Oh boy, the belly!

The Good and the Bad

My body, since beginning pole dancing, has slowly streamlined itself out into a muscular physique that I never knew I could have. With that being said, my belly though continues to yo-yo and it reminds me of my days back in NYC and even back in high school. Going from overweight to underweight and up and down and all around has been a forever problem for me (until now). I’ve always just labeled my days and weeks as “good belly, bad belly” which is something I’m trying to cut out of my mental vocabulary. My body is strong. My body gets me to class on time. It hustles me past catcallers on Dirty 6th (haven’t been? don’t go) and it lifts me and spins me and moves me in ways I only thought lifetime athletes could achieve. Why would I label it’s consistent power as good or bad purely based on its appearance in my mirror?

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A full body picture (circa 2009) courtesy of my mother. I lived in oversized layers to hide myself.

Way back when…

At the height of my bulimia and eventual anorexia, I judged my next moment with food based on how “fat” I saw myself. The rules were simple: your stomach was the only way to judge, no sucking in, stand normal, and if it isn’t straight down from chest to groin then it was time to force it that way. It consumed me so much, this belly, that I even spent six years wearing a skin tight black tank top under EVERYTHING just to slim out any ripples, and I would tuck it into my jeans so no one could ever see my skin and subsequent “fatness”.

But not anymore….kinda.

I still compare myself in the mirror, well, every reflective surface actually. But I’m working on stopping myself from having those good/bad days. Every day is a good day. My body continues to do remarkable things whether I’m softer and squishier than I was the previous day. My body doesn’t care about my belly, why should I?

Trick: the Fallen Angel

Which leads me to dance class last night. I threw myself into learning a beautiful trick called the Fallen Angel. I twisted and lifted and got it, first try. I had a friend take some

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Thanks to Branwen for snapping my Fallen Angel!

pictures and I notice my belly being twisted and pressed against the pole. My first thought was “Oh god, no. I’m so fat”. But then I stopped myself, and looked again. That belly, the one I was not a fan of that day, was holding me up in the pose I wanted. That squish (as my friend, Rachel, calls it) was being trusted by me to not let me fall. And it didn’t let me.

Yesterday, I finally noticed how important that belly is.

Onward

It’s still a long road ahead of me. It might even be a lifetime before I finally am okay with myself, but it’s these little eye opening moments that really move me along the fastest. To me, that’s all that matters.

Now You

So, now I ask you, my friends: What helped open your eyes when it comes to your own body-love?

P.S. My picture from my photo shoot with Loghry Photography is now being used as advertisement on Vamps Dance courses page! I feel so famous! Check them both out. They can change your world in so many ways.

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