I have been a dancer my entire life. When I mean my entire life I literally am almost 100% certain I was dancing in my mothers’ womb. I was always dancing growing up. The amount of pictures I have of my five-year old self in sparkly costumes with my big belly hanging out of it is crazy. I loved those costumes. I never even had a thought about how I looked it them. I felt like a star each time I put them on. I was a tiny little girl with a huge belly. Looking back I see that now, but when I was that age, I thought I was a princess.
I am not sure when my perspective changed about my body but somehow it did, drastically. All through grade school and into high school, I have always been so insecure about my body. At dance competitions watching the long-legged, tall, skinny, beautiful dancers on stage made me feel like a chipmunk. A little, chubby, animal that runs and hides. I have always wished I did not have boobs, that I had a six-pack, that I had a thigh gap and perfect cheek bones. I mean I am growing up in a society that shows girls in magazines, on tv shows, in movies, who look like beauty queens. What other ways would I think a “pretty” girl looks? I always hated going to the beach or public pools in the summer. I hated taking pictures in bikinis or in dance clothes. When I would wear a shirt that was tight, I would sit with my arms crossed at my stomach so no one could see the tiny, little rolls that form from the top of my pants. The amount of times I have asked my friends or my mom, “Do I look fat in this?”, is utterly insane. I have never thought any boy would ever like me or see me as a “pretty” girl. I thought only the girls who looked like the covergirls in magazines were who the boys wanted. This is what body dysmorphia looks like. You look in the mirror and see someone who makes you cringe. You sit and cry on the floor holding your skin and wondering why there is so much there.
Loving your body is one of the hardest things to do when you struggle with self-confidence. You hide under layers of baggy clothes to feel safe. I promise you, you are beautiful. No matter what age, size, shape, gender, color, you are a wonder. When you look at clouds do you see the bumps and curves in them and see them as ugly? I don’t. Clouds are beautiful and they are just like our human bodies. They have curves, they are every shape and size, they change. Think of yourself as a cloud. A beautiful, magical cloud that is made from this amazing earth. Love your body. Be proud. Next time you walk out of your room after getting ready, I want you to keep walking, in your curves and lines, in your cloud. Your body is one thing that makes you, you. Be a cloud and the sun will come shine through you, just like it does on beautiful days. “I am proud of my body.”