“Faster,” she said, “you want to bring that jiggle all the way up so your belly button moves.”
“Noooo!” I shouted back. Then I laughed out loud. It was freeing. For years I carried myself so that I wouldn’t be that jiggling fat chick. I heard the jiggling of the belt coins on all the other women in the room and I shimmied faster. We moved up to shoulders and I wished I had put on a double bra as I moved to the thump, thump of the music. I wondered if I’d be able to stop my breasts from whipping from side to side when I stopped moving my shoulders, but by then I didn’t care. I was home. I was in the moment. I wasn’t worrying about the way my body looked. I wasn’t getting the judgmental looks about my weight that I saw in the gym.
This was bellydance: the music, the movement, the expression. It was a pure moment of the now. I was fully present in my body. I knew in that instant that it would always be like that in class. All my self-judgement left me. The need to be perfect on the very first try, gone. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t follow a step because I knew it would come.
This is when I began to forgive myself for what I did to my body. The moment when I realized I was ready to stop hiding behind a body of fat. I wanted to get back to that hourglass figure I once had. I liked men looking at me even when it made me uncomfortable because I didn’t know how to react.
Is it shallow? In some respects, probably, but keep your opinions to yourself! I wanted to look in the mirror and feel good about myself. Who doesn’t want to feel confident and like what they see in the mirror staring back at them? Know who they are as a person? To be able to love every part of themselves, even the imperfections.
And then I realized I had found it. The emotional goal. I’ve already lost 41 pounds. I have goals, but there wasn’t one goal that really hit home. I didn’t have the be all end all goal. The mother of all goals. The goal to become the driving force to get it done. The goal that I want so badly, I get my ass out of bed and workout. The goal of self-acceptance.
I am confident in a lot of ways, but I’m also hard on myself about my body. My body, when I have been fat, was something to be ashamed of and when I’ve been thin there has been a discomfort of being seen. It stops now. Because if I can’t love my body right now, at this moment, fat, bumps and all, how am I going to be able to know how to love my body when I’m thin?
These realizations all came as I shimmied and moved my body; a split second of comprehension. Was it my subconscious finally having an epiphany? The drums putting me into a trance deep enough for a guide to flick a finger at my head saying wake up? The universe/goddess/god showing me their love and how to love myself? Who knows? It happened in bellydance class and I am grateful.