Despite my best efforts to tell myself that being perfect is humanly impossible, I can’t help but stay stuck in this all or nothing mindset: either I have the perfect body, the perfect achievements, the perfect food day, or I am nothing.
It is precisely this type of thinking that is responsible for any eating outside of my plan. Every time I’ve decided that I can never be good enough,or the tiniest gram of something extra goes in my mouth, I will always do one of two things: 1. Eat more unplanned foods, then purge/over exercise/ fast the next day/ take laxatives OR 2. Sit and cry alone for hours.
Today’s mental battle has been about whether my body is right to become a dancer. This has been constantly on my mind for years now, and no matter how much research I do the conclusion is always the same! No amount of physical perfection can replace technical ability, passion and performance. I know that there is a degree of flexibility from the ideal body that is considered acceptable, but my struggle with what my body even looks likes makes it hard for me to know whether I am ok or not…. I also know that hard work and training will sculpt my muscles further and make me look more like a dancer.
Since a tiny little girl I have always idolised the beautiful physiques of ballet dancers, and although I know dancers of similar styles (e.g. some contemporary performers) don’t usually look all that different to them, there is something about the corps de ballet all looking like perfect replicas of each other that I find so beautiful.
In my mind perfect would be thin, but with muscular definition, evenly proportioned between body and legs, long arms… Can I be all those things? At times I think yes, but at others I think I might as well just die now because I am never going to be happy with my body or be good enough a dancer, so who knows!
Writing this down has organised my head a bit and I hope that I can look and be the person I want to be. Instead of dwelling on the possibility that I can’t (makes a change) I am going to try to sleep and take it one day at a time- making each day the best that I can and try to strike some balance between having a good food day, and enjoying other things in my day. Here goes nothing…
“To dance is to be yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful.
This is power on earth and it is yours for the taking.”
– Agnes DeMille
Are you a dancer, want to become one or just want the body of dancer?
I used to be just like you. My weight validated my accomplishments. In fact, I didn’t care what I did accomplish if I didn’t feel thin enough. I still struggle with these feelings at times, but I try to keep it all in perspective.
You are human. People need to eat and it doesn’t always involve meat, fruit and veggies. If I try to be super strict with my diet all of the time, I start driving myself crazy! When I am super thin, starving and obsessing about food, I am miserable. Think about it – are you really happy when you are like that? I know I am not. The worse part about it that even though you think you look skinnier than usual and looking good, no one can tell the difference or even care! It’s like – why am I doing all of this work, if no one even notices?! The point is you are going to be killing yourself trying to achieve something that in the grand scheme of things is not all that important and is something that is not making you truly happy. Your weight is the illusion that we have strangely created to make us think we will be happy and content with life. That is simply not the case. Things like family, friends, hobbies (LIKE DANCE!), our work and achievements in life are what really make us happy as individuals. Will eating terrible food make you a happier person? Probably not. You are not wired that way. What you need to do is find the right balance. Stop beating yourself up for eating that donut and don’t throw it up or work out excessively because of it either. Punishing yourself is not the answer and I think you know this. A healthy attitude would be – “Man, that donut was delicious, but not so good for me. No cookies for me tonight!”
This new attitude is not going to happen overnight, I think you know that. It takes time. It took me several years to get to this state, but you can (and will, if you want it) be comfortable around food and eating again!
I am sorry if it seems that I am lecturing. I do not want you to think I am scolding you or that I know more. I am not judging you at all; I relate to you and your situation completely. That period of my life was a living hell and I would never wish it upon my worse enemy.
You are not alone and there are many women/men that understand what you are going through. I wish you nothing but the best.
I am currently in vocational training, studying both dance and some musical theatre too. So, I am hopefully on the right path to becoming a dancer, if I am fortunate enough to get a job after training.
Thank you for your support and advice- it doesn’t sound like lecturing, as I know the healthy medium is the place to be. Just getting there is the hard part, however it is so reassuring that somebody like yourself has been there and done it!
Oh – I have done it alright, but the ED is still there. The truth is, once you form an unhealthy relationship with food, it is unlikly to ever go away. You just learn how to live with it and stabalize, like I did! I never will be as skinny as I want to be, but I have come to terms with it and am so much happier now that I have. I really hope you find your balance someday. If you ever want to talk, hit me up. OK?
Thank you, and I realise that such strong thoughts and feelings probably will always be in my mind somewhere but that people like you are proof that I can reach a point where it doesn’t have command over my life.
And that is all you can truly hope for, right? Good luck young lady.
Good Luck with becoming a dancer! 🙂 x