Friday, June 4, 2010
Beauty After Dancing
(This post is inspired by Heather's.)
As someone who has, for her entire life, suffered from various body image disorders, I have never been friends with the mirror.
While using the mirror at home to fix my hair, I would avoid eye contact with myself.
In a public bathroom, I was always careful not to look up from the sink for fear of catching a glimpse or for fear of looking like I was looking at myself. You see, I assumed that other women would say, "Look at her, checking herself out..." I don't know what I thought they were thinking about themselves then, since most women have no problem looking in the mirror.
Even now, Marcy and I have a small mirror in the bathroom, and I placed a cheap, long mirror for checking outfits...in the basement. There is no mirror in the bedroom. (There is one in the living room but it is one of those mirrors meant to make a room feel roomier and it is easy for me to avoid and not notice.)
Looking in the mirror has always unleashed a litany of imperfections in my mind (sometimes out loud): this or that or all things are too fat; my ears stick out too far from my head; my eyes are too small; my eyes are not blue "enough"; my lips are too thin...you get the idea.
Admitting anything but imperfection was conceit.
Since I have returned to dance, something is changing. It is not all Starlight and Fairy Dust; there are times when I flap my arms and say "oh, no...gotta go lift some weights." These habits of self-loathing are the hardest to break, I think.
I can remember the first time it happened, though, that the mirror and I...got along.
I had just been dancing my ass off. I was covered in sweat. I was exhausted and exhilarated, and I walked into the bathroom, flipped the switch, and saw myself.
Really saw myself.
And I thought, for the first time in forever, "Well! You are quite beautiful!"
Now, though I am embarrassed to admit this (and yet should not be), I find myself seeking out a mirror after I have danced extra big and bold, because I relish the opportunity to look into my own eyes and see them sparkling with joy rather than self-judgment.