I have a big belly. The more I move this belly, the more it dances, as it dances, the more serpentine and smooth my belly becomes, and the more I move my belly, the more graceful a woman I become, the more graceful I am, the more beautiful I will prove to myself I am, and the more beautiful I am, the better the belly I have, big or small. However, there is no denying I have a fat belly. It is no longer a cute round thing or pot-shaped, however it isn’t so large that I have to undergo drastic surgery to save my life. Over the years my belly has sagged and gone through a lot of abuse. I stab it daily with needles to inject my insulin, stretch marks leave evidence of how the original shape of my belly has yo-yo-ed, deflated and declined, bloated and melted, the injection bruises do not fade easily, it gets in the way a lot when I sit down and get up, I have hidden it under layers of clothing, and it has been the reason I blame for not going on dates, and the excuse I make for not going out with friends. If I hate my belly, I hate myself. I am my belly. How I treat my belly reflects how other people will treat me, too. How others regard my belly also determines the degree to which I will continue to torture myself. In order to treat myself better, I must treat my belly better. I must nurture it, massage it with perfume oils, talk to it like a lover, coax and soothe it, yet tough it up, build its confidence, make it a thing to be proud of, and visualize it smothered in jewels and bouncing with coins.
Other people abuse this belly as much as I have but in different ways. Some men regarded it with disgust and ridicule, or they pitied me because of it, befriended me only to dump me at the first sign of a girl who was more their size. People have poked fun of this belly, they tried to ignore it out of politeness, and have accused me of not taking care of myself. “You have a problem!” They pointed out but it was never an offer to help me, just a means to judge me and make me feel worse. It did not matter to them if I was cute, the belly is in the middle of my body, it’s right there, just below the breasts, in the front area before anyone could check out my ass. In fact, a fat belly can make a nice ass invisible because the belly is too visible. A big belly is not seen as desirable. The obese belly hides the vagina, folds over the thighs, turns a woman into a non-sexual entity, makes her a cartoon, she is therefore not human anymore and it is okay to laugh at her because, look at how unreal she is, she’s so big.
The belly cannot be hidden or disguised, and once you have it, it is hard to get rid of, but just as hard to carry with you everywhere you go. Just like the other part that goes along with being a fat chic — the double chin — I cannot go anywhere without being noticed for being fat-bellied. Even other women who are otherwise average-shaped who notice they have a soft, round chin with a little fat cushion under it, are ashamed of this feature. Even that little layer we affectionately call “love handles” or “muffin top” — that little bit of fat on the hips and at the front of the belly — can send a woman into a deep depression, or into an emergency workout. Yet I find it to be one of the most attractive things about a woman there is. I see that little juicy bit of flesh and I want to kiss it!
We don’t like to own the bits of us that give any indication that we are fat, but what if the rejection of the natural roundness of the female body is an actual rejection of being female? Haven’t we been pushed, pressed, suppressed, bossed around, told what to wear, how to look, what not to be, who to be by people who are not born with our bodies enough already? I think it is time to own, really OWN the belly now! YES. I AM OWNING MY BELLY! Isn’t it time you owned yours, too?
I do not have a New Year’s resolution, nor do I have a dream, I have a goal, one that may take me years to achieve, but I will do it, and I will do it with style and great grace. I already started my goal last year, but now I am working full-time at it this year. Here is a detailed list of how I have started to gently and firmly transform my belly using an ancient form of oriental dance that women have long utilized to make their belly and pelvic muscles stronger and more flexible.
To Get My Belly Moving
* Contract upper and lower abs in sets of 50 each day to warm up
* Start belly undulations, both upper and lower, in sets of 50, working up to 100, each day
* Do belly undulations while walking, be sure to check breathing and walk slowly
* Wear more supportive bras and loose-fitting pants and skirts
* By end of first month, start reverse belly undulations and add this to the daily undulation drills
* Start upper chest and lower belly isolation thrusts to begin belly rolls (remember to go slowly and smoothly)
* Gently work belly rolls into a dance routine accompanied by a favorite song!
What about push-ups, you say? Or yoga? Pilates? Well, my belly is in the way. I’ve got about 30 to 40 pounds of fat resting on me, even more weight if you count my DD breasts. I have to do exercises that may seem small but actually are pretty tough for someone with my small frame and obese weight (I am 240 lbs and I stand at 5 foot and 1 1/4 inches). I have set a goal to lose 30 pounds this year to free up the belly fat so I move better. By March or April I plan on advancing to a level where I can attempt to do more crunching to revive my waist line and start looking into ways to tone my belly. Besides working on my belly, I also have to nurture my lower back and make sure I do not injure myself. Extra weight means more chances of losing my balance, especially when I carry it more in the front of me than I do in the back. I have to correct this or the imbalance could lead to immobility problems in my twilight years.
I have started belly dancing without an instructor for the time being. I know the basics of Belly Dance and learned it first hand from some very cool friends. I started belly dancing many years ago as a hobby, took it up a few times here and there promising myself I would get back in the game, but never did. But after remembering how happy I was when I used to dance, and how it was a great way to meet people, I started putting together a costume last year. Then I saw a local dancer purchase a belly dance sword from my best friend’s store and my mouth watered when she let me see it. Dancing with a sword balanced on my head has been a life long dream. Some little girls dream of becoming ballerinas, but never get to take a single ballet class, so their dream dies as they grow up. Mine almost did, but I had the obnoxious luck in my adulthood to gain opportunities that kept my desire going. I dated guys, made best friends with, and hung out with people who loved swords. They were martial artists, medieval enthusiasts, actors, and live action role players. No matter what the sword, dull or razor-sharp, I am obsessed with swords, but I am not the best swordswoman in the world. Yet I fall in love with swords! I can dance with them as if they are my lovers. I handle them as if they are the most precious things on earth and give them names and personalities! I have even purchased them as gifts for loved ones, but never got around to finding my dream sword…
I am going to change that this year.
