Tuesday, 28 February 2017

It's Not How You Look, It's How You Feel (Part 2)

A woman dancing in the daylight, among bushes

As I discussed in It's Not How You Look, It's How You Feel (Part 1), I'm finally back to a place where I love my body and how I look. But I ended the post saying that there's a level of body-confidence I've never reached; when it comes to my body being "on show".

By "on show" I don't mean stripping down, necessarily. That's a part of it, but it's not so much about being exposed, but about being seen. I was bullied at school, and would try to remain invisible, so perhaps it's become a habit I've yet to break. But I don't like being noticed, and I especially don't like my body being noticed. I know that sounds odd considering I am happy with how I look, and for the most part, I don't really care what other people think; their negative remarks and criticisms hurt me, but I'm happy, and I know what they think doesn't matter. But that doesn't change the fact that I don't like being judged, or my body being under scrutiny. And it's something that I only fully realised recently.

Last week, Grace of Almost Amazing Grace posted Body Love: Listening and Learning. In this really awesome post, among many things, Grace talks about the #donthatetheshake body positivity videos people are posting on Instagram, where people of all shapes and sizes video themselves dancing, and Grace shares her own. I watched her video in awe, not just because she's a great dancer, but because she was brave - confident - enough to video herself dancing and share it with the world. As I watched, I thought, "I could never do that," and immediately felt a little upset. This isn't just dancing, this is dancing with a purpose, to show people you love your body, "flaws" and all, and to spread the body positivity message. It's the showing people part I have an issue with.

At every party and wedding I go to, I will be up there on the dance floor dancing my heart out - but not until I'm drunk enough not to care that people can see me. I know logically that people aren't watching me dance, they're too busy enjoying their own night. Or, even if they are, they're not doing so to judge me, but to enjoy seeing someone enjoying themselves, like I myself do occasionally. I like seeing people up on the dance floor, relaxed and letting go, and just having a whale of the time. It really makes me smile. I'm not judging anyone on their moves or their body, I'm just happy to see the people I love having fun. This is probably what other people are doing, too, if they are watching me. Even though I know all this, when I'm sober, I simply can't dance. I've tried, but I get so very self-conscious, very wooden, and so uncomfortable. I want to be anywhere but on that dance floor, and it's obvious. I do love dancing, though, so now, knowing I don't feel comfortable dancing until I'm drunk, I'll have a shot of tequila with my first drink, to get tipsy pretty quickly. But it bothers me. I don't want to have to be drunk to dance and enjoy myself. I want to be confident enough to just go for it.

And it's not even about being judged for my dancing; without intending to sound too arrogant, I think I'm an alright mover - I've got rhythm. But I know that doesn't matter. I've been at a party before, and there was a woman dancing, and it was like she was dancing to a different song to the one that was playing, as she wasn't moving at all in time with the music. But it didn't matter. She was up their going for it and having a wonderful time! And I was just so in awe of her; she wasn't a great dancer, but she didn't seem to care if she was or not, she was just happy in that moment. As I was thinking about writing both parts of this post, and thinking about that lady dancing and how happy she was, I thought, "It's not about how you look, it's about how you feel." And that thought, it stopped me in my tracks.

It's not about how you look, it's about how you feel.

Well, I feel good about my body. I really, genuinely do. There was a part of me, when watching Grace's video, that thought, "I'd love to do that. I'd love to have that confidence." And again, when I read Kathy of I am Kathy B's incredibly beautiful and moving post This Body and saw the absolutely gorgeous photos of her in her bikini, I thought, "I'd love to be able to do that!" Even though the thought of being in such a state of undress on my blog fills me with dread. (Though I can sit by a pool - in public - in a bikini? Where is the logic? Though saying that, I've not worn a bikini since putting on weight, so I might not feel so happy about doing that now.) Because it's all about celebrating your body. For Grace and Kathy, it wasn't about how they look, it was all about how they felt, how they felt about the bodies they have and how they love them.

I don't think it's enough to just love your body - though I know that alone can be pretty difficult. You've got to celebrate it, too, I think. I've got to celebrate my body, too. I want to shake off my self-consciousness and start celebrating. I want to feel confident enough to film a #donthatetheshake video and/or post photos of me in a bikini online. Of course, neither of these things are a requirement to celebrating your body. It would be enough for me to just dance - with abandon, in public, having an incredible time - without a drop of alcohol in my system. I want to get there. I want that body-confidence. And I want to celebrate getting there. So I'm going to do the work; I'm going to look at why I'm so self-conscious, and try to change it. "It's not how you look, it's how you feel," is going to become my mantra. And when I'm there, once I've reached that place where I'm able to celebrate my body without a care, maybe then you'll see a #donthatetheshake video. Or some bikini photos. Or whatever else I feel is appropriate to show you guys that I'm there, that I made it, and be seen by you guys.

Keep your fingers crossed that I get there, please?

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1 comment:

  1. I've got my fingers firmly crossed for you, my love! I know you can get there <3

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