What is “Love Your Body Week”?
Love Your Body Week is a national campaign to encourage body positivity and celebrate all the wonderful things our bodies can do initiated by the National Dance Education Association and the National Honor Society for Dance Arts
Why is this week important for you to share?
In general, we are constantly inundated with images of what we “should” look like, sound like, act like, dress like, etc on the television, print media, social media, … everywhere. Body image issues affect people of all ages, genders, backgrounds. In the dance industry it is a historically known issue - think about how many times you see an advertisement for a fitness program that includes the words “Dancers Body”. You're too big, too tall, too short, too bony, too athletic, too muscular… I have heard it all. While the industry is working to evolve and improve I feel it is something we as educators and mentors need to open dialog about and be aware of at a young age. We have created a safe space for humans to come and be themselves and learn about themselves. We embrace more than just the art and talent - we embrace the weird, awkward, imperfect beautiful souls that choose to share their time with us.
What does self love mean to you?
Self love… the hardest relationship we will ever have. We tend to be our worst critics. Self love is being accepting of our flaws and seeing the raw beauty in our mistakes. Realizing it is ok to take a pause, to say no…. Or to say yes!
What do you need to feel nourished, energized, and strong?
Well, there is self care and self love. Self care is resetting and reenergizing yourself when you feel overwhelmed and drained. Some of my self-care go to activities are sitting alone quietly; Watching Harry Potter, Ted Lasso or Schitts Creek, drinking a hot cup of herbal tea; sharing space and laughing with my friends; enjoying a long committed hug or maybe a nice trip to TJ Maxx.
Self-love is recognizing, acknowledging and embracing flaws or parts I feel as negative. They are a part of me and I can not erase them… but I can work to quiet them and find love in them. For instance, I have always struggled with perfectionism and seeking approval of others. Perfection is an illusion we create for others and can become a dark cycle. It has taken me lots of time and practice to see that part of me, embrace her and say “girl I love you but you got to sit down.” When I feel that inner anxiety or doubt rise I ask who am I doing this for… if the answer is for me, ok we work through it but if the answer is to seek approval or impress others I step back, assess, and lean into the uncomfortable.
Many people know I love Harry Potter everything haha - I think of self love as the moment in Order of the Phoenix when Harry is able to fight off Voldemort’s possession with love and compassion. It is seeing your inner Voldemort and instead of avoiding it or succumbing to it I take the choice to see it, embrace it, show it love but I do not let it possess me.
What can others do to help promote self love in their lives?
Surround yourself with people who make you feel calm and joyous. For every negative thought try to counter with a positive. Write yourself notes reminding you just how freaking unique and awesome you are. Remind someone else how awesome they are.
How is MCCA participating in “Love Your Body Week”?
In all the classes this week at MCCA we will be doing activities and having discussions to help remind us just how wonderful our bodies, minds and beings are. Everyone will be encouraged to post notes of support, encouragement and love throughout the building.
You can visit https://nhsda-ndeo.org/lybw to learn more about NHSDA and NDEO’s Love Your Body Week and if you would like to learn more about body image, eating disorders, and mental health I encourage you to visit https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org.