I’ve always thought belly dancing was beautiful. Provocative, as well. Maybe a bit taboo? Perhaps. After having spent roughly nine hours—yes, nine—watching a myriad of dancers my opinion hasn’t changed.
It has been utterly transformed.
Long Beach, California. The Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition 2015. Dancers from all over the US, as well as Turkey, Japan, Russia, and Taiwan came and shook their all on the stage.
My initial reaction to the very first dancer was, “Wow. I can’t believe she’s moving her hips like that—in front of everyone!” My second thought was, “Wow. I can’t believe she’s moving her hips like that!” My third thought was, “Wow. I wish I could move my hips like that.”
A few more dancers came out on stage, and my reactions moved from the initial prudish shock to a more mature appraisal of talent. Then, it was my sister’s turn.
As soon as I saw her, a wash of sisterly pride poured through me. That was MY sister. My little sister. Then began a tumultuous churning of emotions coursing through me. I remembered her as a baby, a little girl, a teenager.. As I sat in that seat, breath held, eyes glued to the stage, I saw her—for the very first time (consciously anyway)—as a full grown woman. She owned her sensuality with such grace and beauty, it humbled me.
And, FYI, she won People’s Choice. ‘Cause she’s the shit. Just sayin’.
I’ve always thought I’d done okay being a woman. I mean, I smell good. I wear cute clothes. I get my hair and nails done. That’s good enough, right? Maybe. But, watching these women, my sister especially, I figured there was room for growth here. I watched their eyes as they moved and wondered what it must feel like to be fully in my body. To own my femininity in its entirety, without criticism, judgment, or doubt. To love all of my curves, flaws, and imperfections unconditionally. After all, they are what make me…me.
I might like to dip my toe in the water.
Well. Jump in the deep end is probably more like it.
I admired each of the women for getting up on that stage and performing, allowing their souls to shine. The freedom they experience must be a heady thing. While I’m sure some or all of them feel the aching judgment the mirror sometimes gives all of us, I know for a fact—because I saw it with my own eyes—they don’t let that judgment get the better of them. They show up. For the art, for their peers, for themselves.
The idea, perpetuated by our society, that women should hide their sensuality, reject their sexuality, and diminish their emotions hit home far stronger that day than it ever has before. These women did none of that. They flirted, undulated, and flaunted their feminine asses off. They were bold, beautiful, and brassy. Their emotion captivated, their strength inspired, their vulnerability enthralled.
They epitomized femininity. They exemplified beauty.
Each and every one of them, regardless of their size, shape, or color was a stunningly beautiful woman.
It’s time the rest of us show up. Show up for our daughters. Our sisters. Our friends. Show up for ourselves.
Because, we are all beautiful women.
“For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.
Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.
The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.
The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode, but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives and the passion that she shows.
The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.”
36 thoughts on “BOAW ~ It’s Time We Show Up”
Oh Kate, I can so see you doing this! Jump into the deep end and let us know how it goes! xo
Hi, Patty! It’s been a crazy year, but I’m getting back to it. I’m ready to jump–I’ll definitely keep you posted! 😉
I totally want to go to a belly-dancing show, or even attend a class, now, Kate! Thanks for this post! And for participating. Such inspiring takeaways here.
Me, too, August! I’ve been searching for classes in OC–so far, not a lot of luck. BUT! I know there are quite a few in LA. Let me know if you’d like some info.
I absolutely LOVE BOAW, and believe in it and what you do so much. I’m honored to participate ❤
Two or three places in Orange County offer belly dancing, Kate. ATOMIC Ballroom…plus I think there’s also an international school of dance.
REALLY?!?! I’ve been looking everywhere. Oi. Thanks, Jenny!
Great post, Kate! I think all of us are now considering belly dancing as in…why not? And, such a lovely tribute to your sister and to all women, beautiful as each one is. Thank you.
Totally! We should all do it. I’ll have my sister teach us 😛 Thanks for stopping by, Karen!
Rock it, Kate. This is a smokin’ hot post. I adore belly dancing – really dancing of any kind – so I hereby promise: next time there’s music and floor and US…you and me, girlfriend. We’re shaking in. 🙂
Shaking it, shaking IN. Whatevs. There shall be dancing! And booty shakes.
Woot! Booty shakes! Shakalicious? Yeah. I think so 😉
SWEET! I’d LOVE to shake it with you, sister!
Such a great post. I’m in awe of belly dancers as well; when they are on stage performing, it’s hard to see anything else. Also loved the tribute to your sister. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you, Helen!
Yea every time I see belly dancers, I think “I wish I could move my hips like that”. I know deep down if I practice, I could do it. Maybe one day, I’ll put in the work. Tell your sis “Great JOB!”
Go for it! You have nothing to lose and so much to gain ❤
1. If I had a bucket list, this would have to be added. Not to participate, just to experience.
2. I think when we see someone we love tackle a challenge like this and crush it, it can’t help but give us a little spark in the soul. To try this, or something like this.
3. I’m placing my request now: 2016 #BOAW: Kate Wood belly dances.
Oh, wow. You callin’ me out, Eli?? Challenge accepted! Maybe. Probably. We’ll see.. Where’s my sister?? 😛
It’s on the record now! No turning back, KW.
p.s. Your post inspired a future post idea. I’ll be sure to link to it when it happens. (No, I’m not going to belly dance.)
Fabulous! I’m stoked on the inspiration. And disappointed–if I have to belly dance, you should, too.
I’ve done Zumba. That’s as close as I’ll get!
Excellent post Kate–so very true and so resonant!
Thank you, Jennifer!
Good for you both. I think it is amazing to have so much control over the hips. It is an important area of the body! Thanks for visiting Fangs,. Wands and Fairy Dust.
What is really interesting is that it isn’t so much about the hips as it is all of the muscles that make up your core–large and small. And, the pelvic floor muscles are responsible for the sexy belly shakes 😉
As a Pilates nerd I am all about the core. Thanks for replying.
I love Pilates! We’ll be nerds together 😛
Loved your post, and I loved the pride you had in your sister. I’ve had the same reaction to belly dancing, and in the end, think it’s a beautiful, feminine art form. Even at 57, I hope to give it a try one day!
Jan! You ABSOLUTELY should! I’m definitely going to check it out, as soon as I find a place–which Jenny Hansen so helpfully provided one (love her!). If the desire is in you, follow it. Joy will come of it 😉
I really loved the way you walked us through your awakening…. And the sense of empowerment you found! Your sister sounds like an awesome person (I already know you are). I’ve always wanted to learn latin ball room dance because I’ve admired the sensual movements. I say we make a pact. You take a belly dancing class, and I’ll take a latin ballroom class! 🙂
Done, Kitt! Let’s do it 😉
great post Kate. what a powerful realization.
Thank you, Louise!
[…] “The idea, perpetuated by our society, that women should hide their sensuality, reject their sexuality, and diminish their emotions hit home far stronger that day than it ever has before. These women did none of that. They flirted, undulated, and flaunted their feminine asses off. They were bold, beautiful, and brassy. Their emotion captivated, their strength inspired, their vulnerability enthralled.” — Kate Wood […]
Wow, bravo to all those talented women. I’ve taken bellydancing classes and it’s really hard work to train your body to move that way and to make it seem so natural and effortless. It’s a great workout and a great way to be present in your physical body.