-blowing to me. I once thought BDSM was scary and strange but I see it now as something pure and actually very beautiful. It is not about pain, it is, at its core, about experiencing utter and complete abandon.

I think the idea that most people hold of mistresses is that they are very mean, yet powerful amazons. What I saw was that these women are fully present, creative and loving. And yes, powerful. Who doesn’t want to be around that type of energy? I connected to a part of myself when I was watching the mistresses and seeing the unreserved, demonstrative and devoted energy that they brought to their work. I saw myself in that.

I also have always enjoyed grabbing, smacking and biting the ones I love (sometimes bringing them to the edges of pain but then scaling back and “doing nice” again). I never really knew why I did this, I just thought it was something weird about me that I probably shouldn’t talk about (an ex used to shame me for it, insinuating there was something wrong with me).

Now I realize - because the mistresses modeled for me a different reality - an internal experience I have always had but never understood. I don’t think I’ll become a dominatrix any time soon, but I can accept and subsequently enjoy this part of myself now because I understand it more.

I feel invigorated today and that the world is more mine. I am connected to it and the people in it in a new way.

This Life of Mine

If you would’ve told me 8 years ago when I was working as a technical writer for a DoD subcontractor that I would be doing drop splits off a pole in a bikini I would’ve said, “That would be a miracle.” Needless to say - I believe in miracles. 

I’ve added another stretch class to my Citrus Park schedule… I teach “All Level Splits N Straddles” every Tuesday night, 8:30PM - 9:15PM, and every Saturday morning, 10AM - 10:15AM. Let’s get weird