Why belly dance for health and weight loss? Why ultimately work toward a goal to dance with a sword? Why save up my money to buy my dream sword? Aren’t there more practical things I can do to accomplish my goals?
It is ALL about the MAGIC! That’s what motivates me. I have to engage all my senses and include my fantasies. With belly dance, I get to dress up, get in character, and look very pretty, slap on some perfume oil, light candles, set the scene. Besides using the dance moves to perk up muscles that have long gone slack after years of neglect, I am not just exercising, I get to build up a performance and prepare for a role on stage. As I do my drills, working my way towards more difficult moves and combinations of moves, often relearning techniques I had almost forgotten, I always have in mind the kind of costume I want to create, how I want the stage to be set, and I can hear the music and drums, even imagine the audience — I get it all worked out in my head. Even if I don’t get to perform in front of a live audience, I’ll perform for myself at home. My workout is no longer a chore like it would be if I were at a gym, it is play, but not just role play as in live action role-playing (something I used to do), this is the kind of play that leads to performance art. I can transform ordinary Valentina into a shining silver and sharp-as-a-scimitar-sword-tip Valentina like no one’s ever seen before, like I’ve never been before, and that will be the kind of amazing feat that right now only seems impossible for me to achieve.
I have to confess something. I recently bragged to a new friend that I already knew how to dance with a scimitar. This is only half-true and I spoke out of excitement, later to regret my words because I was totally jumping the gun. I have practiced dancing with wooden canes and fake swords, mostly stage props that were too light to dance with, but I would try it out. I was denied by a teacher to learn because she wanted to first make sure I knew the basics which was understandable. I had to focus on balancing and isolating parts of my body in order to skillfully achieve the kind of grace needed to successfully execute the sword dance.
This brings me to the other aspects of my belly dance goal, achieving balance, poise, and grace. This may seem an old-fashioned concept, something that has sadly fallen out of practice today, but I find it important and quite often uneasy to achieve and hard to find someone of quality to truly teach it to me well. Some forms of dance can help develop your posture, yet I think it should be applied to everything I do in life. Even if no one else appreciates or notices it, I want to do this for myself. I find it very attractive when I see a woman or man truly move with grace. That stands out more than physical beauty, it is something rare to see nowadays, something that I have envied, so instead of dreaming about it, I am going to DO IT.
The steps I am taking to achieve Balance, Poise, & Grace
* Start with light yard stick, balance flat side down on top of head while doing house work, getting up and down from floor, going up and down stairs (I could easily do this with a book, but I find a longer, flatter object is more of a challenge and therefore more of a motivation to keep going at it)
* Work up to heavier stick, such as a cane or broom stick but it must have a flat end to balance on head, and practice walking around with it
* In front of mirror, watch how I walk, get up and down, examine how I normally move and then slowly work on making my movement smoother
* Try to move more fluidly, with less effort or need to brace myself in order to keep my balance
* Examine the ways in which I depend on things around me to balance, also watch how I naturally use my feet and determine which side I use more, work on evening distribution of my weight
* Practice slipping on and off my house shoes without relying on my hands to put them on or take them off, then use gentle push of my toes to neatly set shoes aside — practice even taking off clothing with simple moves
* Pay more attention to how I position my shoulders, neck, and spine
* Practice stretching my fingers, hands, and wrists to gently handle things — not in a dainty way, but in a gentle way, not just grab or snatch at things
* Use temperance while eating and drinking — sip, don’t slurp or gulp, swallow slowly, don’t inhale food, savor each bite of food, don’t shove large forkfuls into my mouth, to help myself I will watch how I eat in front of a mirror and correct any action that is unseemly when I consume a meal
Mostly this is general and basic stuff, a few things to consider while concentrating on the dancing and losing weight. I am a wild woman, but I am just as much of a lady as I can act like a reform school girl. Yet that’s the key thing, knowing how to act and knowing what to be, also learning who I am and staying true to myself all at the same time. So all this will lead me to being one bad ass lady witch!
As I finish writing this, I am happy to report I have found an instructor, possibly even a dance troupe to join as well, in my home town who are willing to take me under their wing. The ridiculous luck out of all of this is this lady knows how to sword dance! I am THRILLED beyond measure. Furthermore, I do not even have to pay them a single dime for lessons. However, I will offer them Tarot readings, perhaps a perfume oil love potion (or two), in exchange for the service. I predict that this year will mean I will be hooking up with women of a like mind, no, PEOPLE of a like mind. It is time for me to be a little less of a solitary witch and get more involved in community again.
Are you with me?
I could write another 5,000 words about my plans for costume, make-up, and the type of sword I will choose, but now is more about taking the baby steps towards achieving awesomeness. I may not be able to travel to see all the wonders of the world, or leap tall buildings, or rescue starving infants in Africa, or heal the dying and so on, but you know what? I CAN SAVE MYSELF. Rescuing myself is a pretty big deal. The bravest thing I can think of doing for myself. I have used Witchcraft to help me heal from a broken heart, and I’ve used it to help me cope with mental illness, and I’m certainly using it in conjunction with my physical health goals this year. Witches are all about bending and shaping, changing and transforming — that’s what real magic is all about — the science and art of it all. It doesn’t happen with the snap of my fingers or the wiggle of my nose, yet wouldn’t that be nice?
I’ll save more for later. It is time to get my head back into reality and get some late night house cleaning done. Always remember to balance the practical with the fantastical. See you another time!