I thought this photo shoot would be much scarier going in, but once I realized that being in front of a camera in my underwear wasn’t that much different from sharing space with someone while we dance, I was able to relax.
Growing up conservative Christian, I was inadvertently taught that my body was problematic. Once I began to show signs of being a woman, I could no longer dress to my comfort level, but to the comfort level of “the boys”. Apparently, they cannot contain themselves around the likes of me and it was my job to monitor their thoughts. Therefore, I hid my shoulders, my hips, my back, my stomach, my breasts, my thighs, my shape… My physical existence became controversial. I did not feel beautiful. I was not sexy.
It was lucky I discovered dance. Slowly, I began to realize that I could just be here and not have to worry about what other people thought when they looked at me. My shoulders became a pedestal for my rapidly growing confidence, my hips an anchor and my back a point of connection. My stomach and chest were tools to gauge my technique, to connect, and to contain subtle movements in the form of isolations. My legs provided the strength I needed to move my shape into other shapes, into the shapes of partners who weren’t looking at me like a woman who wasn’t covered up but like a woman who was creating art.
I’ll admit, I sexualized dance just like many of us did when I first learned. That mistake allowed me the room I needed to grow and discover that sexy things aren’t always sexual things. It was on that realization that I finally admitted to myself that I am fucking hot and that’s fucking fine.
People will say things about “thunder thighs” and my “huuuuge” lips but instead of becoming self-conscious I find myself feeling pretty stoked about having thighs and lips. Those so-called thunder thighs carry me across the dance floor and my lips embrace those of my lovers (er.. I mean… “frame my smile”). It would be hard to say what part of me I like most, we’re all a team here. Besides, how cute would my big brown eyes really be if my face wasn’t just as adorable?
Sexy, for me, is just being. In the words of René Descartes, “I am, therefore I’m sexy.”
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