Thursday, October 04, 2007
In one of my SP teams, someone posted a link to a marvelous article entitled "Being fat sucks!"
After reading the article, I posted the following reply:
It is a good read, but I don't feel like being fat sucks. What sucks to me are low self esteem, zero self love, and society's insistence that everyone with enough work can fit into some sort of cookie cutter mold.
I grew up thin. In my early twenties I gained a lot of weight, in spite of eating like a bird and running around at a day care center and working a second job at Wal-mart. I hated myself because I didn't have boobs, I had stringy thin hair, and glasses. I was ugly and stupid, in my opinion (things I picked up as a kid in an abusive home).
My weight was around 180 at one point when I was 27. I decided to get healthy so I'd be able to like myself. I was my own personal trainer and I did really well monitoring what I ate (a healthy array of all the food groups in moderation), I exercised at least 90 minutes a day, 6 days a week. I was 5 lbs. away from the upper end of what the BMI said I should weigh, 135 lbs. And then...disaster. I got a really nasty spasm in my shoulder one day. It never went away. I couldn't exercise. The doctors couldn't find anything wrong. I started feeling guilty. And then came the binging. My mom was anorexic and bulimic. I figured eating was fine as long as you didn't purge. Six months and 100LBS later, I woke up. I call it my coma. I really don't remember much of anything but guilt, loathing, shame, failure, depression, and hate.
I stumbled on a size acceptance group on Yahoo one day and I joined that group. I suspect that group saved my life. I learned to change my way of thinking. I learned that acceptance of who I am right now is absolutely essential to self love... something I never had, even when I was thin. I learned that my real friends love me as I love them, for who they are, for their actions, their minds, their spirits...and that I was worthy of their love. Eventually, I embraced my fat. Being fat isn't the end of the world. Know what? The binging stopped. And slowly, as I learn to treasure and love myself for who I am right now, with all the fat, the aches and pains, the ups and downs of life, I begin to take better care of my body and soul and I live more passionately... because a person who loves themselves nurtures their body, every inch of it inside and out to the best of their ability. I'm starting to exercise a lot more regularly since joining Spark. A little weight has come off, but not much, but that's okay with me because for me it's about learning to love and nurture myself better, whether I'm fat, thin, or somewhere in between.
I'll say it again and again, losing weight doesn't matter to me. Learning to love myself is the journey, and the biggest battle.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Those that know me know that I bounce. Why do I bounce? Well that's a good question.
I haven't always been bouncey. I don't even jump rope very well. I virtually never bounced as a kid; not that I can recall, anyhow. I didn't bounce when I was with Kim, although I was in a euphoric state most of the time with him. Bouncing didn't come around til after he died. As near as I can tell, I started bouncing a little less than a year after Kim died and after I had started getting involved in the local leather community. In fact, a few people might even remember a time when I was brand new to the local groups when I didn't bounce...if they think hard enough; I know I've had to think about it!
I look at bouncing as a very spiritual aspect of me. Some people sing, some dance, some preach their love of God. I bounce. It seems to start somewhere deep in the earth...some sort of energy burst that enters my feet and then jets through me until I need to bounce. It's a reflection of my joy with life...it's a form of communion with the universe and everything that has formed me into who I am. For the brief moment when my feet don't touch the ground, I am embraced by the universe and all that created me. It's a euphoric, wonderful feeling that that combines spirituality and worship with natural movement, pleasure, and even my sexuality. Yes, for me bouncing is almost orgasmic...maybe it is a bunch of mini orgasms...sometimes it feels that good. Usually I don't even think about it when I'm bouncing because it's so much more than an orgasm...it is part of joining the universe and embracing the very essence of life. Life is exuberance and joy and knowledge. Somehow simply bouncing reminds me about why I live and love and feel pain.
I notice every so often others will bounce with me. That's an amazing feeling...it's wonderful to feel the ecstatic movement of more than a solitary bounce. I always encourage bouncing. It seems like a childish action; happy kids bounce quite a bit. I love that kid energy and feeling the bounciness that kids take for granted...I don't think they realize what a beautiful, spiritual moment it is and how when they bounce the universe reverberates and answers with passion.
