Prepare yourself, we're getting personal today...
I was blessed with a set of wide hips and a pear shaped frame. Growing up I hated them.
Like many, I struggled with my body image through middle school, high school and even into college. At one point I stopped eating breakfast and lunch. I ate one small meal a day at dinner, until my mom found out. I agreed to try slim fast, so I was at least "eating" something during the day.
Eventually this life style didn't work out.When I started to eat again I had developed an issue with my gall bladder. It stopped working.
Without getting too technical, your gall bladder works alongside your liver to store and supply digestive enzymes to break down fats. If your gall bladder isn't functioning properly, you generally find yourself in a lot of pain after eating.
As a young teen, I was pushed between adult specialists and pediatric surgeons. There was some confusion as to who knew what to do with a non-functioning gall bladder in a thirteen year old. Eventually they removed it--huzzah!--and all was well.
Around the same time I started to get into hip-hop dance. I began to see the things my body could do instead of what it didn't look like.
I continued to dance throughout high school with the Performing Arts Club at Herkimer County Community College. The costume budget was low, so we all put together our own with a common theme. Basically saying that I could hide my hips and belly as I saw fit.
It wasn't until I was in college that I found belly dance. A new friend invited me to dance with her in the middle of the quad-think a big open grassy area between the buildings. She moved as if she loved her body and I instantly fell in love with the idea. This was what I was looking for.
I started to devour any articles, websites and belly dance DVD I could get my hands on. I practiced in my bedroom and chatted in online forums. I researched classes and found an Egyptian style teacher and began attending once a week.
Then my teacher introduced us to the "maya" and "taxiem". My wide hips made this move look huge, even at the beginner level. I spent hours working on perfecting it; adding arm movements to it and level changes. Baring my belly in front of the mirror to see the fullest extent of the movement.
It was through dance and movement that I found all the amazing things my body could do and even showcase! Soon after, I had my first belly baring performance and I haven't looked back since.
While dance was the thing that showed me my wide hips and body shape is beautiful, your a-ha moment might be different. Maybe bench pressing 300 lbs is your thing or scaling the side of a cliff.
Know that, we are all shaped differently and we are all beautiful. Our bodies do so much for us and can truly show us how beautiful they really are.