No Fat Allowed

Stacy Bias, on her blog Fat Girl Speaks, posts today about the long lasting effects of being kicked out of ballet class because she was too fat. I wonder how many of us longed for the pink tutu and leotard, white tights and delicate ballet shoes and heard we were too fat? 

I was one of those girls. When I was 9, I wanted to learn ballet. I begged my mother to let me take a class. She told me no, that I was too fat for ballet. So I got a book from the library, a book that showed the five basic positions for feet and hands. And when my mother wasn’t home, I would stand in front of the mirror and try to teach myself ballet. I wanted so much to be a graceful and beautiful dancer. But of course, there were limits to what I could teach myself. I practiced those five foot positions and hand positions again and again, trying to imagine myself a ballerina. What I saw in that mirror was my chubby body and lack of grace, just like she said.

Then, at my mother’s insistence, I took a course in ballroom dancing and etiquette. She was certain this was how I would become graceful and ladylike. I was terrible at dancing; I just couldn’t get the hang of following. I didn't know how to let the boy lead, to feel the music, let go, give up control and allow him to take charge of the dance. It is something I have yet to learn, though in my dreams I am able to let go, feel the music, and dance, my partner leading. And if I can do that in my dreams, perhaps I can do it in waking life.

How many of us lost touch with our bodies as sources of pleasure in the dashing of those childhood dreams?

Stacy writes:

But me — my body went from being my favorite playmate to being a constant source of self-loathing.  I internalized that fear of “damaging” myself and I stopped being a daredevil, running and climbing trees.  I stopped being physical in general and curled up instead with books or music.  I loved softball but I never went out for the team both for fear of rejection and the simple belief that I was incapable of being competitive at anything.  I lost my skin.  I became a big, floating, disembodied head.

That takes my breath away.