Featured Client Tracy Cunningham ~ My Twisted Experience
As we wander around our little D town we are often recognized by others as “The Twisted Twosome” or “Those Pilates People” and often “Aren’t you the pole dancer girls?” Yes, yes we are. We are all those things, and more. What people don’t realize is we don’t really see ourselves as any of that. We simply view ourselves as two moms trying to help people find their self worth, to walk out of our Twisted Studio feeling a little more empowered, a little more badass and a little more like the world is okay. It’s awkward when people recognize us in public, but it’s endearing because often following those “Hey aren’t you the circus people” comments, there is a story they share. The story usually goes like this “I have a friend that works out with you all and she looks fabulous she is always smiling. She tells me all the time I should come try it but I am scared because _________ insert answer here______.” What we find most impressive is through those shared stories the focus of each persons experience is not one of superficial aesthetics, it is truly a story about how that person now walks taller, smiles more, laughs and enjoys life. In those moments that’s when we know we have met our goal, in those moments we know that we are serving our purpose and those are the moments we share with those that doubted us in the beginning and ask them to join us on our journey. Watching Tracy on her journey over the past six months has given our hearts such joy. Tracy has awakened something inside herself and she is only at the beginning; we can not wait to see where it takes her.
My Twisted Experience.
My name is Tracy. I recently graduated from the University of North Texas with a Radio, Television and Film degree and a minor in Spanish, and right now I’m in a good place. I’ve attended two different college, moved 11 times in nine months, and been a part of organization that will continue to influence me for years to come as I pursue a career in film.
I’ve lived in Texas, just a quick drive to my family, my entire life. I grew up in a southern house hold and food tended to be at the center of all of it. When something was going wrong you made grandma’s pie. When you won an award it was home cooked steak and potatoes with green beans on the side. For a person’s birthday it was whatever they wanted. Always home cooked, always with three sticks of butter. Growing up my favorite part of the day was dinner, and not because it was the end of the day but because there was food. And food always made me feel better.
I have never been small and this has always been an issue for me. Both of my sibling were slender of build growing up, and the girls I danced with for nine years were small in every aspect of the word. I was jealous. In all of those lovely dance photos that studios take I stood a head and a half above my class mates. I couldn’t take being so different so I quite. And I regretted it. It wasn’t until I started working at a dance store that I realized how much I regretted that decision.
After graduating from high school in 2012 I went Stephen F. Austin State University in an attempt to get away from my family and be my own person. I hated almost every minute of it and had chunks of myself ripped out and apart. I was alone. I went from weighing the same thing I had weighed for four years, to losing fifty pounds in under 30 days. I barely ate because I had no food, barely slept because I wanted to study in the quiet, and worked out in all of my free time because in my head if I looked like them, if I looked like the girls I envied I would have a purpose. I felt like all the passion I had had for school and film was gone. When I transferred to UNT I had to rebuild myself. Remind myself of the dreams I once had and the importance of them.
The first thing that occurred was that I tried to cope with my depression. So I did it the way I was taught. I ate. I stopped working out and I tried to focus on my emotions but with that I gained weight and I slowly grew to the point where I was avoiding mirrors and my clothes got baggier. As I gained confidence back in my passion for life, I lost it in my physical self, slowly.
To try and placate my need for creative movement I began swing dancing and two stepping with groups of friends, but it was never enough. It was honestly too late. I would look in the mirror and all I could see was someone I hated. So I began a routine. I went to work, I went to school, I came home and I did homework, rinse and repeat. Every day as girls would walk in to get ready for showcases and recitals, or getting fit for their first pair of pointe shoes, I would wonder where I would be if I had kept dancing. In Denton I had given up the search for a studio that fit my flow. However, that changed as a coworker invited me to a Twisted Bodies pole class.
After awkwardly doing body roles while sharing a pole and failing at doing basic spins, I was sold. It was a challenge for me. It reinvigorated me. Kayla was my first instructor and for several months she was my only instructor. She would joke with me, give me a hard, time and never let me give up when she knew it was my mind and not my body stopping. I went a long way with Kayla. Twisted bodies became a place where I could escape from my roommates, work, and school. It is a place where I could focus on me physically and mentally. It is a place where I could learn to trust myself. I slowly branched out into other classes. Every single instructor, and even some of the clients, have provided me with something that I didn’t know I needed. They are something uniquely Twisted Bodies. They see a me I didn’t know was possible and wither it was by walking me through the same move for the third time, putting up with my commentary, or pushing me through conditioning, they have helped me not hate myself. I don’t weigh less, I’m still a size 14 but I have grown stronger mentally and physically in leaps and bounds thanks to every person at Twisted Bodies. My mind has been twisted.
Favorite Indulgence: Cupcakes, because they are tiny cakes!
Favorite Movie: Jurassic Park
Favorite Twisted Class: Do I have to answer this. There are way to many good ones. I will have to say Bar.
Hidden Talent: I can sing, and not just in the shower. I’m all about karaoke
What she does when life gets stressful? When life gets stressful I go for a run and I take a bath.
Dream Vacation: I want to take a long trip with a group of friends and just go out and do something. If it is going to Disney or the beach or Las Vegas or Europe I don’t really care as long as I’m surrounded by good people. Good people that are willing to jump and do things they’ve never tried because they get to be surrounded by the family they chose, and they feel that support.
Historical figure she most identifies with: Leni Riefenstahl, she was a female film director during WWII. At the time men didn’t like her because of her competitive talent, and later people didn’t like her because she worked for the Nazi Party, however she was a female director in a time when that was almost unheard and she did whatever was necessary to show the world that she was a force to be reckoned with. She never backed down and I admire that strength.
If there were a soundtrack to her life: A sound track to my life would consist of everything from Disney, to Disturbed.
Beauty product she can’t live without: Hair conditioner/ Face wash
*** We ask the same questions of ALL our featured clients. Our favorite part is reading a little more about them. Tracy’s answer is the most honest, raw, and best answer we have ever received. It truly encompasses our vision for the little pink palace we call Twisted Bodies***
Twisted Client she is most inspired by and why: The Twisted Bodies client that inspires me the most isn’t anyone client. It is the girl in each of my classes that refuses to give up with no encouragement. It is the woman that smiles through the pain and supports others. It is the client that achieves something they didn’t think they could do. It is the woman that introduces themselves to new people and tries to make friends with everyone. It is the people at Twisted Bodies that raise the bar. I can’t name anyone person because I have been inspired by so many. Twisted Bodies is a beautiful environment with beautiful people that let me leave everyday a little happier and a little taller.