I grew up in a very rural small town, I am talking small as in the town just got its first stoplight fifteen or so years ago and still only has one. I had big dreams to move to the big city and when I lived there I was going to do so many things. One of those things being, take a belly dance class. I have lived in the “big city” now for ten years and I just barely started a belly dance class. I saw an ad that said we welcome all body types and skill levels and that was the invitation I needed. I enrolled and started taking classes.
I didn’t realize how hard it would be, not physically, but emotionally. See dance classrooms have mirrors all around, you can’t escape them and I can’t look at myself in the mirror, hardly ever, because I don’t want to look at my body. The first class was so hard. I was full of anxiety, the full-on sweat anxiety and I could hardly pay attention because I was trying to avoid looking at myself.
Well, it's near impossible not to look at yourself in the mirror and learn to dance. You have to look at your form and must present a dancers pose, with your head up, you know like you have confidence? I didn’t have it. I cried on the way home. I was terrified of going back.
The second, third, fourth class I took Anxiety Free (shameless plug because it’s my favorite product and not because I work for RidgeCrest) to even make it to class. But then something happened, the better I got at the dance the moves the easier it was to look at myself in the mirror and not just to see my form but to see me and my body moving. Though I still don’t love what I see, every time, I am learning to.
I don’t need Anxiety Free to go to class anymore and I am getting more confident at moving, at looking at myself in the mirror, at performing in front of others, though my stomach does flips when the instructor puts me on the spot. I have so much to learn still, but the confidence and empowerment I am learning from this class was quite unexpected and the experience has been very eye-opening. It has shown me not only dance, but it's helping me get over the fear of my body, of mirrors. It's pushing me to stop comparing my body to others, it’s helping me love myself even more.