Interview with Milena Davidova – artist and dance practice teacher
I’ve always been impressed by your radiance, which shows that you accept your body, you love it, you enjoy it and this way you help also the person in front of you do the same even without saying a word. I am very curious how this happens exactly. And especially in case of people who always put themselves under pressure: “Oh my God, I’ve gained 1 kilogram!”, “Oh, it’s so horrible! I am going to be fat again!”, “This dress doesn’t fit me, and those jeans don’t fit me! How can I be so fat?!”. This maybe sounds perfunctorily, but for many people this is a big and serious problem.
Of course! I also have had such moments. For example 2 years ago I got ill and I had to go trough a very serious treatment with corticosteroids. And usually as a result from this treatment, people become like a balloon. Then I limited the food I was eating, because the corticosteroids tend to pile it up on you, I continued doing different physical activities as well as dances, I meditated a lot, I separated from the whole world and I actually realized why exactly I got ill, why me and why this illness. And then I had this experience with kilograms. Well, I wasn’t horrified at all, but I remember saying to my doctors: “So, now what are we going to do with these corticosteroids? I am on stage! This is my job, I can’t allow my body to become fat!” And they just looked at me and said: “Be calm, we will have an individual approach towards you, it will be minimum, just cooperate to the maximum. Don’t worry, in the end don’t perceive kilograms as something scary, it is what it is!”
And this maxim “It is what it is!”, I really liked it a lot. Because then I gained 5 kilograms, and after this I gradually started to loose them without thinking about them at all. So I reached the conclusion that the more you worry about the topic kilograms are coming, how terrible, this is the end and you start counting your sweets and everything you eat, the more disastrous it is. This way the organism is put under huge pressure and tends to keep it’s kilograms. This is my opinion. Everything should be calm and I say it again, according to me we should get to know those kilograms and start liking them, we should accept that they are there on our body, and at some point they will go away, if we really give them away with love.
Actually with the girls from my dancing classes recently we had an experiment and it was in connection to giving and receiving as part of the dance. And about giving, I gave them an exercise to look within themselves and try to understand what it is about themselves that they want to give. Not to get rid of it – it’s not a good idea to treat our kilograms or some quality of ours, which we don’t like, some kind of behavior for example, not to perceive it as: “I want to get rid of this, I want to finally send it away, to go away, the biggest enemy in me!” No, not this way. I say: “Let all of us take part in an experiment. Let the things we don’t like, maybe the kilograms or a part of us as a character, as a demerit or something similar, let’s perceive it as giving. I don’t need this. Let me give it, let me release it in space, maybe someone else needs it.”
And about kilograms I gave them the following example: “Girls, you are tormenting yourselves about 5-10 kilograms, and there could be a girl right now dying from anorexia and it needs those 5-10 kilograms.” And one of the girls said, because she has some kilograms she would like to reduce: “In the moment I reprogrammed myself that I would like to give them and actually stood in front of the mirror and said – So what, I have this tummy? See how beautiful I am now! I accepted myself! This is me! Well, in fact I kind of like those kilograms even like this! And in this very moment the perfect way of nourishment for me came to me and I was searching it for so long. It was as if someone gave me my system of nourishment, my diet, what and how to do and the kilograms started to melt.” So about too much focusing on the topic 1-2 kilograms or no matter how much they are, according to me this only holds the process back and nothing positive can happen in the organism.
Yes, it can even make it worse!
Yes, it can even become worse, right! According to me those kilograms should be accepted with calmness. Of course, we had to take in mind that this pressure is coming not only from ourselves, but also a great amount of it is coming from the people around us. And this is a big problem.
Maybe here exactly is the point that if you really love your body, these attacks from outside through different comments, they just don’t have such an impact on you?
Well, they are not there! When I gained 5 kilograms because of the corticosteroids, actually as I remember no one dared to say to me: “You’ve gained weight!”, because… Yes, I gained weight, but I was so happy, that I am getting my health back, that the kilograms didn’t matter at all. 5 plus, 5 minus, they really don’t matter, the important thing is to be healthy.
