I recently read a post on Facebook from a dancer whom I have watched dance for years. She described how, after her group was finished dancing, a spectator walked up and expressed her admiration of the dancer’s “guts.” You see, the dancer is heavy. And while she does have AMAZING GUTS, because she just does in every sense of the word, I think I understand why she found the admiration frustrating.
When you are not the socially acceptable “normal” body type, people of ALL types generally expect you to cower. It’s as if there is some unwritten rule you must be covered head to toe in an effort to hide the fact that humanity is not perfect. Only those who appear to be skinny enough, tan enough (or conversely white enough), have the proper sized chest, or a cute teeny bum are “allowed” to share themselves with the general public. Anyone less than these standards are A) not meant to be seen; and B) surely not allowed to publicly enjoy their apparent station or lot in life. So, when someone carrying more weight than the doctors’ offices chart say is allowable is seen not only enjoying life and expressing joy through dance, but is damn good at it, too, others think of them as “ballzy,” possessing “moxy,” having “chutzpah,” being especially “mutig,” etc.
I know I hear it. I have women tell me they are so happy to see someone of “my size” dance in public. While I am happy they find it inspiring, it’s not quite what I am going for by my efforts performing. I feel that dancing is a way to enjoy life. I feel music is a way to express emotions. I dance to express the emotions felt while listening to a song. I enjoy expressing those emotions. I was blessed to be able to walk…to have legs on which to stand. I was not blessed as equally with a voice with which to sing (my mother, sisters, cousins, nieces….they received that). I could stand to lose weight. I could also stand to make more money, drive a better vehicle, and clean my house a bit better. However, those things should not make me not be able to celebrate and enjoy where I am at right now!
So if it is “ballzy” to enjoy myself, so be it. If it is showing my “nerve” to dye my hair blue (I DO see people noticing the blue hair, by the way. Tomorrow it may be pink, so be sure to keep watching). I am going to enjoy myself. I am going to love myself. I am going to love where I am at right now.
Too many say things like, “when I lose 50 pounds I am going to dance in public,” or “when I get those washboard abs I am going to wear a bikini,” or what have you. You know what? I’m not waiting to enjoy my life! I can work toward those goals and still enjoy myself NOW! I am going to love myself, so I am better able to love others.
So, I don’t care if you are a size 2 or a size 22, please, for crying out loud, enjoy your life! Enjoy your body! It is the only one you will get! Take care of it! Move it! Express yourself with it! There are plenty of places in this world where other people believe they have the authority to suppress the actions of others. I have been extremely lucky to not have be born in one of those places. At least we do not outwardly do that. Let’s not passively do that, either, ok?
It took a long time for me to be able to be comfortable with myself, and some days still I am not. But I sure will not be old, gray and immobile someday wishing I would have danced when I had the opportunity. October marked Troupe Zephyr’s 7th birthday. When Mandy and I pooled our efforts to get this going, our intention was to enjoy what we were doing.I will not regret not celebrating the joy of life. Because I intend to and you should, too.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”