Random Extra Post: WTF

I’m having a very up-and-down first week back, and I want to write a little about it. Mostly about the body image end of things.

Yesterday, I felt like I looked like a stocky-but-fit[1] dancer. Today, I think I look like an elephant seal attempting to dance[2].

Besides my clothes, nothing much has changed. I’m not super into the particular pair of tights I’m wearing (I have the same ones in a smaller size and I love them, oddly enough).

I’m working on doing the cognitive-behavioral stuff to try to alleviate some of this: reframing my thoughts, etc. But it’s tough.

Objectively, I am the chubbiest guy in my company. Meanwhile, I’m super-duper lean by Kentucky standards. It creates a unique species of cognitive dissonance: the people amongst whom I spend most of my time are almost all leaner than I am. Spending 4 hours in the car every day isn’t helping.

Anyway. This is really just kvetching, to get it out of my head so I can get through my day without imploding.

I really wish I understood why I feel like this sometimes, so I’m working on observing my thoughts and my circumstances to try to figure it out.

Also, last night I dreamed that I was sentenced to jail for one hour, but I can’t remember why. The jail in question was more like a locked group home for adult screw-ups, but it had a lot of books, so that was good?

Anyway, that’s it for now. I think I’m going to write about balancés, the hardest thing that’s actually easy, tomorrow, before returning to my meditation on first position (the easiest thing that’s actually harrrrddddd) next week.

  1. Fwiw, ballet stocky is not really stocky in any other context, except maybe Twink Night.
  2. Don’t worry, my terrifyingly judgmental body issues are me-specific … I think other people can look great (or awful) at any size, but I can’t seem to extend that to myself :/

About asher

Me in a nutshell: Standard uptight ballet boy. Trapeze junkie. Half-baked choreographer. Budding researcher. Transit cyclist. Terrible homemaker. Neuro-atypical. Fabulous. Married to a very patient man. Bachelor of Science in Psychology (2015). Proto-foodie, but lazy about it. Cat owner ... or, should I say, cat own-ee? ... dog lover. Equestrian.

Posted on 2019/01/18, in #dancerlife, balllet, fitness, life and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. As a fairly “normally-sized” human in a circus company of mostly women, I am hands-down the largest woman (and on par with several of the men) in the company. I am heavier than the other women, bigger around than they are (and also a wee bit taller than most), etc. I also have to wear XL dance clothing when we buy costumes, in comparison to mostly Ss and Ms (there are a few Ls). I feel like an elephant in a tutu.

    But if you put me next to most people? I look normal. If you take me back to Wisconsin (where I’m from), people ask me if I get enough to eat. I feel you.

    • Thank you! It’s weird, but it always helps to hear that I’m not alone in this stuff ^-^’

      My build and weight would probably have been plumb average about 30 or 40 years ago, which I think means I’m also basically a pretty normal human in historical terms (though 10-15 pounds heavier than most ballet guys my height–Nureyev was the same height with a fairly similar build and clocked 145 pounds, while I tend to run 155-160).

      It’s a really odd space to occupy … I think it’s complicated by the tenancy of many people who aren’t in the movement arts not to notice fairly large upticks in their bodily dimensions, while those of us who spend a lot of time doing artistic things in lycra see it if we eat a little too much salt and get even a wee bit puffy. It’s very hard to explain the cognitive dissonance to someone who doesn’t live in our world.

      My circus company skews similarly to yours, by the way–most of the women are strong but very slender (if less slender than the ones in my ballet company). It’s odd, because I’d expect more women with (artistic) gymnastics backgrounds and the attendant robust builds. I’m more surprised by that situation–the ballet trains, rehearses, and performs full-time, so we have a high built-in caloric burn, while my circus company is still quite new and runs on a part-time schedule, which means many of us hold desk jobs. It would be interesting to survey the two groups and see whether the ones who have “normal” jobs experience things differently.

  2. Dreams? I managed to dream a whole bunch of choreography the other night and even a staging of sorts:


    It was horribly derivative though.

    Also I am on a campaign of wearing my new Sansha leo without a T shirt in an effort to beat the mirror funk. It did impress scary Mara so there’s that!

    It is very odd to go from a gym where I fear the mirror making me look small to the studio where it’s insistent that I am an elephant.

    • I read this comment yesterday and jokingly thought, “Maybe I should join a regular gym just to even things out.” But I don’t really want my build to be any bigger, and I think a lot of gym dudes look overbuilt and un-functional, so maybe not?

      On the upside, I’ve chosen a barre spot with no view of the mirror (I face a door either way–one’s a closet) and while occasionally I wish I could check my form, I do find that it has helped me improve my proprioception (since I can never use my eyes to cheat, and have to do it all by feel), along with my head and épaulement. I now rather wish that my company trained and rehearsed with the mirrors covered for that reason, as well.

    • Oh, and well done in impressing Scary Mara!

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