07 February 2010

belly up!

A few years ago, a dear friend here in Starkville was telling me about a belly~dancing class she was taking at the Wellness Connection Center {which is affiliated with our local hospital, so the staff there are absolutely incredible, but that's another entry}. I was super surprised because my dear friend is very shy about her body and will do absolutely everything to deflect attention from her form. But as I listened to what she had to say, I realized that I really did not know all that much about belly dancing.

So I googled it. Cuz that's what I do, google things and wiki them, cuz the internetz would never steer me wrong, right? Right?!?

And I found this wonderful site: Shira. Then this and that and the other thing and before long I'd forgotten all about belly~dancing cuz that tends to happen as life rolls on, I forget things. That's one of the reasons I would mark sites with StumbleUpon and Delicious, but then it got to where I was forgetting to do that too, and also to look at them {and that too is another entry's material}. Then certain things trigger other things and I go, "oh yeah! i thought about that before" and then it all comes back {or most of it. I think. I hope.}.

Fast forward to last spring, at the MoonDance Fest over in Georgia where there was a group of folks who taught a few sessions of belly~dancing. Neither Jerry nor I went, because we both were attending other sessions at the times those were offered. But we did have a chance to see the belly~dancers in all their glory during the fire~side drumming every night.

That particular group of individuals was fairly diverse for such a small gathering. There were both male and female, some slender and some a bit more athletic in form. But the ones that really captured my attention were the heavier females who seemed to feel so very comfortable with their bodies. They found the flow of movements to match their own core as well as the beat. Some dancers embodied very slow measured movements that were very precise. Some used their limbs moreso, some focused on their hips to exclusion, some were solemn, and some were so very effusive that to just watch them seemed to draw me in and cheer them along.

Later, I visited some friends in B'ham, and I took them to an Indian restaurant, where there were belly~dancers. The small group of five women danced thru the crowd up to the stage where they used scarves, swords, sticks, and other props. There too was a nice representation of various body types, ranging from slender, to athletic, on to heavy. Also, there was a range of ages present, a young woman just into her twenties, an older woman who later I found out was in her late seventies {I estimated fifties}, with the other three appearing to be in their late thirties or early forties {tho I may have been wrong on that too}.

Then over the Holidays, I visited with my folks and a young lady they are friends with had recently learned some belly~dancing. With some prompting from her husband and encouragement from my folks, she talked about it, and then warmed up and chatted some with me with a bit of enthusiasm. To start with, she was afraid it wasn't gonna be for her, altho a friend of hers had been taking classes for over a year. But she attended a few, and then learned that many of her preconceived notions were not entirely correct.

In fact, I just received the DVD taken of a show that she had been in back in November. The town is smaller and a bit more conservative than Starkville, so we aren't speaking about a liberal left audience of tolerance and acceptance here. We're speaking of a group of supportive folks who cheered on their loved ones and neighbors, seven women of various skill level, who preferred various forms of belly~dancing, and realistic body types {five of the seven appeared to be over the ideal weight range}.

The show had been in the local school's auditorium and featured a range of performances that included story~lines, solos, entire group, pop music, more traditional Indian meditations, a wide range of costumes and props, and styles of dance. It was about an hour and a half long and a pleasure to watch. It was great to see that two or three of the women started off a routine a bit shy and self~cautious become more comfortable with and self~assured as they felt the music and the flow of movements in a more conscious display of confidence and joy.

I used to love to dance. In fact, that was the attraction of turning 21, not the drinking, but being able to visit bars where the dancing was. In my small town, there was no other place to dance besides your living room or a bar.

I continued to dance thru~out my twenties into my early thirties. Then I petered out. In fact, at my own wedding, my stamina was so poor, that I got winded after two songs. That was pathetic!

In the past year, I've gained close to forty pounds. And with each pound, I've noticed myself becoming more still, less active, more withdrawn in some ways. And I realized as I was watching the DVD earlier that I wouldn't allow myself to move, even with the catchier tunes, because I was being self~cautious and aware that I was chiding myself that I would be foolish.

Well, shit on that. Foolish in whose eyes, exactly? Isn't it foolish that I continue to gain weight and feel more unattractive and dowdy and not allow my own husband enjoy me? Isn't it more foolish that I'm denying myself the very things that would help me to lose weight and to feel more attractive and comfortable with myself and my own body? Movement!

So I'm gonna see if some movement wouldn't help me to feel more energetic, less worn out, and see where it takes me. I miss the more fun part of me, that loved to move and dance and breathe and be present and alive. Let's see if I can't find and coax my self out of hiding beneath layers and layers of fat and shame.

Cuz I don't need to wait til I'm slender to move.


  1. You go Baby! I'll be there - whatever you decide to do!

  2. At least it's not that exercise via slutty pole dancing craze that was in the new a year ago. I don't think we need more amateur strippers, but what do I know>


  3. Speak for Yaself toon

    I love the thought of layers of fat and shame...I shall ponder this while eating another donut .
    Go for the Belly dancing it could be a right laugh :-)


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