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I was early. I was ready to sit down and hop on social media while I waited for my teammates. But something told me to press play on the CD instead. It was a mix made long ago, I didn’t even know what all the songs were.

As the strains of the first one began, I started to move. But the top I wore today was a bit too small, and my yoga pants a bit too low. My belly kept hanging out. Immediately I felt shame. That I had chosen the wrong outfit, that my body was misbehaving. Fear that someone would come in and see me. I pulled my shirt down and continued. Even under my shirt I could feel my stomach jiggle, it was distracting me. So I blocked it out. As my body moved, I tried to focus, not on how my movements looked, whether they were graceful, creative or even attractive. But just on dancing without inhibition.

Let everything has breath praise the Lord, that means anything with a body can move in praise of him. If the trees branches can swing and the grasses sway, then a little belly jiggle shouldn’t slow me down. So I kept dancing.

Because every part of me is wonderfully made, even the parts that don’t look or behave as I wish they would. I have strong arms and legs, I’m able to move, to worship my creator. It’s been a year and I thought that by now things would be different. But they aren’t, and I can’t just keep waiting to live. This is the body I have, I need to learn to revel in it.

It’s hard not to have negative thoughts about my body. A few weekends ago we stayed in a hotel. The mirrors in the bathroom were large and for the first time in a long time I saw my whole body. I didn’t like what I saw, in fact it repulsed me.

So I try not to look. But I don’t want it to stop me from living. So that night, alone in the sanctuary I chose to dance, not to let the body I didn’t love hold me back and hope that eventually I’ll begin to like myself again.

 

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