“Don’t get hung up on the size. If you feel bad about yourself because a 12 is what fits, take a Sharpie, and write ‘6’ on the label.” – Stacy London, fashion consultant
A couple of months ago I started taking belly-dancing lessons. In the dance studio – my teacher Aisha Ali’s mirrored up living room – we’re supposed to look at the mirrors around us to watch our own moves and hers.
It’s an intimate class with only two or three girls, and in addition to my own movement, I can’t help checking out my classmates as well. My teacher and the other girls are all rather voluptuous women. Watching their flesh vibrating sensuously with each and every one of their moves, it’s not hard to notice how thin I am in comparison. My thin arms, slim waist and flat abs all stay pretty firmly together. No luxurious and alluring vibrations for me.
Early on in the class, some self-criticizing thoughts actually started creeping in. Disappointed and a little envious, I murmured, “Geez, maybe I’m just too thin for belly-dancing.” When I did, my teacher and the other girls all turned around looking at me and gasped, “Are you kidding me? We’d all die to have a flat stomach like yours!”
Ha! So it’s not really about size, isn’t it? No matter how big or small, how tall or short, how fat or slender, it’s just way too easy for us to fall in the trap of criticizing our bodies. I was a little surprised to find myself included because for the most part I love my body and generally have nothing to complaint about. But there I was…
The truth is we’re all endowed with different sizes and body shapes. Looking around at nature, trees and flowers all come in a wonderful spectrum of heights, shapes and colors. We wouldn’t want to turn them into one model – our idealized version of the perfect tree or flower – would we? Imagine how boring the world would be.
So now when I go to belly-dancing class I look in the mirror and appreciate the beauty and unique movement of a tall and slender woman – who’s out to prove you don’t need to be full and curvy to be a belly-dancer!
The best we can do is focus on what we have the power to improve in ourselves, and when it comes to our body – love the one you’re with.