From a very early age, I struggled with body confidence. As far back as I can remember, the more weight I gained, the more I hated my body. I couldn’t even look at my body in the mirror without grasping negative terms that was harmful and hurtful.
A few years ago, my friend invited me to a belly dancing hafla. We dressed up as Indians (totally missed the mark as a hafla is an Arabic women’s only party, ha ha ha) and sat in anticipation for the dancers to brace the stage. I actually had no clue what to expect, and thought it would be the usual “skinny” sized women I was used to seeing. Out came two fully figured women, they had belly rolls yet they danced so graciously. I could not keep my eyes off these beautiful women, all different shapes and sizes. They had no body sharm nor did they lack confidence, you could see how beautifully they exuded confidence and a strong sense of community. I wanted to be part of it.
I then joined the belly dancing school and it changed my entire relationship with my body. Funny enough, no-one teaches you self-love in the class, but through movement, looking at yourself in the mirror, acing the dance moves and dancing in front of many (sometimes thousands) of people with strength marks, body scars and cellulite, you learn to fall in love with yourself again. Immediately after joining classes my posture changed. Thereafter I stopped using words that were hurtful towards my body. I used languages of love and empowerment; I embraced all of me, the parts I loved and the parts I wasn’t that crazy about. Although I’m not part of a school at the moment, I still dance for at least 15 minutes each day in front of the mirror. Something magical happens when I put on that belly dancing belt.
My body weight has flaunted over the last few years but my body confidence has not. I’m not sure if it’s the coming of age but I’ve learnt to let go of the things I cannot change. I cannot remove the cellulite, but I can make healthier choices that will nourish my body. I can’t change my shape, but I can love my curvy body shape. I am comfortable in my skin and I love my curves! It has taken many years of tears, sweat and daily affirmations/mantras to get where I am today. Nevertheless, I am proud of how far I’ve come and look forward to the journey ahead. We’ve only just began!
Love and light,