For me it's an integral part of the play process. When I'm playing, I'm having fun. When I'm having fun, I am grateful for the opportunity to feel pleasure, love, friendship-- a lot of the things I didn't feel very often as a kid. I feel joy and so I bounce. Bouncing brings people together and unites us as a community in a memorable event. We laugh and in our laughter we commune and let others see us as playful humans rather than "serious adults."
I tried to fight the nickname Bouncy, but it has stuck and it's obviously appropriate and infinitely more acceptable than Tigger (I'm not the feline sort of person). What's important is my friends have given me that nickname and who am I to object to something that describes a movement that is so fundamental to who I am in the universe?
There you have it. The Tao of Bounce by Laurie.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
So my Spark page is loaded with messages from gals who want to belly dance but they're afraid to do it. The number one reason why these gals don't dance is their weight. Weight?! Why are you letting a number on a scale dictate what you can or can't do?! It's a silly little number and it has nothing to do with desire, talent, or anything else that really matters.
Maybe you've gotten the courage to buy a belly dance video. Did you kind of try to hide it under a bunch of other things so the checker wouldn't do that eyeing you and then eyeing the video and then eyeing you and thinking they're thinking, "what's she thinking getting a video like that?! There's no way she can ever dance!"
I know I had those thoughts. I'm betting that I'm not alone there. You watch the videos and see how graceful and thin and how much fun these gals are having and you want to be a part of it...but you're afraid of rejection. I have news for you: if you go to any reputable dance studio you will not be rejected because of your size, lack of dance experience, or for any other reason.
Every time I get an e-mail I see something along the lines of "You look so beautiful in your costume. I wish I had your confidence." The fact is, confidence has very, very little to do with me getting on stage. It's more of a trust thing that has been being built up over the years. Confidence? ha! I force myself to bare the belly and I pretend I've been doing it my entire life and that I don't have any qualms showing off the fat and the stretch marks. Why do I put myself through it? Because the dance is worth it. The friendships I've made with the women in my troupe and the belly dance community at large are worth it. The things I've learned and the creative outlet it has given me are worth it. The tie to women from another period in history makes it worth it.
What do classes have that the videos can't convey? Oh so much! For one thing, it helps to have someone explain a move and to be able to see their body doing the move at every angle. Cameras have a tendency to wander away from the part you really need to see to do a move correctly. Friendship. You can find an amazing support system from others just starting to dance. You may be surprised to find that nearly every woman in your class has the same feelings of insecurity that you do...but the dance has called them and they needed to discover more. When you first enter the class you don't have to worry about how you look to others...they're too worried about how THEY look to notice you! That's also a nice thing to know for whenever you're going to a swimming pool. Go in there with your head held high and a big smile and fake that confidence and you'll be fine.
How do you find a belly dance class in the first place? If you're lucky enough to find a belly dance festival in your area you can ask one of the gals there. Otherwise, resort to Google. I usually put something like this in the search engine: Buhl, ID and belly dance. In case you're wondering, there's a terrific hot spring in Buhl, Idaho but I'm not sure if there's any belly dancing;)
So you find out that there's a dance studio nearby. You call the instructor and you find out what the fees are and when the beginning classes start. Now the big question is: What do I wear? The best outfit for starting are a leggings/stretch pants/harem pants/yoga pants...some sort of stretchy, loose pants. Pants are best because a lot of the hip movement comes from the legs so your instructor will probably want to see your legs. A tank top or crop top or t-shirt will work for your top. When I wear a regular t-shirt I usually use an elastic to tie up the extra fabric so I can see my belly. Showing your belly is useful, if not mandatory. Once again, your instructor might want to see your middle to make sure you are doing the moves the right way. A pair of ballet slippers or some sandals with a back should work for foot wear. Some gals don't have issues with being barefoot. I do. Beads and bells and coins fall off of hip scarves and costumes and they hurt if you step on them! A hip scarf is a great investment. Not only do they sound awesome and help you get in the spirit of dancing, but they also help you see your hips and help you do the moves correctly.
