On the heels of my last lesson with Ivan I decided that I should at least attempt to wear something different on my lesson today. You know, about letting the sexiness out and all that.So I decided to wear this dress. That cute doggie is my girl Buffy. She was curious while I snapped the picture. Thanks for the cameo, Buff.
You know, a normal person would just wear this dress, right? But me, with my big body and my body issue complex, well, I couldn’t bear (or bare) to show that much skin. So that was just the base of my ensemble.
Next, I added a skirt. Why? To put on top of the inner dress liner but under the kind of see-through part. This way, you couldn’t see my huge ass and big belly as much. The liner clung to my midsection and you could see every paunch, every pooch, every rounded mountain of flesh, and it wasn’t pretty.
Okay, now for the arms. I got to cover the wings. I can’t have all that jiggly flesh wagging in the wind with every cross-over.
Finally, the legs. With all the cellulite, I need to keep the cottage cheese knees under wraps. So on went a pair of black leggings with a little short skirt attached that folds over the top.
So the final outfit had four layers of material.
Maybe it’s not such a mystery why I sweat so much on all my lessons. I’m always wearing three to four layers of clothing.
Usually, just my calves and forearms are showing. Oh, and my face. Everything else I try to cover, in black (it’s slimming, right?) so I look like a big black ball with calves and forearms sticking out. I kind of want to just make the middle section just disappear, you know?
So I walked into my lesson all bundled up, with my cover-up tied around my waist so you could barely see the dress poking out.
Especially with all the commotion created by the chicks I gave him, we made it through Swing and Cha-Cha without Ivan noticing anything different in my clothing choices.
During the Cha-Cha, Ivan and I experimented with facial expressions. I did everything! From faces I knew were hideous, just for fun, to “Pah!” and “Shah!” and winking and sticking out my tongue and anything else I could think of. So that was good, I was playing and experimenting and feeling like it was okay to do that, but you know Ivan – he has to push it to the next level.
“What face you make when you thinking you so good? When you so beautiful or proud or feel like you are better or stronger than anyone else?”
The question stopped me in my tracks. I’ve been so focused, most of my life, on blending in, being good but not too good. Standing out for all the right reasons, but not standing out too much. Being a sheeple (people + sheep), so I fit in to the fold, being an individual that is slightly recognized, but not showy.
So with all this programming of how I should be, and how I should censor myself so that I’m outstanding, but not too outstanding, I was at a loss as to what a face like that would look like.
It’s not one I practice.
I have a complex, clearly, about being seen as “cocky” or “self-absorbed” or “vain.”
But what if, that was simply a well-founded pride of self? A healthy appreciation of me? Wouldn’t that be okay? What would that look like?
I actually decided I should meditate on what that face would look like for me. I do think I will explore it, and play in front of the bathroom mirror, alone, to see what it might look like for me to express confidence and love of self, even if some people might interpret it as being stuck up or haughty. Let them think what they will…AHHHHH! It kind of already freaks me out. But whatever. The lesson didn’t end there.
Because then I revealed myself…I made a fatal mistake, divulging I suppose my true intention with wearing the dress today, though I’d tried to do it in a way that didn’t make me too uncomfortable.
I lifted up the cover-up to wipe the sweat from my brow and the dress underneath was out in the open.
“What’s this dress you wearing?” Inquired Ivan. “Why you wearing that cover up? Take it off.”
“No Ivan. It’s my arms. I have to cover them. I hate them. They are so ugly.”
“I don’t care. You have to take it off. You have to loving the arms. It’s just us here. Take off the cover.”
Reluctantly, I peeled off the cover and tried my best to ignore my upper extremities.
That was traumatic enough for me, but not nearly enough for Ivan.
“Why you wearing all these layers? You have to showing the fats. You have pants on underneath, you should only be wearing top and bottom. No extra stuff. Lift up your skirt.”
“Ivan no! Are you seriously crazy?”
He grabbed it and raised it and discovered my black skirt.
“Show the fats. Show the fats! You don’t have a big belly (which isn’t true, I totally do), you having a big ass. But it’s okay. Take off the skirt. Show the fats. Love the fats.”
He made me shed the extra skirt and then tuck the remainder of my dress into my bosom. This revealed my legs.
“See. You looking thinner with less layers. Now your legs showing. You going to be incomfortable (that’s an Ivan construct for uncomfortable) but it’s okay. Now I see your legs. I never see more than from the knee. I want to see how they working. Normally they are covered with a skirt and I can’t see what they doing.”
I was mortified. But Ivan didn’t let up.
“You have big ass. This okay. Touch the ass. Touch it! Love it.”
He started playing a Latin Rumba.
