I danced for 12 years starting when I was just 3 years old. I used to love putting on my leotard and tights and heading off to dance class. When I was younger, I would smile while I was dancing and enjoyed every second of it. I never cared about the way I looked or compared my body to the other girls. I never cared that I was always the smallest dancer and would be put in certain spots on stage because of my height. I did not care because it didn't matter to me.
As I started to grow up though, I began to notice my body more and noticed all my flaws. I could see how my body looked compared to the other dancers. I was shorter and uglier than the other girls. Everyone else was tall with long legs, pretty, talented and confident. I became so uncomfortable with my body and the way I looked that I stopped smiling when I danced. The confident girls would always be smiling during rehearsal and I just looked miserable because I was not comfortable with my body.
I didn't feel confident on stage and it wasn't just because of my mediocre dancing skills. Dancing in front of people requires confidence. I wasn't afraid of people watching me dance awfully. I was afraid of people looking at me and judging the way I looked. I didn't feel pretty so being on a stage under the lights where everyone can see you was horrifying. I didn't want to be seen.
Where I danced, there was one dance room that had a big, long mirror. Every week you either danced in there or the other room which did not have a mirror in it. I loved every other week when I got dance in a room without a mirror. I just wanted to dance without having to look at myself. Having a mirror in front of me while dancing just forced me to look at myself and my flaws and how perfect all the other dancers were.
There would be some days where I felt good about the way I looked and I would go into class feeling confident. On those days I danced better, but these good days came few and far between. I didn't like the way i looked in the mirror. I didn't feel comfortable in my body so I stopped dancing.
Lack of confidence for most people holds us back from the things we do or wish we could do. You can't realize your full potential in life if you're not okay with yourself. You can't force yourself to change how you feel about yourself. People can tell you all they want how you should love yourself and your body, but nothing they say ever changes how we actually feel about ourselves.
People tell you that you are crazy and that you look great, but I want to feel great. I want to look in the mirror and be able to say "Wow, I love everything about my body and I feel confident wearing these clothes." This never happens though. All it takes is one look at another girl's post on Instagram and my self-esteem is gone.
Something about me will always be either too small or too big. I look at all of these other girls my age and they seem so confident and comfortable with their body. They have what many consider to be a perfect body with the right proportions. Some days I feel like I look like a boy and that surely doesn't make me feel any more confident. So, I throw on sweats and a t-shirt everyday and call it day because if I try to put on nicer clothes, then I would have to look in the mirror and see what I look like.
It is so sad because no matter what anyone says to us, whether it is family or friends, nothing anyone says will change how we view ourselves.
When we ask people "Is my face fat" or "Do i look big today" we don't say it to be annoying or to fish for a compliment. We just don't feel good about ourselves.
Feeling self-conscious about my body holds me back from a lot and it goes way beyond dancing and wearing nice clothes. The way I look affects my whole self-esteem and makes me act the way I do towards others. It affects the way I view myself. Being self-conscious of my body makes me feel self-conscious of every move I make such as the way I write, the way I talk,and the way I laugh.
I wish i could have kept the confidence I had when I was younger because then maybe I would have kept dancing and smiled more and felt good about myself. Unfortunately, the way we view ourselves and how we compare ourselves to others, can hold us back from enjoying life and doing things we love to do.