Bodies, they’re all different, they’re all individual, we all have one, whether we like what we see or not.
I really don’t like using mirrors, only if I’m standing far far away from it. I usually wear loose clothes both in a dance studio and outside of it. Unfortunately being a dancer I
often have to stand in front of a mirror; a-full-length-no-hiding-everything-can-be-seen-kind-of-mirror. Even worse I was stuck in front of one last week in a leotard and tights (I forgot my blooming shorts didn’t I!).I’m never going to be a ballet dancer but I’m trying to keep up some level of technique – which is why I was in tights.
However instead of concentrating on class, I couldn’t shake the self-indulgent act of worrying about how awful I felt I looked. If you’ve worn a leotard and tights – you’ll be more than aware of every bodily line, lump and curve just out on display, there’s no hiding! Safe to say my heart was not in that class, and it truly effected my ability to focus, perform and just be present – all because, all I could think about is how big my legs looked and unshapely my arms were.
In that dance studio, not one body was the same – we was literally all different shapes, different builds, different heights, different levels of ability.. all the differences! But for some reason when I looked around everyone but me was getting on with the class (at least it looked that way).
I desperately wanted the class to end just so I could put my joggers on over the top of my
tights – then I would have been fine. Don’t get me wrong the teacher was brilliant, didn’t seem to have a bad bone in her body. But I swear a whole 5 minutes went past where I was in a trans-fixed state of running the phrases “Oh my gosh”, “I look bloody awful” and “I need to lose this chub” on repeat in my mind.
In that class, in that hour right there – I was a victim to my own self-destructiveness. But today I can look back and be more honest with myself. Yes I am self-conscience of my body, but could I have controlled my reaction to the mirror better? I know I suffer with a degree of anxiety, which I have been working on but unfortunately that bastard got to me before I could (Grrr). You might see it as vanity and egotistical – buuuut I definitely wasn’t using the mirror to check if my mascara was still on!
In hindsight I could have been a lot more optimistic in my reactions; if I did feel I was inferior to people’s aesthetics in room – I should have used that to fuel me to try and be the most dynamic, or the most performative, or the most alert dancer in the room (Of course it’s always easier to say these things in hindsight!) – but I didn’t.
I also question what else could have spurred on such strong feelings – often a lot of other things we lack control of in our lives and harbouring negative thoughts get projected on the image we see in the mirror. I know that at the moment, money (the lack of it!) and my career are constantly on my mind. So again – could I have controlled my reaction to the mirror before I even put those tights on?
I am using my knowledge and personal training to help clients, friends, colleagues, dancers, non-dancers; to feel strong and empowered. By focusing on building strength in our bodies and mind, it will (I know it will) eventually stop us from feeling so awful and fixated on our looks and numbers on clothing labels. I don’t see it so I’m am creating it. I want to use the mirror to check my technique not to check my my bloomin’ tummy and thighs!
It will take time and body confidence is not a one-blog-overnight-revelation-success kinda situation. But this ‘event’ last week just really solidified why I wanted to start Selfe.
I want to feel self-empowered and strong and present and powerful in all parts of my life. I hope you do to.