Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dance More!

I was watching Big Momma's House 2 today and just burst out laughing at the antics of Big Momma; Big Momma landing in the mud bath splashing mud all over the beautiful women in the spa; Big Momma running down the beach in her tight yellow swim suit; Big Momma teaching the kids to dance and swing their butts.

Yes it was fake fat, but there was no shame, no hiding it, no refusal to participate in life because of the fat. Remember when Women's shows and magazine articles always promoted dark clothes for "full-figured" women in order to look slim? No bright colors, no horizontal stripes, no bold patterns. I remember a stong hint for me to not wear yellow on stage. Not only do many people prefer that we fade into the background, they also prefer that we not draw attention to ourselves in behavioral ways either. Exuberance draws attention to your fat.

Many of us refuse to live like that. But we know people who do. People who won't go swimming in public, who girdle themselves to death trying to contain the uncontainable, who always wear black. Others of us won't let ourselves be so limited.

In fact, I bounce around so much when I'm singing praise music (I've never been able to stand still if there's a beat) in church that I got an anonymous note from someone suggesting I go out and buy better foundational garments. Actually, that was the second note. The first note implied that with all my "jumping around back there and lifting my arms" I was keeping people from being able to see the other singers. I'm in a multicultural church and all the African-American women on my Gospel praise team just started laughing when I read them the notes. One told me to dance more. Obviously "Anonymous" was white and uptight.

I love colors and textures and bold jewelry. I try to dress with flare and flattery. Other than winter pants, I only have a few items that are black. And I still "jump around" and clap and raise my arms when singing. My husband and I will go to fests to listen to various bands, and we're usually the first ones (and sometimes only ones) to get up and dance. We do the same at weddings and we usually don't even drink. We do a pretty good hustle. We're also the first ones on the floor for the electric or cha-cha slides.

This is pretty amazing considering I come from a Dutch Christian Reformed church background. Some of them didn't even believe in dancing in wooden shoes. When those from my generation do dance, they tend to look like they're dancing in wooden shoes. Rythym is not their strong suite. Singing hymns in harmony is.

Once I lose this weight, I want to dance more. Get some more lessons. I'm always physically in pain afterwards (and sometimes before) from my arthritis, but I save my Vicodin from my surgeries (which I hardly use) for dancing.

God meant for life to be celebrated. I hope you dance--more!