“It’s okay, it okay. See, don’t be scary the mirror. Look in the mirror.”
Ivan made me stand beside him and face the mirror.
“Do a Latin basic.”
We stood there, side by side, with the romantic music playing, and began to move. I have to say that my lines matched his. And for the first time, you could really see my legs were doing exactly what they are supposed to do in that step. Tears streamed down my face.
“See, the body so free now. It never getting to be free.”
I have to admit that it felt nice to be cooler without all the layers. But it is really hard to see myself. I’ve mentioned that before, I know.
“See. I not caring how the body look. I see the straight legs. I see the good technique. Love the fats. Show the fats. It’s okay.”
I cried during the whole time we danced. Silently, cleansing tears dropped to the floor as I rocked my hips, grabbed my fat ass like it was the most amazing thing on this earth, and danced as if I were a sexy beast. I know my face didn’t show it with all the waterworks, but my body told the story. My big, cumbersome, hefty body. It talked. It spoke loudly. It screamed, “I am a slinky panther. Watch me stalk my prey!” and “I may be three times her size, but there is a Karina Smirnoff in here, yes there is!
Seriously. I heard it. 🙂
What a process this is for me! I am so grateful to feel safe enough to go here – to have a dojo in which I can do my practice, where I can discover myself and work things out before I present myself to the world. I am so very blessed to have this safe space to unwind the knots in my psyche – where I know on some level that I can let it ALL hang out, and I won’t be ridiculed, or made to feel inferior. Indeed, I am encouraged, supported, and pushed forward into the realm of “incomfortable” – the place where the magic of breakthroughs happens, where my life changes, and where I am healed.
Gosh this is an emotional post for me. I must say. Reading it back for editing brings more tears to my face. So be it.
It is worth it.
At the end of my lesson, Ivan looked at me and said, “You push a big button today.” And boy did I. I sure did.
This last little bit won’t make sense unless you read my previous post which you can read here.
Anyways, it was a big day. Just as Ivan didn’t know he’d be surprised with some baby chicks today (see here if you missed that story), I didn’t know I’d be surprised with an opportunity to really step into loving myself, just as I am, while at the same time keeping the vision of what I want to become. I didn’t know I’d have such a strong chance to connect with my inner tigress, and feel safe enough to shed layers of clothing, which, one could imagine, was a metaphorical representation of shedding layers of psychic and emotional protection so that I feel secure enough to fully and finally unleash my whole self.
On a somewhat funny side note, I also didn’t know that the studio would look suspect with my layers of clothing strewn across the floor from when I’d peeled them off! Trust me – I was still completely covered from ankles to chest, even with all the changes and nothing improper happened. But I have to admit, I freaked a little when Ivan’s next student walked in the door! What must she have thought, seeing my skirt lifted up and articles of clothing laying hither and thither?
Well, you know what? Who cares? Who cares what she thought. It was none of her business, really. And it is none of my business what she may or may not thought of me. What matters is what I think of me. And what I think of me today, was that I was courageous. No matter what that looks like, I went to a place I’ve never gone. And that, my friends, is progress. Woo hoo!
Holy Hell! What a day. What a post.
I wonder what will happen tomorrow….
Wowzers!!!!! This post made my eyes prickle up with joyful tears over your courage and your break through! You GO, Girl!!!!
And that Ivan? Holy cow, but he’s a heck of an instructor and a terrific guy! I’m so happy you’re working with such an amazing person!!!! He’s better than a shrink–and probably a whole lot more fun! 🙂
Thanks Aurora. Yep, Ivan is better and more fun than a shrink!
This series of posts are making me cry! Congratulations on experiencing a breakthrough 🙂 One step closer to being the best dancer you can be at Desert Classic.
PS – Your dog is adorale!
PPS – Did you know they are going to stream Emerald Ball online? Thought you might want to try to watch some of your friends when they perform.
Thanks Paragon! I love how so many competitions now have live streaming. I will look for my friends and also Ivan and Marietta are dancing too. I’ll be watching if I can!
I love this so much – I am so thrilled for you! I was thinking about you after I read your 100th post, and I know what a big deal this is. You are being so brave – I am really grateful that you’re sharing it with us. I have a series of thoughts in my brain that eventually I will organize into writing about this post, but until then – you go, girl!
I cried! And laughed – love your fats? You have fat ass? Touch the fats? How can you not love Ivan? OMG!!!! Best blog EVER! I hope you lose more layers and grab your luscious ass daily. 🙂
SMILE. Big smile. Thanks Colette, for being my friend, and so much more. Love you, gal!
Thanks! And yes, how could a person not love Ivan? I’m moved that you were emotionally touched. Glad we’re friends. Love, Stef
Me too! ❤