image via love-your-body.org
Saturday's rehearsal for DLDT was interesting. When we got there we were told to pick out two costumes for our upcoming performance. There were at least fifty different dresses, tops, and skirts laid out on the floor. In a company where we are all different shapes and sizes we excitedly tried on the clothes like six year old girls playing dress up. We had to choose our favorite two ensembles to model before the directors to get their approval. I choose a red dress and a black dress. The red dress was clingy in a "show off your curves way" but I liked it because I have no curves and it made me feel a bit more feminine than I usually do. I asked the directors if they liked it. The response? "Oh, but you're belly... Wear something else."
Okay, I know I don't have a perfect body. Even at my skinniest size zero when my ballet teacher told me to stop losing weight I still did not have a completely flat stomach. But there probably could have been a more tactful response from the director. Especially when we're in an environment where we stare at our bodies in mirrors all day long and are constantly criticizing everything we see and don't see. I've struggled with my body since I can remember. It's getting better but instances like these propel me to think the most negative thoughts and do irrational things. For instance, my first thought after hearing the director's comment was to start doing sit ups and skip dinner. I probably would have if Chris and I weren't going to some friends house for dinner that night. But as soon rehearsal was over I hopped on the treadmill for almost an hour thinking about that comment.
People, there has got to be a better way. Careless comments can wreck havoc on even the most level headed person. On the flip side, let's do something healthier when faced with such criticism. Instead of damaging our bodies and spirit so that we fit an ambiguous ideal, let's embrace what we have. So, in defense against all criticism and negativity I declare this week Dancing Branflakes Love Our Bodies Week. It's a reminder for all of us to love our bodies and to be more aware of the comments we make to others, no matter our profession or life story. When faced with an opportunity to put down our thighs, hips, arms, ears, necks, wrists, or ankles how about we compliment instead of criticize? Instead of commenting on people's weight, ear shape, eating habits, etc. let's only recognize the traits that matter in life.
In honor of Dancing Branflakes Love Our Bodies Week I pledge to banish negative thoughts with positive ones. Instead of criticizing my body I will choose to compliment it. I will think twice before I call someone skinny or a health nut and focus on what really makes them beautiful and special.
Will you participate? If so, you might prevent yourself or someone else from thinking about dieting, elective surgery, or wanting a different self. That might seem drastic, but it's often careless comments that put people over the edge and into a world of self doubt and self consciousness. And if you do struggle with your body maybe you can take this as an opportunity to love your self a little more. It's Love Month. Why not?