Dec. 10th, 2016

schoolpsychnerd: (del)
There are many things I like about the LARP that I am joining. I love the community I'm playing in. I love the character I've created and how she's linked with other characters. I love the grey cloak I made and going fabric shopping with my best friend. And at the same time, I also recognize that there's a part of me with a lot of apprehension about one aspect of my character in particular; she's a ballerina.

I have loved dance and wanted to be a dancer like a lot of small children. I took ballet until I was 10 when we would have transitioned to pointe, which I had waited my whole life for. I knew I didn't look like the other dancers, I hit puberty early and had the clumsys like no one's business. Plus I was already pretty acutely aware that I had a different body than other dancers. I always wanted to go back, but the attitude was that I was never really going to be good so why devote the time to lessons when I could do things that seemed to come more easily. Thanks you my wonderful Knox friends, my SAI mama in particular, I got back into dancing. I cried when my parents praised a piece I choreographed. I've taken dance on and off because it's still a hard mental space for me. Having the "right" body for dance was really emphasized at the studio I took lessons in. You needed to be the right height (I was on the tall end as a kid...oh those days), be thin, and flat chested (hahahahahahahahha, nah my boobs cannot be contained in my body sometimes). So even when I was in a supportive space, I always compared my body to other dancers.

Thinspiration (or Thinspo in the ED community) are "motivational" images that a person with an eating disorder may look at to inspire them to engage in behaviors. I never got into super models or gymnasts or emo girls with trigger words on their pictures. Nope, up until 2 years ago on every computer I'd owned had a secret folder called Thinspo that was absolutely filled with pictures of ballerinas. The dance history person logically knows that the look I and many laymen associate with ballet originates with Ballanchine in the 1960s. I wrote eating disorder watch words over photos of ballerinas that would have made Balanchine salavate (except their heads may have been to big. No I'm not even kidding). I have not seen The Black Swan, in spite of my love most things Aronofsky does and well ballet. I haven't been to see a dance performance in years. It's a tough thing for me to engage with at all.

I recognize that to a lot of people my worry that I am "too fat to play a ballerina" in a LARP where people are vampires and fae and throw lighting, is utterly silly because from a logical point of view, I'm a white cis woman with thin privledge. And I am also a person who fights with her brain on a regular basis around body dysmorphia. I fixate on percieved flaws and do not see myself the way others might. "But Rachel, if you think you're fat you must think I'm a whale". Stop right there. My body dysmorphia is 1.) not logical by any stretch and 2.) not about you. More often than not these days, I manage it. Hell there are days when I love my body. I no longer spout my dysmorphic thoughts out loud as facts (at least not often). It is also to an extent relatde to social anxiety, I want to control my size and the perception of my appearance as a way to control how others react to me (size related bullying is a hell of a drug). That anxiety coupled with media triggers such as ballet (or even the thought of ballet) can really be a challenge for me.

I did meet that challenge instead of giving in to behaviors or running away. I am so fortunate to have [ profile] dorchadas, my amazing Eating Disorder Nakama, a best friend LARP buddy, and an incredible support network. I've also started to look at how ballet's "look" is changing and realizing just how little my idea was based in logic or reality. The feeling came in, and then left like a wave. I'm still not going to be watching Black Swan any time soon, but the Joffery's Nutcracker does seem pretty cool.


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