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.