I remember the pivotal moment when my body became an object of constant critical self-evaluation and social comparison. It was fifth grade; I was barely 10 years old. Our entire dance class was lined up, ready to practice our jazz number when it suddenly occurred to me that my legs looked a lot wider than any of the other girls. Next, I noticed my hair was frizzier… then, how my teeth were more crooked. Even the colour of my skin looked different from everyone else in line. We were all wearing the same black bodysuit and matching shorts- our studio’s attempt to make us look more in unison at rehearsals, yet I felt as though I couldn’t have stuck out more. From that day on, the studio became more than just a place where went a couple times a week to smile nicely and point my toes. It became the breeding ground for years of body dissatisfaction.
Growing up, I often felt like I was never enough. I wasn’t smart enough to get my parents admiration, I wasn’t pretty enough to get boys to like me, I wasn’t a good enough dancer to be front and center. This “not enough” narrative I created for myself also carried into the shape of my body. Nothing was good enough, and I was never really happy with who I was.
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