How many times did you wear something revealing, tight or so-called-unflattering, and got comments such as-
“Do you have no shame?
“How are you not ashamed to dress like this?”
“How do you leave the house looking like this??”
The beauty of this, is that these kind of comments can come from complete strangers on the street, anonymous trolls online, or from close friends and family, which for me is the worst.
I started wearing shorts in public only when I was about 25 years old.
I have a very strong memory from 5th grade, I was traveling in a hot country with my parents and was wearing shorts that kept riding up my thighs (they still do). I asked my mom why is this happening, and she very gently explained to me that it’s bc I have chubby thighs. If I had skinny legs, the fabric will stay in place.
Obviously, that was about the last time I wore shorts out in public… That was then I started developing an unhealthy relationship with my thighs and their appearance. When I was 15, at the height of my eating disorder, I weighed 51kg on 164cm (today I way 68kg), I had a thigh-gap for the first time in my life and I was shocked! I never had my thighs not not-touch each other.
It didn’t last long bc luckily I bounced back from my eating disorder and restored my weight, but I was heart-broken that I was doomed to talk the earth, again and for all eternity, with my curse- the jiggly thighs.
Honestly. I didn’t pay that much attention to the butt. It was the thighs I was really worried about.
I remember when I was in the military, around 18-20 years old, I bought a tunic and the sales person asked me whether I wanted black leggings to go with those. ME? Leggings? So everybody can see just how fat my thighs actually are?? (Yeah, like they can’t see it in jeans, right.) Never!
That period of my life I really struggled to come to terms with my body. In the first year I gained 10kg, going from 60 to 70, and in the second year I lost them using the Atkins diet. Sport? Me? Not a chance.
The saddest thing for me is that I remember thinking my then-boyfriend was with my despite my body. Not because of it. But despite how my body looks. How sad is that? (I have to say he’s the sweetest guy and never once made me feel undesired. It was ALL in my head.)
Then I started my bachelor’s degree, I started pole dancing as a hobby and wearing shorts and sports bras only in the studio. It was difficult but I loved it, it was the first time I ever enjoyed doing any sort of physical activity and it made sense for me. Facebook wasn’t then (2009) what it was now, so all of it kind of stayed in the studio, I always made sure to cover myself up after class before going back outside. My concern was more “what will the people in the street think of me” and less of what I will think of myself when I look in the mirror.
After I finished my bachelor’s I moved to Miami for a few months. I arrived and was in complete and utter shock.
As a young woman who grew up in Israel and was brainwashed to think thin=beautiful (again, social media wasn’t happening then), I suddenly came to a city full of hispanics, African-American people and Latin culture. Suddenly, I wasn’t the biggest. Suddenly, all the women look like me! I felt like I was finally at home.
Miami is a beach city, so wearing anything other than shorts was nearly impossible. I started wearing shorts in public.
And nobody died.
Nobody got blind.
Nobody called me fat.
On the contrary, the number of guys who hit on me (gotta love that culture, definitely not taking full credit for that) proved me a very important lesson.
Beauty is a matter of geography.
Or, as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
I suddenly realized that the curse I was cursed with since childhood, of curves and jiggly thighs, wasn’t a curst at al…. what?!
Mind = blown.
This was a major paradigm shift. I realized everything I thought I knew about beauty standards is SO subjective and never a total truth.
Once I returned home with the confidence I gained there, my eyes opened and I realized that I can create my own reality and I form my own opinions about my looks.
I decide whether I take pride in my looks.
I decide how much confidence I exude.
I decide if I love myself.
I decide how much I value myself, what kind of people I want to surround myself with and what kind I do not.
For me, this was the biggest turning point of my life. It was, very simply, a change of perspective. I had to leave my life as I knew it, in order to see it, and me, in a new light.
This was the big catalyst for the change I made in myself- from a insecure child, teen and young woman- to a confident woman.
The rest of the story is that I came back home, got my Master’s degree, started teaching twerk part-time during it (a story for another post), started working in clinical research and quit two years ago in order to focus full-time on spreading my vision: helping as many women as possible feel good in their body through dance. Twerk.
I didn’t plan on writing this post, but once I wrote “shameless” I was flooded with so many memories of me censoring myself. Because of shame, bc of fear of what others will think. I know we live in a civil(-ish) society and we have rules etc.
But I try as much as possible to clean the shame from my vocabulary.
Clean away the “values” I’ve been taught of what’s proper and appropriate,
Clean away the shame of dancing freely with your hips and butt,
Clean away the shame of loving yourself just as you are.
In a society that alway promotes “more” and “being your best self”, I also try to clean away the shame of failing. Failing to cross off all my to-do list items, failing in a few projects I invested a lot of time and effort into, failing to work hard enough, earn enough, succeed enough.
There’s no shame in being who you are, right now.
We are enough.
Share with us how you like to be a little shameless <3
I’ll be teaching workshops in Belgium and Holland March 23-25! Check out my website for all the details https://www.galbepole.com/upcomingevents
You can get the look that I’m wearing in my online shop https://www.galbepole.com/shop
Contact me for twerkshops in your studio :)