When I was a little girl my mum and dad sent me to a local dancing class, I was three years old and I loved every minute of it. I was introduced to a world of ballet and tap and developed my love of performing. I went a wonderful dancing school, there was no pressure and it was all about fun. This is something I have tried to instill into my students over the years. There were girls of every shape and size there and unlike some of the dancing schools in the area we didn’t participate in competitions so we didn’t ever have to compare ourselves with anyone else.
Dance has been a huge part of my life ever since I joined my first ballet class; I continued with it through college and then did my degree in dance when I turned 18. This was the first time I’d really been around other girls who compared themselves with other girls. I had never done this. I didn’t know other girls did. It was so alien to me that these young, beautiful young women would talk about hating different parts of their body, whether it be legs, arms, bum, you name it they hated it.
I think there has only been one time when I felt so unhappy about my body that I wanted to change it. From being quite young I had a lump on the inside of my thigh. It wasn’t anything sinister and I had always remembered it being there. People would sometimes stare but it didn’t bother me until I met my now husband. I decided pretty much as soon as we had started seeing each other that this was most likely going to be the man I was going to marry and didn’t really want to get married with a lump on my (not that anyone would see at the wedding as I wore a massive dress!). So I had a little bit of plastic surgery to have it removed, I could have had it done at the doctors surgery but I thought it was a little barbaric and wanted to be put to sleep. I was such a wimp.
When I think back to how I felt at 18, I wonder why I had such body confidence from such a young age and the only reason that I can think of is that my mum never let me know that she was feeling down about the way she looked. I know that she did feel uncomfortable sometimes but that’s only been since I’ve gotten older that it’s been expressed.
A bond between mother and daughter is such a strong one and it can be such a powerful influence that as a mum I feel as though you have to be so aware about what you do and what you say in order to protect and inspire your daughters.
I have two little girls. They are my whole world. Big M will be 4 in November and Little M was 2 in March. They are such wonderful characters, they follow me wherever I go and copy pretty much everything I say and do. I look at them in wonder and I can’t believe that I made these gorgeous creatures.
How was my body able to grow these beautiful girls, have two C-sections and still able to carry on teaching dance, still be able to move pretty much the same as I did before I had the children. Don’t get me wrong, my body has changed quite a bit after the pregnancies, and it’s taken some time to come to terms with that. But I’m still me.
I want my children to love and respect their bodies, and I want to them to do that because of me. I want to be that positive influence, I want to show them that no two women are the same. Even now, I can see the difference between the two girls. Big M takes after her dad and is long and lean, whereas Little M takes after my side of the family with the littler legs and a very cheeky smile! The girls will see this difference as they get older and it’s up to me, their mum to show them that is just fine, in fact it’s more than fine. It’s perfect.
So, I love my body, even on the days when it’s not doing what it’s supposed to. It’s mine and I’m going to have it for a long time to come. I need to look after it and remember that I love on the days when it’s been a tough one.
This post was originally written for the My Body is Beautiful because… series of guest blog post for Muffin Top Mummy. Follow Muffin Top Mummy on Twitter @Muffintopmummy2