This picture is, at the moment, a mystery to me. I just opened my email and surprise, a beautiful set of photos from someone I do not remember meeting and from a time I do not remember dancing are there waiting for me. This has happened before. People, especially photographers love taking pictures of me. And I love love love being in front of the camera. So it’s usually a very agreeable arrangement.
It’s especially synchronistic to receive these pictures now in the midst of me exploring a new relationship to my pregnant body. I have definitely been more self conscious about all photos of me. I usually don’t like the pictures. I know I’m looking at me, I know why I look differently, I know it’s for a beautiful reason, and still, I don’t hastily share pictures with anyone. When I allow myself to dig deeper into this pregnancy-related body shyness, I realize that it’s not just how I perceive myself to look in the pictures that bothers me. It’s also the general awkwardness that I feel in my body and that, at least in my mind, is so piercingly clear in most images of me these days. The achy me, the stiff me, the imbalanced-center-of-gravity-me, the swollen ankles, fuller face me, the wider, slower-moving me, the moles popping up all over, the patches of dry skin that no amount of shea butter will cure. My partner tells me everyday that I’m sexy and beautiful. But his eyes do nothing to change what I see. And what I feel about my physical body on most days is, at best, an intermittent beauty.
As a dancer and a movement facilitator I am very sensitive to my own body consciousness issues. This is useful information to me as I develop movement workshops with women, and especially pregnant women in mind. I try my best not to get too mired in my thoughts, but I’m also in no rush to deny them. This is as much a part of the process as pondering baby names and imagining what this child will sound like and who they will look like. In my work, the awareness that we must first be in the body before we can truly accept the body is often revealed in my own experiences. And of course since I am always encouraging everyone else to live more joyfully in their bodies, I am working on cultivating a more positive connection with my sacred, radiant, baby-growing body.