Shorthorn Leghorn / by Dana Bergstrom

In my high school drill team performance videos, I could see that there was something fishy going on. My lower body looked a little different than the other girls', but it wasn't obvious to me what that difference was.

Then a couple of years ago, I took a belly dance class and everything became clear.

We were practicing a move that ended in a bent leg pose.

I thought I was doing what everybody else was doing, but the teacher, while standing in the front of the class, stopped everything to inform me that I was doing it wrong.

I looked down to see what was going on and then she said,

"Oh. You're doing it. I couldn't tell because you have short shins."

I stood there stunned for a second.

I have WHAT?!

But then I went right back to dancing.

It wasn't till I was driving home from class that I was like,

"HEY! That woman just told me I had SHORT SHINS!"

Yes, I am slow and...

How.

Dare.

She.

Well, LADY....you ain't perfect EITHER!

You know what?!

You FROWN WHEN YOU DANCE.

You do!!

But do I walk around on my shrimpy shins announcing that you have a FROWNY DANCE FACE in front of everybody?

Noooooo!

Because I'm not a big meanie!

And also, because you're an intensely serious, kinda cranky belly dance teacher and that would get me kicked out of class FAST.

Egos, man.

Sometimes it doesn't take much, does it?

Actually, I got over it pretty quick because I was glad to finally know what had looked so odd in those drill team videos. But every now and again I feel self-conscious about my legs.

Like today.

I tried on a knee-length skirt I got for next weekend's dancing extravaganza/wedding reception of one of my best friends. And then the ol' resistant-to-life ego told me that I can't wear it 'cause it highlights my puny legs.

Before that belly dance class I never once thought about my shins! Now it looms in the back of my mind whenever I put on new clothes. However, I'm waking up to the fact that "short shins" is just another UNHELPFUL LABEL.

This is my new thing now!

Spotting where labels jam up my FLOW OF LIFE, ya know, like when they keep me from enjoying myself in my fun, new outfit!

Right?!

So, why not keep on floating down LIFE'S RIVER OF JOY and throw these silly labels back on the river banks where they belong?!

I don't need 'em!

No matter what anybody else says, I'm here to have a great time with my super happy shins that are actually just the right size to DANCE DANCE DANCE.