I like to move it: shimmy style!

Cane Dance in Red Cabaret Belly Dance Costume

Just one more reminder that your body should not inhibit your dreams

I never dreamed that the woman who used to declare disdainfully to her mother upon seeing anyone fatter than herself “Guh! If I ever get like THAT, just shoot me” would one day not only BE that fatter woman, but would also be much happier and more fulfilled than she ever had before.

I just performed two weekends ago at a nursing home with many other lovely belly dancers in an hour-long show up in Nashua, New Hampshire.

It was a LOT of fun, a lot of activity, lots of sweating and a great time overall. And it is something I would NEVER have felt comfortable doing just 5 years ago when I was so much thinner, so much flatter of tummy and so much smaller of hip.  Yet here I am.  Dancing, belly exposed, smiling gleefully, living for all I’m worth (which is quite a lot I’ve come to find).  It is amazing the changes that can come from years of leaving aside the self-loathing and taking on a bit of a more loving attitude towards your own body.

I sported for the start of the show a very bright red and self-made cabaret costume, shown off to the left.

For those who are also into making their own costumes, the skirt is a dual layer thing with Silk Essence as a 2.5 circle under skirt and a sheer red, edged in gold sequin trim, as the 1.5 circle over top.  The belt and bra are self-creations.  The belt cut was out of plastic mesh, wrapped in felt and then the colored fabric and decorated.  The bra is the red fabric wrapped over a black Lane Bryant bra and decorated.  I still plan to laboriously attach strings of beads to the belt and bra but that is a slow process.

My other costume was a lovely pair of semi-sheer harem pants (with black bicycle shorts underneath!) with this same red top.  I wanted to keep the red belt too but forgot at the time!

Below is the very upbeat cane dance my dance instructor and I performed together:

Right now I have been holding steady at my highest life-weight ever for over a year or two considering how well my summer clothes have still been fitting, something that has not really ever been the case for me as a yo-yo dieter at any other point in my life.  The usual season-change in the past would bring the dreaded fear of “Oh man, what (if anything) is going to fit enough that I won’t have to scrounge up money to get something to fit my (likely larger but definitely differently sized from the year prior) body??

My weight is somewhere about 275-300 I’d guess since I haven’t looked at a scale in a long while but haven’t gained much according to my clothing since my last measurement at about 275. I find it wonderful, if a bit ironic, to think how much more confident I am in my own body NOW than I ever was when thinner and struggling to shrink even more.  Truly, such things as self-love and confidence are very much (a large percentage at least) in the mind and not the body.

So, my Monday note to you is to remember that your body is not what inhibits your ability to follow your dreams.  There are so many obstacles in life ready to snap at your heels while you pursue any goal; don’t let your body’s size or your feelings about it be yet one more! Go out and catch the tail of that glowing dream and hold on for all you’re worth.

What are YOUR dreams on this Monday?

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25 thoughts on “I like to move it: shimmy style!

  1. You are very beautiful & joyful, April. I am glad that you have come so far. I can use the example. I have been a fat activist since awhile before you were born, over 30 years, but I am now the fattest I have ever been, thanks to aging, menopause, & a rebound from my last bout of compulsive exercise, & also because of the aging & hormonal changes, my body has changed from an hourglass to an apple. It is work every day to accept, love, & celebrate this body. Most of the years of me calling myself ‘fat’ & being involved in fat acceptance, I was a very fit, shapely, “properly- proportioned” in-betweenie, between 170-185 on a nearly 5’6″. Now, with my changing shape & physical inability to any longer do 4 hours of exercise every day (I still walk 45-60 minutes per day &, because of my cerebral palsy & hyper disposition, am seldom still even when seated), I am about 215-220, & absolutely, indisputably FAT. It is a process & at times a difficult one to see the beauty in the nearly 61-year-old, disabled apple-shaped me, but the beauty is there.

    • Patsy the beauty is indeed there, inside and out! And it is encouraging (to me at least) to know that self-acceptance continues, even after 30 years, to be a process, and not an “endpoint” because that is already how it feels now…

  2. That put a big fat smile on my face. I thought you both performed it well and I especially liked your playfulness, energy and style. It’s great to seeing you move with grace and joy and reminds how rare it is to see all but the thinnest move that way.

    Again it makes me wonder just what that does to people’s idea of what their bodies can do.

    Thanks so much for posting it.

    • Wiggles I’m glad to encourage smiles! And I think you’ve hit on one of the main reasons I even started posting about what I do and think: If even one person sees what I post and thinks “Well if SHE can do it…why can’t I???” I consider it a huge success!! 😀

  3. OMG, you’re such a beautiful dancer! I really, really appreciated it.

    On the ‘highest (yet stable) weight for the past two years’ — I hear you, I’m right there with you.

    • Thank you bigliberty! ^.^ And for me having a stable weight (no matter WHICH end of the spectrum) is such a novel concept for me that I’m still wondering when I’m going to try on a pair of pants/shorts and have them “fail”! Very novel. And enjoyable!

  4. I loved your performance–thanks for sharing! I used to do bellydance, but now live in a place without any teachers. Your performance makes me think I should pick it up again anyway!

    • Jackie you should totally pick it up again! I know that my teacher just signed on to begin teaching at a local school in addition to her own studio so maybe check some of your local area dance schools to see if they are entertaining ideas of adding belly dance. I’m sure more support would make them even more inclined to do so! 😀 Good luck!!

  5. I hope this isn’t too weird as comments go, but..

    Your tummy is just like my tummy! And you look AMAZING. So maybe my tummy can be ok too 🙂

    The video of you dancing is fantastic, you dance so well!

    • Thank you incurable hippie! And since I could never really find tummies out there that look like mine I am so glad to have a tummy-twin so that isn’t weird as a comment. Also: yes! Your tummy and mine can both be amazing. Thanks for the compliment on my dancing as well ^.^

  6. Lovely cane dance, April, you make it look so effortless! I am also a fat belly dancer and would love to “trade notes” with you about costumes, sourcing, etc. If you send me your email, I’ll send you the link to my latest performance with my troupe. Hugs and Shimmies! “ZaLisa”

  7. You look stunning. I am so proud of you!

    My dreams are to get my novel finished and ultimately published (the agent is awaiting the manuscript) and to get into a PhD program and get my PhD (the application is in the process of being assessed).

  8. Wow, so weird.. I just stumbled on your blog from the comments at sociological images, and in turn this entry, having just an hour ago posted a blog at my own site about how much I missed belly dancing.

    Strange coincendence.

  9. I love what you said about the yo-yo dieting and not having to worry about what’s going to fit this season, as I went through that this summer. I think the most important thing is to get into your own life, however and whatever that means to you. Society has fat people so scared about being judged that many people won’t attempt to do something that really exposes their body. But doing what you love makes all the difference.

    • Trenia I agree; doing what you love makes a world of difference in a person’s confidence and ability to shut out the damning messages all around that declare we are never good enough, thin enough, perfect enough to deserve to shout out and be proud!

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