If you've ever been in a dance studio, you know there's no hiding from the wall of mirrors. It was one of the things I hated most in my awkward adolescence. I'd spend hours in class trying to focus only on my own eyes as I went through isolations. Not only did that keep me from having to confront my own "less-than-perfect" body parts, I could also avoid comparing myself to the other -- usually taller and thinner -- dancers in the room.

Recently, I actually watched myself dance...and I had a blast.

Let me set the stage for you: There were just three of us in class -- me, a high school student and an adorable girl who looked like she couldn't be a day over 21. As we started isolations, I looked up in the mirror and saw that I was easily holding my own with the rest of the group -- and I wasn't looking half-bad, either. It also suddenly occurred to me that the high school student was just a year or two older than my daughter.


As we moved through the sequence, the instructor kept reminding us to "keep our abs tight."

I looked up and realized that every time she said it, she was looking at me.

"Honey," I wanted to say. "After two c-sections, this is as tight as it gets."

But I didn't. I just giggled to myself. And I realized what's different about the way I treat my body in my 40s from the way I treated it at 15. It's called acceptance. And forgiveness...mixed in with a large dose of humor. Because really, does my post-baby sag matter at all? All that matters -- cue sappy Lee Ann Womack song here -- is that I got out there and danced.

About the Author

Dara Chadwick

Dara Chadwick is the author of You'd Be So Pretty If… :Teaching Our Daughters to Love Their Bodies—Even When We Don't Love Our Own.

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