I have to give a colossal thank you to the fitblr community.
Not just for being supportive, encouraging, and helpful every single time I log in, but also introducing me to so many different branches of fitness. In seven months I’ve learned to jump rope faster than I did as a kid, hula hoop, deadlift, bench press, run nine miles without stopping, walk for hours without even realizing, dance decently, and make it through a tabata workout without dying. Hell, I even learned the hard way that despite how graceful and pretty ballet looks, it will kick your ass ten ways ’til Sunday. Overall, it has been fun. I am gradually associating fitness with entertainment, and not punishment for being fat, and I owe all of that to the fitblr community.
However, the most important thing I’ve learned from the fitblr community is coming to terms with the feminine aspect of myself. I eventually realized that my own tendency to become uncomfortable with the female body proves how out of touch I am with my own feminine side.
The female body is beautiful. It is fascinating, it is flexible, and it is not something that should be hidden because of perverted men or insecure women. After all, the amazing things that the female body does compared to the male body should be celebrated and honored. And it should be fed clean food, and improved with challenging exercises rather than abused with junk. In short, I am learning that regardless of what I am called during and after my weight loss journey, I am none of those things. I do not deserve to get treated like a piece of meat because I have curves. I do not deserve to get bullied because I take care of myself. I don’t deserve any bad treatment for accepting who I am, or improving who I am…and no one has the right to damage my relationship with my own body. Nobody. That is the most important message that I get from the fitblr community on a daily basis, and it stays with me each time I log off.
One aspect of the fitblr community that embodies all of those lessons I’ve learned is belly dancing. Belly dancing, to me, celebrates the curves and strength of the female body. Unfortunately, not everyone sees it that way.
One of the first thing a belly dancer told me in that community was: “Belly dancers always get a bad and false reputation for being seductive, promiscuous, or using their body movements to get attention from men,” and I even saw a post where a girl said: “I want to be a bellydancer” and she tagged the post with tags like: “#bellydancing #sex #slut #boys #stripper”. I wish I was kidding, but it happened…and it offended me greatly. So, I can’t imagine how the professional and long-term bellydancers there must feel knowing that their hard work is just considered a means of getting sex from the opposite sex.
I guess it really hit home for me because the entire reason why I am uncomfortable with doing anything remotely “sexy” is because I dealt with a lot of grabbing, groping, bra snapping, and other inappropriate behavior for doing absolutely nothing but having curves. That was it. All I wore were screen tees and jeans, yet men believed they had the right to mistreat me because I had big hips, butt, and thighs, and women felt they had the right to bully me because I was “asking for it”. You know, because I handpicked my own genetics and said: “Let me choose big hips, butt, and thighs. Yeah, that’ll drive harassment-prone people crazy.”
Stupid shit like that.
Reading entries from the belly dancers there, and witnessing their “This is my body, and I refuse to be ashamed of it,” mentality really moved me. It’s really getting me out of that mentality that being sexy and being harassed goes hand-in-hand. Regardless of how attractive someone finds you, you do not deserve to be cat-called and groped. More than that, you should not give up the things you love about yourself to please those who hate you. Yes, even someone who grabs at you hates you because anyone who loves you would not violate you like that.
And that’s really what belly dancing is about: knowing, appreciating, and loving your own body. It is a very body positive thing to get into. So, it is something I enjoy. Trust me, you will feel silly at first. I felt really silly at first because I had to shake things I am definitely not used to shaking on a daily basis, but I eventually learned that having something to shake is a plus in belly dancing. The more curves you have, the better the moves turn out. So, I am far from being ashamed of my hips, thighs, and butt because they are considered an advantage for a change.
In short, I am really “geeking out” about this, and I am super thankful for all of the talented belly dancers who guided me so far. From the moment I said: “Where do I start?” I was taught about different moves, how to train, and even the fun of making my own belly dancing costumes. As it turns out, dressing up is a really big thing in belly dancing. I would love to make my own belly dancing costumes one day just for the fun of it. All those silks and bangles and necklaces and the big earrings and makeup…yeah…you definitely get in touch with your feminine side doing this. XDD
Of course, my first concern was: “How am I going to be a hunter/ranger, and belly dancer at the same time?” and someone replied with: “Hello! Xena!” and I immediately gasped. I completely forgot Xena was a belly dancer, and she belly danced plenty come to think of it. It’s probably because of all that belly dancing that she is so flexible and can do such amazing things with her core.
How about that? It all works out!
Either way, I am starting small. I am still a beginner after all. I did an hour of belly dancing yesterday with the belly dance twins (awesome DVDs BTW), and I am still hurting…so I am very far from doing stuff like making my own routine as well as picking my own music to dance to and things like that. But even the beginner level is so fun. All that hand-eye and foot-eye coordination training helps with a lot of things. So, I’m pretty excited.
…Well, I don’t know what else to say.
I guess I am glad that I am beginning my 25th year on earth by becoming in touch with my feminine side, but I know that I have a long way before I am picking up makeup and wearing mini-skirts. I have a lot of mental hurdles to overcome. That is why I am so grateful to be in such a supportive community as I take that long walk from tomboy to…whatever you call a feminine woman. Just woman, I guess. LOL. Don’t get me wrong. I am always going to play video games, take martial arts, buy screen teas with jeans, and other things considered “tomboyish”, but I’d just like to not be so afraid of the feminine aspects of myself…because it feels like running away from the things that intimidate me.
Being a woman is very hard in this society, but that doesn’t mean I should just settle for behaving like a man or doing things that won’t get a reaction out of men and women alike. I have to try different things, find what connects with me, and embrace them. And that’s what this is all about: embracing all of who I am, even the parts of me I haven’t learned about yet.
…That’s pretty much it. I suck at writing about these type of things, so I apologize for how weird it all sounds.
That’s enough introspection about belly dancing. It’s time for me to start working on actual belly dancing. >_<
Wish me luck. 😄
Take care everyone~!