I’ve been going through a bit of a renaissance in terms of my relationship with my body. I thought I had made peace with it long ago, but it turns out that was a bit of an illusion.(see my previous blog on “unflattering” yoga poses). Really digging through my past has brought some new realizations to light. I”ll share with you, perhaps it will help another human along their path.
I’ll start with, I was raised in a religion that a) practiced a particular diet and b) banned dancing, and discouraged any competitive sports. Deviations from these guidelines were literally considered “sins”. Throw in some image obsessed parents, and that’s pretty much a recipe for unhealthy patterns down the road. (Nevermind sexuality, but that’s a fairly standard issue across the board. I digress.)
So, that was my foundation. Growing into adulthood, I moved away from that lifestyle, and created my own. Long story short, I was blessed with some amazing friends and men in my life who assured me that I was loved no matter what size I was. And my self confidence grew to a functional level, essentially because I trusted and believed them.
But now, I am in a new phase, where I am fully compelled to appreciate my body as it is, and not use someone else’s support as a crutch. It needs to come from my core. And in that quest, I realized that all this time I really have felt quite disconnected from my body, as if it wasn’t even mine. No wonder I was a lousy dancer.
Since I was already on a mission to strengthen my lower body, I was cruising around the web looking for different physical therapy exercises, and a post crossed my path about belly dancing routines being really great for strengthening your pelvic floor. Light bulb moment. A low impact exercise to strengthen my core and hips and legs, Eureka! Searched up some beginner belly dancing tutorials on YouTube, pulled all the curtains closed in my house, and gave it a shot. Nearly fell over laughing many times at my very awkward attempts...but I have to admit, a few weeks later, I love it. I even ordered up one of those fun scarves with all the coins jangling, and it seriously makes me happy just to get the rhythm down. Now I find myself swirling my hips around to Latin jazz tunes as I work and cook and clean, just because it’s fun. I feel stronger, and more importantly, happier. And even a little bit sexy.
Don’t think I’ll be doing any public performances soon, but maybe once this pandemic is over, I might be brave enough to take a real life Latin dance class. Seems like a logical progression. We’ll see.
All of which is to say...don’t ever give up on yourself. I am 55 and just now discovering new things about myself. For me, it is important to simply try new things, big and small. Push aside fears and old stories about one’s self, and try. There just might be extra joy on the other side.
I’d love to hear from you about new things you’ve tried that worked for you! Please share in the comments.