I love dancing. Dancing allows me to escape into another world. At the same time, events in the rest of my life influence my dancing. When I am stressed out, my dance posture slumps a little extra. When I am sad, my movement is slower. When I am happy, my body moves more freely.
During treatment for my eating disorder, I had to significantly cut down my physical activity in order to facilitate weight gain. As part of that, I temporarily stopped taking my regular dance lessons with the awesome West Coast Swing dance pro, Brandi Tobias. I finally started taking lessons with her again a couple weeks ago. My first lesson back, she said I was dancing apologetically, as if I had lost my self-confidence and was not comfortable in my own body. She was right. My body had changed and I had not yet let myself grow into it. Brandi told me to fake it till I made it, forcing my chin up and my shoulders back into a proud, confident posture.
I spent the week in between my first and second lessons working on my self-esteem. By the time me second lesson rolled around, Brandi said I was back…that I was dancing like my confident self again. It is incredible how much working on my inner peace improved my dance movement.
This weekend, I finally reaped the rewards of my new freedom in West Coast Swing. I danced at the Paradise Country Dance Festival and finally made finals in my competition after not making finals for nearly a year (even though the last time I made finals, I got 2nd place). It felt amazing. Also, when I competed in the past, I would critique myself during the dance, pointing out all of the mistakes I was making. But, this weekend, I just let myself dance, and that felt better than the external reward of making finals again.