You might hear tribal or cabaret thrown around. This early on, you don't have to choose to be tribal or cabaret or something else. There are the same basic moves and you need to get the moves down before moving on to some of the more advanced stuff.
So what are you waiting for?! Join a class ASAP and quit letting your fears of being the biggest or clumsiest dancers in the class hold you back...you just might find out that you have the right stuff for dancing after all:D
Monday, June 11, 2007
This is for you! When I wrote it last year I needed to hear it and I know others need to hear it. Feel free to post this anywhere and everywhere. Send it on to every woman you know! I mean it, we all need to hear this one. So many of us are afraid to embrace who we are because we don't fit into some conventional mold of what size or shape we should be.
My Rights as a Woman at Any Size
I have the right to take up all the space my body needs.
I have the right to love and be loved.
I have the right to move freely and express myself in my own ways.
I have the right to feel sexy.
I have the right to feel beautiful.
I have the right to move with dignity and grace.
I have the right to be treated with dignity.
I have the right to love myself as I am NOW; not as I wish I was or as I was at another time in my life.
I have the right to feel successful and fulfilled in all aspects of my life.
I have the right to live joyfully and fully.
I have the right to be a goddess.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Last Thursday I took a really hard hit. I was looking forward to getting the skirt for my bellydance costume. It's pretty expensive-- $169. When I first agreed to get the skirt, I talked to Thia and she told me that she'd order mine and another gal's extra long. I have a huge butt and there's about six inches diffence between my back and front. If I have an ankle length dress, it'll look fine in the front, but it's nearly up to my knees in the back. My plan was to roll it up in the front since it wouldn't be seen under my belt. I gave Thia a scrap of the fabric for the bedlah I'm making and my measurements-- a piece of string for my hip measurement and my length measurement. She was off to Egypt.
Well, the skirts finally arrived and to my disappointment, none of the skirts were longer or wider than any of the others! To make matters worse, the shade for my skirt doesn't look like it'll work with the rest of my costume (the skirt is on layaway until I can finish paying it off tomorrow). A huge part of my disappointment is that I really didn't want to have to invest so much time in major alterations. As it stands, I'm going to have to take of the skirt's casing, attach a yoke and new casing. Lots of measuring and all that jazz...and it hooks together at the side... another problem I didn't want to deal with. I was also feeling like a fatter and bigger freak than usual. For once I'd just like something to fit without major alterations. I even cried in class. You bet I hate my body. You bet I want someone else's body...because even when I was smaller I didn't like my body. And yet, I know that somehow I need to learn to live with it and accept it if I'm ever going to start losing weight or at the very least be comfortable with who I am.
Friday I took a half day off to finish the work I had to do on the dress I was wearing that night to Craig's company holiday party. I bought the dress at Ross and I loved the way it fit and the beads around the neckline and around the thigh area. The problems I needed to fix were to add another hemline in the back and continuing the beading (which was only in the front) around the back. The second hem took a lot longer than I expected. The dress has two layers of fabric, something stretchy underneath and then the chiffon layer over that. I was adding the second hem to the inside layer...I wasn't messing with the beautiful chiffon hem! It took roughly 3 1/2 hours to get the hem to be acceptable and then another hour to finish the beading. The dress turned out beautifully.
The thing that has helped me out of the rut (at least mostly out of the rut) is that my troupe (at least a few of us) is doing a number for the dance school holiday party. We're doing Santa Baby. I took my velvet panne pants I wore for Halloween, chopped them up and made it into a sexy little Santa skirt, complete with maribou trim. It didn't take more than a couple hours to create the skirt and another couple handsewing the maribou trim. I don't feel particularly sexy in the costume (the matching top just needed the trim added), but it will work beautifully. I can fake feeling like a sexpot on stage.
People tell me to be grateful that I can at least make the adjustments I need to make myself, but what they don't understand is that I'm so tired of having to do it all myself all the time because I can't afford to pay someone to do it for me. And my philosophy is if I'm spending $100+ for some article of clothing it better fit pretty damn well.
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