Is this my perfectionism again?


I’m currently a graduate student and completing my master’s with a dissertation due end of summer 2020. I’m also co-producing a docuseries and launching a fundraising campaign in a week with my co-founder to fund 10 episodes to be filmed end of summer/early fall 2020.

I’ve bellydanced in front of a tv for as long as I remember and during quarantine came back to this favorite hobby, dancing 2-3 times a week, in addition to my workouts, and have gotten quite good at it that friends have started asking me to teach LIVE on instagram.

Bellydance, where I come from, is associated with prostitution, so I’ve had a lot of cognitive dissonance embracing this passion I have for it and sharing it with the world. I share a lot of my dance videos and have often felt guilt and shame around it. I catch myself with two lines of thinking fueling my dancing posts, one that genuinely wants to share the joy and another that seeks the external validation.

I’ve struggled in the past with body image issues and disordered eating, but have overcame that. My brain still offers funny thoughts sometimes and I’m thankful I get to experience this material that has liberated me with the knowledge that it is all optional. I’m worried that posting my bellydance videos is another way of buffering. I do catch myself spending more time than I would like picking which videos to post and cropping them, etc.

I asked myself in prayer, why me, why bellydance? I’ve felt that it’s helped me embrace my body significantly and since then, I’ve been thinking about creating a mindful fitness experience that integrates pilates and bellydance but one that focuses on positive affirmations throughout the workout (instead of the negative talk I witness when following certain YouTube workout videos that tell you to work hard to get that ‘bikini body’). F that bikini body. Every body is a bikini body.

I want to create this new workout experience for all the girls struggling, like I did for a good majority of my adolescence. I want to create this for my future daughter. A workout should never be a punishment, but a treat for the soul and the body! When I bellydance, hours pass (literally) until I realize, oh, I guess I should stop now. For some, it seems like a workout, but to me, it’s my form of natural pleasure.

I’ve thought maybe I should start developing this workout now as I workout myself, because I do workout 3 times a week (2 pilates and 1 Zumba). I don’t even count bellydance in my workouts haha, but it’s usually 2-3 times a week. I’ve thought to start trying it on me first and test what that would look like and of course all the doubts come and I end up reverting to my usual easy to follow workout.

I’ve felt hypocritical in the past two weeks when talking to friends about following their dreams when I’m giving myself all sorts of excuses and doubts for why I can’t start this now. The production I’m working on is my priority right now. What can I be doing every week to work on this dream or do you recommend I let it sit for a while and come back to it when I’m done with my master’s, the production, and the GRE (which I want to take to get out of the way in case I decide to get an MBA later)?

Note: I’m working on not being a perfectionist. I also tend to want to do everything and end up not doing any of them super well or stretch myself too thin trying to do all that I want to do.

Thank you:)