Since I had Boo its fair to say I’ve had body issues. Whereas with the twins when everything just popped back into place, after Boo it all just hung around. It only got worse after Noodles. I’m still in the healthy section of the Body Mass Index, but only just. Several times people – both acquaintances and strangers – have mistaken me as being pregnant. Even when I’ve been trying to suck my gut in. At school I was always skinny, even through puberty. I longed for curves. As ever you should be careful what you wish for as now I have them. They’re just in the wrong places. I’m now the big girl, the fat one. And yet in my head I’m still skinny, so it’s doubly painful when I look in the mirror or stand on the scales or someone offers me a seat on the Tube.
There’s been a lot written about Lena Dunham and her body. To be fair, anyone whose tuned into more than five minutes of Girls has likely seen quite a lot of it. It can surely only be positive to have a woman show so demonstrably that she’s comfortable in her own skin, even though it’s not the perfect body that we have drummed into us. And yet…when I watch the show I know that her body is closer to mine, but I still covet the lithe proportions of the other girls more. So for me personally it highlights my flaws, rather than affirming them.
However, last night my perception of the ideal body image shifted. I watched the dance show Licence To Thrill, starring Brendan Cole and Aliona Vilani. It was phenomenal. I’m now officially in love with Brendan and Aliona was such a beautiful dancer and so goddess-like in her appearance I can only assume that she’s from another planet.
But the biggest revelation was another dancer in the troupe: Crystal Main. Sparky, flirty and sexy as hell. And not the size 6 you’d normally expect, but, I’d guess, a UK size 10. (Not especially large, but definitely bigger than your typical dancer.) I barely registered the other blonde dancer, Crystal drew all the focus and she wiggled and shimmied and stretched and purred around the floor. She looked amazing in the costumes, her curves accentuated to the max and by the twinkle in her eye you knew she wasn’t bothered by cellulite or a tummy. Instead she oozed fun and sexiness and you knew anyone would have fun in her company. She’d be the girl who’d clear her plate and have pudding, would shun an early night in favour of some fun and to whom everyone would be drawn. I may be projecting this onto her, but she’s now my hero.
So tonight, as I shook my way around my jazz class I tried to pull off my inner Crystal Main, rather than worrying about how big my bum might look to the woman behind me. I may not have pulled it off, but I came out feeling happy and energised. So, Crystal, thank you. For your amazing energy and positive vibe. Not just in dance, but any time I feel body conscious I shall aspire to think ‘What would Crystal do?’ I’m sure the outcome can only be positive.