Last Night I Learned How To Walk

The plant hanging outside my studio door.

I put on my Bellydancing music to practice, but all I want to do is walk.

Hands on hips, I take determined, grounded steps.  My heel goes down first, loudly pounding the floorboards of my studio,  then the ball of my foot.  With the first step, my shoulders slide down my back and my chest naturally lifts as it never has before.  With each purposeful step, my hips move up and down, up and down.  My chin is parallel with the floor and my gaze straight in front of me defying anyone to get in my way.

“Walk like you own the space around you,” Katleen said.

Walking this way makes me feel like I’m defying gravity.  It’s more than confidence.  I have a right to be exactly where I am at that moment.

And amazingly, all my body image issues vanish.

I imagine the air in front of me parting, the way the Red Sea parted for Moses.

I’m owning it.

Now I can’t remember if it was Julz or Kathleen who first noticed that when I walked I stepped on the ball of my foot first, then my heel.

“You’re tip-toeing around.” Julz said,” like you’re afraid someone is going to hear r see you”.

Heel first, I watched myself as I walked toward the mirror in the dance studio.  I couldn’t believe the difference in my posture, in my attitude.  I walked back and forth amazed at what I was seeing and feeling.

Has this person really been inside of me all along I wondered?  It was like a spell had been cast and suddenly I was the person I always wanted to be.

Kathleen, Julz and Emily watched as I walked back and forth.   I was in awe of the person I saw in the mirror, I didn’t want to stop.

“This is the attitude you saw the first time you watched us Bellydance”, Julz said.

This was the reason I started Bellydancing.

Kathleen said that when we dance, that walk, that attitude is saying, here I am.  I am worth watching and it’s great if you like it,  but if you don’t it doesn’t matter to me, I’m still dancing.

“When people enjoy watching us dance it’s the sprinkles on the ice cream,” Kathleen said. “It’s nice, but it’s not going to change what we’re doing one way or the other.”

“You do this all the time”, Emily told me,   “You put yourself out there with your art. And you’d keep making art even if no one ever bought it.  It’s the same thing.  Just a different way of doing it. ”

That’s when I almost cried.  They couldn’t have been more kind, encouraging, or supportive.

This kind of walk is about attitude, but it’s also about grounding.

It’s about my feet being rooted and sturdy. As if with each step I’m making  direct contact with the earth.  The energy flowing down from my hips and lifting up from my waist.

Walking heel to toe naturally improves my posture.  Instead of leaning slightly forward, my weight shifts back, finding support in my hips.  The separation between the bottom half of my body and the top half is more defined. It’s easier to carry myself.

In terms of dancing it will help me keep my balance.  And with practice, there will be a noticeable shift, for the better, in all my dance moves.

Practicing will be easy because I’ve always loved to walk.  And now I love it even more, with each and every step.

6 thoughts on “Last Night I Learned How To Walk

  1. There’s such balance and power in really being in your body, moving and owning your space. GOOD FOR YOU!

  2. I love this Maria! My daughter has 2 tattoos, one on each forearm. She has struggled with body image issues for many years. A few years ago, after the birth of her first daughter, she had “I am enough” tattooed on her right arm. After the birth of her second daughter, she had “Take up space” tattooed on her left. It is a reminder to her to be her beautiful self as she raises her daughters and sends them out into the world. Keep walking strong Maria.

  3. And I am crying as I read your reply Maria. I am not really sure why, it just moves me that you were moved to tears. I guess we all need validation. My daughter truly is a fabulous woman and mother. ❤️

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