I am no stranger to feeling badly about my body.
I have struggled with low self-esteem and eating disorders. I once believed that to be successful in dance I needed to be thin, and spent more than 10 years hating my body, wishing I could change it.
I thought I could diet and punish my way to the ¨perfect¨ ballet body. I thought I could use my self-hate to fuel my transformation.
Yesterday, I received THIS email:
…I have been struggling with my imperfect ballet body for quite some time now. To paint the picture for you, I am very muscular without any desire to be or without any added exercise other than full time dance… I’m completely lost with where I stand in relation to the types of workouts/ training, stretches and foods I should be eating to not gain this unnecessary muscle… although I have ‘muscle’ I am the weakest in my class! So I am writing to hopefully find a new approach on my far from perfect ballet body that I so desperately am willing to work for!
I was desperate, too… I completely understand this feeling of ¨imperfection¨, and the intense desire to change.
The word ¨perfect¨ is an interesting one.
Last week I attended Anatomy in Motion (for the third time this year), and something Gary Ward said about perfection blew my mind, and missed the next 20 minutes trying to put my brains back in place.
What he said: The history of the word ¨perfect¨ is that it actually come from the word¨complete¨.
And I was gone…
Your body is perfect.
Whether you feel that way about it, or not, your body is complete. Even if you are missing part of it, you´re still a complete human, a closed system.
What a beautiful thing to consider.
So this passionate lady who emailed me feeling utterly imperfect, what if instead of asking, ¨How can I change my imperfect body to become a better dancer?¨, she asked, ¨What if my body is perfect the way it is for dancing my best?¨
The first question will limit you. The second, if you can honestly contemplate it, will start to get you somewhere.