I always wanted to be a (fat) ballerina

Growing up I always used to envy ballerinas and gymnasts.  I used to fantasize about taking classes with a room of girls all lined up at a bar in front of that row of mirrors; flexing my arms and legs. Or, I used to dream about tumbling across a mat in front of judges and fellow gymnasts who would be happy for me as I landed a great combination.  The screeching-record moment in all of those idle fantasies, however, was my supposedly over-fat body.

Give up?  Giving IN more like...to finally allowing myself to do things I've never allowed myself to do before!

Give up? More like Give IN... to my lifelong desires! (Yes, yes I AM throwing an ax)

Now, I don’t recall any one particular moment, such as the one so heart-wrenchingly and beautifully described for StacyBias’ Fictional Monologue, (seriously, go read that and tell me that it doesn’t both break your heart and make it swell with fist-pumping hope!) but I knew, even at the young ages between 4 and 6, that I was looked upon as having a body unsuitable to the activities I dreamed of taking up and excelling in. Granted, I will allow that other large inhibitors were the high costs of such classes as well as the time involved, things that my single-mom was likely hard-pressed to even hope to meet even if I DID have the “right” sort of child-body.

It took me 20 years or so to finally set aside the mental barriers I had so dutifully formed which so instinctively told me that I was not the sort of person who could (be seen) dance(ing).  It may have taken some time but I can’t tell you how happy I have been to not only dance, but dance WELL and PROUDLY.  With a grin that oftentimes outshines that of dancers with bodies far more “Dancer Ideal”, I dance in beautiful costumes, at funky venues, with no shame.

That, to me, is something that Fat Acceptance has done for me.  It hasn’t made me “give up” on myself.  It has allowed me to “give up” on the feeling that I am never enough, that I can never deserve better, that I should never be seen doing something I love.  I may not be a ballerina or gymnast.  I’m certainly not the best belly dancer around.  But the joy I feel when I dance, when I dance KNOWING that I am seen and (even if not by all) appreciated, is so much better than the feelings of guilty shame I hid away behind for so long. I’ve learned to stop making qualifiers based upon assumptions that I “should not” (be visible, be happy, be me).

Something inspiring me right now as I get ready to settle into bed tonight (thanks to Old Time Fatties):


2 thoughts on “I always wanted to be a (fat) ballerina

  1. I always wanted to do ballet or gymnastics too. Gymnastics wasn’t an option as we live in a rural area and if wasn’t offered anywhere within a several hour radius of where we lived. There was however ballet classes in the town 15-20 mins from where we lived. My mother refused to allow me to participate. The reason given was that it was too far to drive each week. Now I wonder if it was more about cost or maybe even because my mother was scared I would get bullied more (I was already bullied at school) because I was bigger (taller and more solid but not actually fat) than the other little girls. I wish Mum was still alive for me to ask her about it…

  2. Thanks for sharing this. Yep-I recall many activities and things I wanted but was never sure if it was about cash or my body type. Can’ tell you how happy I was to buy my first pair of rhumba panties last year (you can’t wear ruffles as a fat little girl).
    Sure feels good to just do it.
    I really love your link. So so many inspiring fatties over time. I love June Richmond. My sweet old uncle took me to see Nell Carter in the original Ain’t Misbehavin’ show-man, she was the dancin’ist fat lady ever. Even when she was in the movie Hair she rocked everyone else. Love it.
    Also interesting to see independent happy fats in early silent films. Plenty of em! If ever you get a chance to see Edison Films from the Library of Congress, check out “The Kiss” and “Laughing Gas”.
    Oh- and the knife throwing looks like fun! Love the action shot.

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