At Aerial Dance we strive to create a body positive culture. We celebrate what our amazing bodies can do and not what they look like. “Find your strength” because you are strong in so many ways. “Believe your beauty” because you are beautiful even when you don’t see it. As the founder, I talk all the time about loving your body as is. And I’m a total fraud. I’ve been at war with my body for the past 8 years and I’m so tired of the battle.
During the Christmas Show I talked about the importance our safe place is for body image in a culture that is, frankly, mean to women. I believe the words. I am passionate about self acceptance and loving your body. And do you know what I did when I saw the show highlights video? I almost didn’t post it. I almost paid extra to have the videographers get rid of every shot of me kneeling in the finale because I hate how my stomach looked. Yup, not celebrating the epic event I just made happen. Not thinking about the seriously hard doubles tricks my body let Kelly & I do. I was angry that my body let me down and looked this “fat”.
And did I get over it when I posted the video? No. I watched it once in the final version and don’t want to see it again. Because I’m embarrassed by how I look. And worse, I hate myself for it. Again. This is a pattern in my life the past 8 years and I hate this pattern but at the same time I’m not motivated or dedicated enough to actually change it. I just keep loathing myself and trying to fill that hurt with kindness in other areas. I always feel like my body is not good enough. Always.
The ugly truth leading up the Annual Show is most of the instructors are battling body image and “I’m not good enough” demons. Taking the stage next to all the other instructors is a special mental challenge. My guess is many students are dealing with their own demons, too. To me, that is one of the reasons that I do the show ever year, so we all triumph over our insecurities for one day as we take the stage and are amazing.. But then seeing the pictures, I immediately criticized myself. (Again. I felt this last year. And the year before. And the year before.) The inner self talk definitely had the words lazy and the cycle of feeling not good enough starts again. So how to I see the pictures and hold on to the celebration? Maybe this is the year I’ll decide to change the cycle and end the war…
I don’t work at. Not really. I’ll try something for a short time after I see a picture I don’t like and then after 8-12 weeks stop. The anger/criticism doesn’t stay strong enough to keep me motivated. Instead if just falls back into the daily battle of not being happy with my body and thinking I’m not good enough. Which does make me wonder, do I really believe it? Do I really not like my body or is it something that I am taking on that isn’t really mine to carry? If I don’t stay the course to change it, I seriously wonder if it is really my belief.
So where does that leave me? Angry with myself. Once again, mad at my body. Back at war. Which is ridiculous. I KNOW this on an intellectual level. My body does amazing things for me. I’m so grateful for how it heals and let’s me keep doing the things I love. So how am I going to stop the war? Accepting her for what she is. Accept that if I want something to change I need to actually be dedicated to making a change which means shifting my mental outlook as well as my habits and if I’m not willing to do that, then I’m not really unhappy with her. Being angry at her all the time is just making us both miserable. One of my big goals is to change my internal dialog about my body and to admit where I’m willing to put in the time to make change happen and where I’m not. I am very excited for Book Club in January when we read “the Body Is Not An Apology” because this book has helped me realize the war I’ve been stuck in. That every time someone talked diet they are really talking repression! And I reject the control that my body image has on my life. I finally realize that I reject the war and I do have the power to end it by accepting. Now to turn the intellectual into actual internal feelings….