I have been bitten by a bug.
The dance bug that is.
First there was Nia which is more martial arts-inspired than dance but there are elements of dance routines and music blaring during the class. Then from Nia came Zumba. I LOVE ZUMBA. It is the most fun I’ve had working out in a long time. I am dripping in sweat, red-faced and smiling at the end of class. I have never typed those three things in the same sentence before. Woah.
I have always loved dancing. Even as a kid, I took ballet, though I have no idea if I was any good. But I really did look adorable in my pink tutu. I used to choreograph dance routines in my bedroom. Sometimes my sister and I would put on shows for our family and friends. I was, of course, always the lead because I was born bossy. (Sorry, Dokey.)
But then I stopped dancing in public. I let body shame take away something that brought me joy. I worried too much what people would think of me if I was out on the dance floor. In my twenties, I took a few partner dance classes- like salsa and rhumba and swing- and enjoyed them but it’s not always easy to find someone you can dance with well. Like I said, I’m a strong leader and I should publicly apologize to all the men who tried to dance with me then. I will say though, my sister and I, we really could cut a rug. When swing was big back in the ’90’s we would go wherever we could to dance and we were pretty good.
So here I am, years and years later, loving dance again. Specifically dancing solo in a class full of (mostly) women to tunes that vary from Bollywood style to hip hop. It feels good to be in my body. Yes! I just said that! And I mean it. It feels good to move in this body. I don’t spend that hour looking in the mirror cataloging my body’s flaws. I’m too busy grooving. I’m too busy sweating and trying to keep up with the fast-paced routines. I’m too busy having a good time to care if I look fat. Because the reality is, I am fat. But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy exercise, enjoy my body moving, be healthy and, goddamnit, feel sexy.
I saw this video and I’ve shared it out but I want to be sure you get to see it.
“Constantly worrying about your reflection and criticising your body, shape and size is an act of violence against yourself.” (Thank you, Feministing)
I want you to think about loving your body right now in this moment as it is. I want you to give it a try. Because if we all try? We will have a positive change on the debilitating negativity surrounding women and their body images. Do it for yourself. If you can’t do it for yourself just yet, do it for your daughter, your sister, your mom, your friend.