I have been whining for literally years about how much I loathe to dance. I have never felt comfortable — I’m super awkward and many of my friends who shall remain nameless felt it best to point out early and often that my natural rhythm was lacking — and therefore rarely enjoy myself. In the past couple of years, I have complained that apparently no one listens to me/cares that I detest hitting the dance floor. (Okay, so maybe the issue is more that they hear me, but don’t want to cater to my every wish…) And in the last few months, going dancing has become a more and more popular activity amongst my social set. And I have become more and more cranky and withdrawn.
A couple of weeks ago when discussing weekend plans for a big girls night, Miss H suggested we hit up the local line-dancing saloon. (I feel like it is somehow significant that this conversation took place at the gym…) I rolled my eyes. She then suggested trying out a new bar/dance club. I told her she was killing me. She didn’t seem amused. At all. And she removed herself from the conversation. This was probably the millionth time she’s suggested we go dance and I have responded by throwing a tantrum about it so I understood why she seemed fed up with my piss-poor attitude. The part that was harder for me was that she didn’t seem to care that I didn’t want to go dancing. No one ever does. And then I realized something. She had absolutely no idea why I disliked it so much and maybe for a while I didn’t either, but it came to me that day. Like a ton of bricks.
I sent her the following via text message (because I am non-confrontational like that):
“I’m sorry for being a brat about the dancing thing. Here’s how I feel: I’ve never been a big dancer. Add to that that I am the biggest I’ve ever been and feel the worst about my appearance than I ever have before. It’s hard for me to get out there when I feel fat and sweaty and uncoordinated. Plus _____ and ______ have always made fun of me about my dancing that makes it harder too. That all being said, those are my issues that I am trying to work on and I shouldn’t be rude to you about it.”
Then I went to my car and cried because I finally realized that I don’t like to dance because I am fat. I have never (that I can remember anyway) cried about my weight. I’ve felt dejected, despondent and disgusting, but I’ve never cried before. I’m not sure what that means exactly. Maybe I should have cried sooner? Maybe I should be proud of myself for not crying? Who knows. All I know is that it made me cry that day. It was the first time in my life that I truly admitted to myself and definitely the first time I admitted to anyone else that being overweight prohibited me from participating in something. I don’t know if I would like dancing any more if I weighed less, but I am pretty sure that the fact that I feel like a sweaty beast (not in a good way at all) when I dance has a lot to do with how I look and how I think other people are looking at me. (I know that no one cares or really thinks twice about me dancing but these are the things I think about.)
Being overweight may hold me back from other things that I haven’t really admitted yet too. Maybe I am less confident in the courtroom than I would be otherwise. Maybe I avoid making eye contact with attractive people. Maybe I walk with my head cast down a little. I’m really not sure how else I have let my weight interfere subtly and not-so-subtly with my daily life. And I’m not sure I am emotionally prepared to find out.
But here’s what I do know: The day I admitted that I don’t like to dance because I am fat is the day I owned how I felt about something that I have been trying to ignore for 10 years. It felt monumental. And scary. And really important.
Where my body is right now does not define me as a person. And I don’t want it to define what I do or how I live my life. I’m not saying that I am resigned to being overweight forever. I’m definitely not. I want to be the healthy person on the outside that I think I am on the inside. I’ve been working hard and eating well and losing weight – slowly but surely – for the past two months. And I am learning about myself and who I have become and who I am becoming and who I want to continue to evolve into. And that matters so much more than what I look like when I dance.
Editor’s Note: To all of my wonderfully, fabulously supportive friends and followers – Don’t freak out. My mental health and well-being are sound. I am not coming from a place of self-loathing. I am coming from a really strange place of empowerment and ownership. Please try to understand and respect that in any comments/feedback you send my way. Loves you always.