There is something new awakening in my body. A body I have abused my entire life- berating it for being less than beautiful with its fatness, its shortness, its flub and lack of grace. A body I have spent more time loathing than loving. But something shifts when I step onto the dance floor of my Nia studio. It’s like my spirit takes a long, deep breath.
As we move from warm ups to more rigorous cardio routines that mix kicks and punches with dance moves, I feel more and more alive and centered. I can see myself in the mirror along with the other women but there is less judgement. We’re all different in shapes and sizes and abilities. We’re all there to express ourselves through movement, find joy in dance and get our sweat on. I am often the biggest woman in the class but I pick a spot near the front where I can see myself in the mirror and have a clear view of the instructor. Months ago, I was in the back. Me and my fear and shame were in the back row, ambling along, feeling on the outskirts. But now I am front and center and I get more out of the class in that position. And I do not feel like I need to apologize for my body. I dance my fucking heart out and love every minute of it.
Sure, there are times in class where I am not feeling my best- my rhythm is off that day, my energy is low, or I am preoccupied- but I stick it out and at the end I have accomplished something. I’m laying on the dance floor, limbs glistening with sweat, my face red and shining, completely spent and simultaneously so alive. It is an amazing feeling.
My body is getting stronger and my shape is changing. Maybe I am not dropping pounds as I would like but I can feel my leg muscles getting more toned and my abs tightening. I stand taller and move more freely. I feel good in my body when I am dancing and that is no small thing.