Last week I had my last ballet/modern dance class of the season. The recital is tomorrow, and I will not be on stage this year. And I’m OK with that. I really, really enjoyed taking dance again even though it was a bit of a slow process in feeling comfortable taking the same class as talented teenagers and equally as talented and uber-impressive adults who have been dancing since they were tots and have not stopped despite growing older and having children.
I decided not to do the recital this year after much thought and consideration. It was a hard decision, because when I start something, I really like to see it through to the end. I learned the choreography (well, for the most part), and practiced it numerous times throughout this class but I really am a perfectionist at heart and even though I believe I kept up pretty well with the much more experienced dancers, my best was still nowhere near how good I would have wanted it to be in order to perform it to my standards on stage. A group is only as strong as its weakest link and in this case, I am that person and I didn’t want any wobbles or stumbles or missteps of mine to throw anyone else off during the routine. But my little dancing girls and I will be happily watching and supporting my fellow dancers from the audience.
I know that sounds like I’m being a bit down on myself, but really I am proud of what I accomplished during these past several months. My body has responded really well to the physical demands of dance (despite the bruises), and I have started to get some muscle definition back. My flexibility has increased, as has my balance (as you will see in the pictures below); but most importantly, my confidence has really come back.
An epiphany of sorts…
Losing weight is a great thing (when it is done properly and gradually with proper diet and lifestyle choices), but even once the weight is lost, body image issues still remain. And though one might think the negative comments from people would stop, but I found that they didn’t; they just shifted.
I have come to realize that the word “skinny” can be just as hurtful and offensive as the word “fat”.
When you gain weight, or can’t lose baby weight, you have to hear whispers of stuff like “I just don’t understand it…no one else in the family ever had trouble losing baby weight”…or “wow, you look…voluptuous…” …or “well Marilyn Monroe was a size 14 so don’t feel bad.”
Well now I hear stuff like “you know you’re older now…you’d look better with a little more meat on your bones”…” or “wear something that comes up higher on top. Your bones are showing and it’s really not flattering”…or “here have some sausage, and a burger, and some dessert”…and “now, make sure you don’t lose anymore because you got too skinny.”
At first it really bothered me because I felt like I wasn’t good enough when I was overweight so I busted my butt (literally) to lose it and now apparently I’m not good enough at this weight either. I realized that no matter what, people will always have something to say whether they are well-meaning and just don’t find the right words; or if they are jealous and insecure about their own bodies/lives and feel the need to transfer that on someone else.
I’m through caring about it. I know that I feel great in my own skin (and bones), I achieved this weight the right way, and I know that this is the weight my body wants to be at because I eat a LOT of good, healthy foods. Now that that’s off my chest…
Back to dance.
So if you remember, in one my first posts about my return to dance class I included a picture of a ballet dancer doing a grand plié. Remember her?
I wrote how I could do a great demi-plié (halfway down) but fell over whenever I went for the grand plié. Well look at me now (and don’t mind the clutter in the background…obviously this was a semi-spontaneous photo shoot after a ballet workout)!
It’s not perfect…but I’m on my feet, not the floor! I’m certain that I will get down lower with more time and practice. I can also do a pretty nice arabesque without falling over…well most of the time (note the blurry hands and virtually hear me saying “take the damn picture before I fall” through a clenched smile).
Anyway, it’s all good and I am really happy and will definitely continue dance class. I had made a suggestion to the dance studio a few months ago that a non-recital class for adults would be just great and it turns out they are offering one in the fall called Ballet Stretch. I’m so there. Meanwhile, over the summer I will get my Latin grooves on with some Zumba (now THAT’s something to see).