Bravo! Very wise! Because many people don’t realize this fact and it is very difficult for them to learn to love their bodies. And do you remember how you’ve learned to love your body and to accept it as it is?
Well in my case the problem was different – I’ve always loved my body. I don’t remember a single moment, in which I didn’t love my body. Since I was little I like my body and I feel very comfortable with it, but I’ve had really unpleasant situations. For example, I was training rhythmic gymnastics and because my butt is turned up and although I was like a walking stick, you know how it is in rhythmic gymnastics, I was little 6 years old or 7. So a walking stick with the butt turned up, but my butt has always been like this – big and turned up. And I remember how the trainers were examining us all the time who does what, every day measuring before training and other similar grams and pressure. So I’ve never been impressed by how much my weight was, but the trainers were always scolding me: “This butt, what are you going to do with it! Stop eating so much!” and other similar stuff… And I was 6-7 years old and actually I understood very fast that gymnastics is really not my thing and that is why I stopped training, because I said to myself: “How it is possible! What should I do with my butt as it is my butt and it is nice!” I liked it, didn’t matter that I was young.
So when I was growing up, from times to time my mother liked to say: “You tend to gain weight easily, you tend to gain weight easily! What to do, you are plump!” However, my mother is very thin, one of the beautiful thin girls and women with figure as a sculpture, but me, as I started to turn into woman, at one point I liked myself so much. I liked my butt and my breasts and my waist and my arms and the fats here around the hips and I liked everything in me. I just accepted myself like this.
I remember I had such an experience with an ex-boyfriend of mine, when we were younger. So I remember how the first night he slept at home, so we were around 22-23, he was a little bit younger. So being a little bit younger he had the idea that the pretty women are the skinny ones, who have nothing – no butt, no breasts, nothing, even if she can have no waist – just a flat board. So I remember how after the night we’ve spent together at home, in the morning when he was leaving, he said to me: “You are wonderful, you are amazing, you are gorgeous, you just need to loose 10 kilos!” And I was looking so magnificent! This was the time I was working as a step aerobics teacher, I had a wonderful shape and muscles, I was looking so gorgeous. And he said to me that I need to loose 10 kilos! So I remember how I walked him to the door and I directly opposed him and said: “You know what, I can’t loose even a kilogram! First, because I don’t want to. Second, because they are mine. Third, because I am very beautiful like this!” And I said to him: “Have a nice day, all the best, go away!” And after this he phoned me with regret and as I remember he started to excuse. But anyway this moment was very crucial to me. Exactly this conversation made me realize very clearly that I like myself.
Such a wonderful example! It is great that you share this with us, because most of the women would have a totally different reaction: “Oh, no, he doesn’t like me…”
Well, everybody has something. For example me, in the last few years I dance with bare tummy very rarely, first because my vision about my dance is not to be naked by all means – I don’t want to fix the attention on my tummy or my cut brassiere with a lot of pendants and so on, as it is the case with Arabic dances. Well, actually it is not the case in the genuine Arabic dances, but this is their image from the western dancers of Arabic dances and now I definitely differentiate myself from this, because I’ve also danced with bare belly. But recently I dance with covered belly. Of course normally the cloth there is spectacular, transparent and so on, but still it’s covered. So I would like to say that this is also due to my illness and due to the several kilograms that weren’t very aesthetic on stage this way. So finally I had to walk with my kilograms proudly.
In general, I also have my moments. For example, now I prepare for a new performance and I will definitely get into better shape for it, not because of something else, but for my dancing to be easier, because when you deal with dances, no matter that we don’t care about the 2 or 3 new kilograms, they carry weight and hinder the dancing. So I would do it from this point of view. I also have days I would like to get into some other shape. But without being too demanding about it, if I succeed, ok. A little bit more lightly. If it happens, ok!
For more inspirations by Milena Davidova, you can check her website.