There is a reason why all best moments of life are celebrated with dancing.
Think about it, all marriages, exam results, anniversaries, etc. do have some form of celebration which includes dance. But for me, I don’t think of dancing like most of you would. It’s exaggerated but its true – dance is life for me. As Martha Graham would say “Dance is the hidden language of the soul of the body”. And in spite of that, I quit dancing a few years back. Being a mom at 25, of course, puts loads of stress on you both physically and mentally. And I too had moved from “S” size to “L” size.
When my daughter was 4, I decided to get back to dancing. With lots of guts, I enrolled myself in the same dance school as my daughter and knowing the fact that I might be the oldest in the lot. I still remember my first lesson, we were told to perform extempore on any song that the instructor would play. This was for auditions for a stage performance and was meant to be a solo performance. I was nervous but un-intimidated. I knew how to do this. I was in my element. The class went really well, really well. I did all of the combinations, remembered to smile. I was energetic and quick on my feet. Most importantly, I was able to keep up with the other students. I was like this teenager just enjoying her music to the fullest and dancing her heart out (well I was dancing after 7 long years). I couldn’t see anything in the classroom, there was just music and me. In that moment of euphoria, I think I gave the best performance ever. After class, I excitedly head out, surprised by how well I did and hopeful of my chances at being accepted for the stage performance. And then I hear my instructor talking to a few others, “she is good, but she is big”. I stopped, trying to process this comment without crying or letting him know that I heard his comment. But at that moment, my spirit was crushed. So many thoughts swirled through my head on my way home. I couldn’t believe that the wrongness of my body’s shape carries more weight than my ability to move precisely and artfully through space. I couldn’t believe that a skinnier, a potentially less-talented dancer would get “my” spot for the stage performance. But most of all, I couldn’t believe how embarrassing and utterly humiliating it feels to be turned down not because I was not good enough, but because I was not skinny enough.
These thoughts eventually crystallize into confusion, questions. Why had I been blessed with these talents in this body? And just because I felt so humiliated, I never went back to that dance school. Time passed as years passed. I did many things to reduce weight with the hope that I would get back to shape and back to my stage where I would perform someday. But all in vain! I never managed to really loose back all the fat I had gained. To people, I was like this ideal woman who all would aspire to be – a great career, loving husband and a beautiful talented daughter. But I knew somewhere I was not fine! I was missing dancing. I wasn’t happy and I was shamed enough to not start dancing again.
One day, my daughter (who is an artist) was busy putting together an artwork for her upcoming exhibition. She was sitting with her big canvas and some twenty brushes of different sizes. She called me to her room and said: “thicker brushes can create as beautiful strokes as thinner ones, in fact, thicker brush strokes can ONLY stand out on this BIG canvas”. And yes, I did cry that day. She said nothing and yet everything. I realized that dance is just not dancing with your body but it is dancing with your heart, mind, and soul. Dancers really have to struggle at a physical, emotional and mental level to realize their dreams. They have to keep perfecting their technique and go beyond their body limitations which require extreme mental strength. The following weekend, my daughter and I go together and enroll for dance lessons and this time in the same class! And with the same body weight, I participated in Color’s Talent Show Singapore in 2017. I didn’t win it but I boldly and proudly held my own virtual trophy that I gave myself. And when it got telecasted on Colors channel, everyone applauded! All I told myself that day – my confidence is being comfortable with myself with my flaws and my strengths and not giving a damn about what anyone says. #IAMMORETHANMYBODY.
Being sexy is all about attitude, not body type. It’s a state of mind. All it needs is to love yourself.
Purwa Jain is an established digital marketing executive with strong record of success in management, sales, business development and product management. She is a digital marketing ninja by the day and a fabulous dancer by hobby.