You know, the older I get, the more comfortable I get with myself, I've written about this before. I'm certainly far from perfect, but I am who I am, and I enjoy what I enjoy. I don't take it *as* (gentle snort) personally when somebody doesn't like something about me or something that I care about.
And so, the fact that I am a (fairly conservative) Catholic, who takes her faith very seriously, who attends Mass as often as she can and wears a head covering while doing so, who also belly dances is, you know, *eclectic*. I'm certainly not unaware that people are often surprised to find that I'm a belly dancer, but I like to think of myself as a Belly Dance Ambassador.
I'm sorry, good reader, but if you're still reading you're now in for The Spiel. Belly dance is NOT stripping. It is a cultural, and perfectly acceptable, dance form. It is *family friendly* and G rated. It is feminine and beautiful, and is NOT in existence to provoke lust.
Dance involves moving your body, there's sort of no way around that. And costumes, by necessity, for all dance forms, are designed to showcase your body and the dance. I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this.
Are there dance costumes out there (including belly dance ones) that I deem to be immodest? Yes, there are. Very high slits, super short skirts, and cut-outs come to mind. However, I do not think that bare bellies are, by default, immodest. I'm certain that there are people that disagree with me on this, but this is my opinion.
And I think that we come round on this belly dance angle in the exact same way that we do on all modesty discussions: where does simply "being beautifully modest" end, and "you must wear a potato sack lest you tempt men with your body!" begin?
There are LOTS of opinions out there on this issue, to be sure. And I've received some of them, which is why I'm writing this post. Dialogue is good, no?
I am a devout Catholic, and I am a belly dancer. I post photos of myself belly dancing because I don't think that there is anything wrong with that. Is being a Catholic not compatible with being a belly dancer who bares her belly? I, of course, think that these two things are not mutually exclusive.
Maybe I'm not your average Catholic girl. But I am ME. Belly dance has given me so much and I don't want to hide that. I don't think that being Catholic means that I have to hide my dancing under a bushel.
I figure that if you read this blog you accept me for who I am. And I can't tell you how much I appreciate that.