I returned to the ballet barre today after 17 years.
My hour at the barre was an intense time machine journey linking my fearful, perfection-questing, 13-year-old self with my 30-year-old, wise, pleasure-seeking, mind-body-spirit connecting self.
It was a healing, physical experience along with a powerfully emotional one, too.
I would experience myself looking away from the mirror and “checking out” of my body in shame and then deliberately tuning back into how the movement actually felt the next. Therein lied the feeling of that moment: In my body.
I would feel my body brace for impact fully expecting the teacher to “correct” me or tell me how I was doing something wrong out of pure body memory and habitual behavior brought alive by my feet arriving in an achy and tight fifth position.
The teacher was everything opposite of what I’ve knowing ballet teachers to be. She was grounded, loving, connected and reminded us right from the top of the class that ballet was a true mind-body practice. What a gift.
The most overwhelming experience was a tug of war between honoring my hips, butt and pelvis for all they’ve been through and judging them furiously for being so immobile, tight and painful. The pure fact that I reached for compassion instead of deep self-hate speaks volumes to my healing journey and where I’ve grown in to as a woman owning the experience of truly living inside her body.
I felt myself working together with my awoken, sensual, female body and animal. Giving her structural alignment out of love and protection of her wellbeing rather than the desire to look “perfect” in the mirror.
It’s still challenging not to compare myself to the other women in class. And yet, I had a moment of realizing how immersed in their own experiences of themselves they were. We’re funny that way, aren’t we? We spend so much time and precious energy on how we look to other people when we’re all wrapped up in our own experience of ourselves to give a shit about how the other woman’s shirt is stuck in her pants the wrong way or how her belly is slightly protruding over her shorts. Come on. It’s all so silly.
Which brings me full circle back to my quest to feel good while playing in the world with my body. What else is there? Will we lie on our death bed wishing we would’ve had a perfect turnout in fifth position that one time in dance class at age 30 in San Diego? Or will we remember how moved we were by our own body dancing in a way that exquisitely matched the rhythm of the music and how amazingly light on our feet we FELT in that moment?
If we don’t choose how we want to feel now, we’ll miss it. Completely. And then it’s gone.
I choose these moments in all their imperfection, discomfort and bliss.
I know my body has journeyed me through some tough waters. And now, it’s my honor to gift her in the way she desires to move.
She is sacred.
She is wild.
She is love.
I choose her…my sacred, wild, lovely, sexy, voluptuous, curvy, ballet body.