Trying to spice things up with my workout routine, I decided to take a belly dancing class at our small town’s little yoga place. I recognized a few of the ladies. I had taken a yoga class or two with them. I am so competitive yoga is not relaxing. If the lady at the mat beside me can bend her leg backwards and pull it over her head, I will break my ankle rather than admit defeat to Scorpion pose. As the first timers milled around with nervous smiles waiting for the class to start, I half jokingly and half serious as a heart attack told the group if any pictures or video from the class ended up on YouTube, Facebook or in the local paper, I would hunt them down and kill them.

The instructor told this room of ladies ranging in age from 25 to 65 to remove our shoes, provided us with a belt adorned with gold and silver coins to wrap around our waist and pressed play on her iPod. As the middle eastern music began playing, I expected men in turbans puffing on Hookah pipes to join us at any minute. The teacher removed her t-shirt and standing there in her sports bra and yoga pants with gold beaded wrap around her middle explained she was exposing her stretch marks, battle scars from child-birth. I didn’t see any stretch marks. I saw perfectly curved obliques and six-pack abs. I could show her stretch marks, stretch marks and fat rolls. I had already taken off my socks and shoes and my toes were all I planned on exposing. Much to the relief of the rest of the class, she didn’t ask us to shed our shirts.

As we began undulating our hips back and forth, up and down, all around, I whispered a silent prayer thanking Jesus the class was being held in a room without mirrors. There was no way I wanted to watch my body do whatever it was we were doing. The sounds of the coins from the belly dancing wrap clanking together gave me some indication of how my body was jiggling to and fro reminiscent of those commercials from the 80’s with Bill Cosby and a roomful of kids watching Jello jiggle. While my muscles mimicked the instructor exactly, my fat rolls did not follow suit. They had a mind of their own. I was so self-conscious at the moment, I thought about running out of the room.

Then, the instructor did some high pitched squeal signaling to change directions and we all laughed. We laughed at the way her call startled us. We laughed at our hips doing something probably a predecessor to the now infamous twerk. We laughed at the rapid clanking of the gold medallions knocking against our sides. As we laughed, we forgot about our thighs slapping together, our bellies shaking, and our chests ridiculously bouncing up and down.

Let’s face it. I will never have Heidi Klum’s body no matter how much weight I lose, at least without liquidating everything I own, selling off both kidneys and having extensive cosmetic surgery, so I better learn to like my body. If I don’t like my body now whose to say I’ll like it when I’m 40 pounds lighter. I need to love my body as it is now. During that belly dancing class, for a moment, I forgot all about my body image issues and in my mind, I had the rocking hot bod of some olive skinned middle Eastern chick with abs of steel shaking her groove thang.

I’ve already signed up for next week’s class.

Psalm 139:14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
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