Last year, Abigail K launched the #CTConfidence campaign. I read every blog post and watched all the videos showing 10 bloggers (from Cape Town) bravely taking off their makeup, showing their natural faces. This year, Abigail asked me to part-take in the campaign, and my initial thought was … I really don’t know if I want to expose my vulnerabilities online. After some thought, I decided to dive in and take part in the #CTConfidence campaign.
Being confident with my body is something I struggled since I was a teenager. My body type was curvy, and I struggled to accept it. I was influenced by the media, by magazines and society, thinking that a slim figure was the ideal body type. After high school, I started gaining weight and more losing body-confidence. I felt uncomfortable in my skin and all I wanted was to be a certain size. Well, an unhealthy lifestyle certainly did not help. Fast forward, after varsity, my friend Rene invited me to a belly dancing hafla (hafla is an Arabic word meaning a party or social gathering for women only). All I remember Rene saying was, dress up as an Indian, we are going to a dancing party. I swear, I will never forget that day. We arrived at a little club in the Southern Suburbs and we were instructed to sit on these colourful cushions. Dressed up as Indians (think we confused Indian and Arabia ha ha ha), we sat on the floor surrounded by intense, candles and Arabic music playing in the background. The belly dancing teacher (Crystal) introduced herself and welcomed the first group of dancers. Out came a group of women, all differently shaped, all different sized and ages, they started dancing and I instantly I became memorized. The rest of the afternoon, we sat in awe, watching all these beautiful belly dancers. None of these women lacked confidence, they danced beautiful and immediately I knew I wanted to be part of Hip Fusion Belly Dance School. That’s how the road to accepting, embracing and loving my body started. I joined the belly dance school, pushed myself out of my comfort zone and started dancing. It was (and still is) an amazing experience. Crystal created a belly dance studio that far exceeds a ‘normal’ classroom. It is a non-judgemental, loving, and nurturing space where every women can be herself, regardless of her body shape or age. No-one judges you if you have lumps, love handles or stretch marks. You are there to dance, grow out of your comfort zone and be part of a sisterhood. I always tell people that no-one comes to class teaching you about self/body confidence, its a process that happens naturally where you begin to fall in-love with yourself again. Obviously, its not a self-centered or conceited love, its just beautiful. After dancing for a few months, I began to notice some changes. One day as I was walking from the bathroom back to my desk, I noticed how my body posture changed, I walked with more confidence. I also stopped using negative words to describe my body. My confidence increased and I began to accept my curvy body type.
I’ve learnt to love and embrace my body. These days, I read blogs and books/magazines that show healthy body types, different sized women who love their bodies and want to be the best version of themselves. This year I decided to take a break from belly dancing class, but I still dance every day. Whether I am shimmying whilst doing the dishes, or going into my room and dancing there, it helps me to stay connected. Even though I hesitated about part-taking in this campaign, I am really happy I went ahead. The night before Abigail filmed me, I thought of cancelling because I did not want to seem vulnerable or weak. But I realised that we need to keep an open dialogue about confidence. By speaking openly about my vulnerabilities, it has no power over me. I also realised that people connect to real stories, and hopefully through sharing our stories, we have a better connection and inspire each other. It’s taken a lot of work to get where I am today but I am damn proud of the woman I’ve become and I look forward to the journey ahead.
You can watch my video here:
#CTConfidence: Take The Survey
Abigail wants to hear from you. What is YOUR No.1 Confidence Challenge?
Please complete this survey and share it with your girlfriends, mom, daughters, nieces, cousins – share it with any woman you know who has something standing in the way of her realising her most confident self! Here’s the link to the survey: https://goo.gl/forms/lT7VOz9tkNkrIlix2.
Specials thanks Abigail, for creating the #CTConfidence campaign and allowing us to share our stories. Check out her amazing website here. Thank you to Crystal for creating Hip Fusion Belly Dance School, I will always be grateful for what you’ve done and how you are changing lives, one hip at a time. See Hip Fusion’s webstite here, and while you at it, contact Crystal and join a class, you will love it. Thank you to Rene for inviting me to the hafla, even though we were dressed as Indians (ha ha), that hafla changed my perspective on womens bodies and encouraged me to start dancing.
Love and light,