Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Healing the Belly

About a year ago my boyfriend said at dinner: "I have two things to tell you. One, I love you. And two, I want you to lose weight! Is it just that you don't know, you don't care? Is it just that you can't stop eating? Do you binge eat? Do you KNOW how you look?"

You'd think at 46 I would have developed enough self-esteem to get up and leave. I had put on, in 5 years, around 15 pounds. Not 60 pounds or 30 pounds, but 15 pounds.

I stayed around for another miserable year of locking horns, of his sly comments about how much butter I was allowed to eat and if I "got outside" that day. Finally, I bailed. The night I broke up with him I was going through a closet and found my zills. I held them and wept, remembering a time when I didn't obsess over every calorie and every mile.

I took off all my clothes, put on my silver belt and tightened the zills on my fingers and thumbs. I stuck my belly out. WAY out.

I danced through the house and felt it all come back, felt all the pain releasing, ebbing from my belly in an invisible wave. I felt the joy in my body, the pure innocent joy of being alive, returning.

Margaret Cho remarked in her latest DVD that belly dancing is a perfect way to heal from food disorders and body dysmorphia.

I agree with her. I believe the physical act of celebrating the belly and hips is incredibly affirming, and to free the belly frees the pain and the joy. We hold pain in the belly, especially when our bellies are disrespected. In the act of a simple hip circle, the belly opens and pain moves out. When the pain moves out, the memory of pure joy returns and the dance animates us with our birthright of self-celebration.

Thank you to everyone who dances, who talks about dance, who teaches dance, who loves dance.

You light the way for my journey back to ME.


Source: The Hip Circle

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