My Reprieve

The only place I feel truly okay with my body is in dance class.

In the basement of an old building that smells of bagels and sweat, facing mirrored walls in front and to my right, in work out clothes, face red with exertion and a body glistening in perspiration, I feel my most beautiful.

Isn’t that wild?

It’s not because I look any different there. The sports bra, tank top and capri sweats are  not my best outfit. I’m wearing no make up and my bed head is barely tamed. If I scrutinize I can see the lumps and rolls beneath the black clothes. I catch a glimpse of my upper arm flesh flapping as I move. I occasionally compare how my body is shorter, squatter, rounder than the other bodies behind me and it bumps me off course. There are those moments where I start to squash my own spirit because I’ve let who others are diminish my own unique light and I forget sometimes that I am special.

I forget it more than I remember it.

But there in that dimly lit room with music pulsing and bodies moving in unison, I am able to do what I can’t seem to do anywhere else- forgive my supposed failures and connect back to my center. Maybe it’s because the space feels safe and accepting and it allows me to feel the same about myself for a brief hour. Maybe it’s because I stop being in my head and get to be in my body finally. Maybe it’s because I’m stripped down raw to my core and when I look at my reflection I finally can be kind. I spend the majority of every day harshly criticizing my looks. I waste hours upon hours belittling my body and cursing its shape. But then I walk into Dance Underground and I feel lighter. I take a deep breath. I see myself with my heart, not my mind. And I smile from the inside out.


18 thoughts on “My Reprieve

  1. I love this. And, I get it. When I’m at my Bar Method class, I’m finally focusing on me and what my muscles are doing and not the emails I need to send or phone calls I need to return.

  2. You should share this with Dina and Barb. I bet they would love to read it. Have you ever thought of teaching Nia?


  3. I’ve been taking Zumba at another local place for months now, but I’ve never felt as good about my body and movements as I did at Dance Underground. I think it has something to do with the low lighting, the instructors and their imperfectly beautiful bodies, and just the all-around vibe of that basement studio. It’s a good one, for sure.

    I’ve been thinking I want to buy a small class card at DU again, just to supplement my other classes — and, to dance beside you. 🙂

  4. I agree! I feel my best in my bootcamp classes. Not because I have the best body, or push myself the most, but because I FEEL my best. I know I’m doing something I enjoy, with people who understand the reason I am there!

  5. Pingback: Friday Best… « Just a Titch

  6. Amen to finding that place! I think part of it must come from doing what our bodies were meant to do, as opposed to what most of us do most of the time, sit in desk chairs and cars. Hold on to that place!

  7. I found that I started feeling better about my body the instant that I was doing something to make it healthier without being obsessive. I tried for years to accept it the way it was — but really couldn’t, since I knew it wasn’t my best me. In any case, I feel like dance is probably a bit of that for you — the feeling like you’re doing something good and getting out of your head thing?

  8. I can totally relate and according to most of the research I’ve done, I think it has to do with endorphins from the exercise. Dancing is almost better for your brain than your body, although it is certainly terrific for both!

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