For pretty much as long as I remember, I've been a little uncomfortable with taking up the space my body occupies. I've always been on the taller side and despite being in theatre, I don't really like people looking at me.
Last spring, I took a ballet class, and I really enjoyed it. It challenged me mentally and physically. Because of my experience in ballet, I decided to take a jazz class this fall.
The dancing was a lot more physical than ballet, and I really sank into my usual practice of trying to be invisible.
As the class went on and I was reflecting on my experience, I kept thinking about if I had changed. I was talking with my teacher and she asked how I was doing with the class mentally. Since she taught me in ballet as well, she had some time to get to know me.
While we were talking, she asked me if I usually don't like being seen and if I was comfortable taking up the space my body occupies. She challenged me to move out of my corner, and she wanted me to try and actively continue working to take up the space I occupy.
In our performance piece, she had me lead my line out, which actively made me have to work on being seen.
I still am not super comfortable being seen. There is only so much confidence one person can have while wearing a leotard and dancing in front of dance majors and parents. At the end of the semester though, I do feel like I've made some progress.
I had a molecular presentation at the end of the semester, and I feel like working on taking up space helped me feel a little more comfortable. When I walk around, I'm trying to work on being my height. Moving forward, I want to keep trying to work on being seen.
While I won't be taking a dance class next semester, I really think that the lessons I've learned about myself in the two dance classes I've taken would really help me grow.