I remember going to the Lakewood Center for the Arts at the tender age of 8, maybe it was 7, for ballet classes. It was a love/hate relationship. I wanted to feel pretty. I wanted to have ballet slippers - the kind with the pink satin ribbon that would wrap around your ankle and up your calf, criss-crossing until tied off in a quick knot. But I distinctly remember not liking the teacher. Or the fact that every other week someone new joined the class and we seemed to start all over again. I was already keenly aware that I was big. Too big. And not graceful. I was already self-conscious and wanting to hide. My mother had made a deal with me that if I stayed in the class for a month (or was it three?), then she would open a savings account in my name and put $10 dollars in it for me. That seemed like a fortune and I patiently served my time in ballet class and the moment my sentence was up, I quit the class.
The ironic thing is, thirty-ish years later, I've gone back to dance and ballet class. I'm still not graceful. I'm still aware that I am 'bigger.' But it doesn't bother so much anymore. Instead I love the way it feels to move my body in the rhythmic flow and the way I can express myself without words, interpreting music with movement. In dance I have found another language - a heart language that I wish I had found years earlier. Like maybe thirty years earlier.
(A writing exercise from Lisa-Jo Baker, Five-Minute Friday)