15-year-old Lizzy Howell is breaking down body stereotypes as we speak. Two months ago, the teen posted a video of herself in a ballet class to her Instagram. For whatever reason, the video began circulating and went viral in the past week–so much so that Lizzy now has more than 40,000 new followers.
Many of her admirers have dubbed her a “plus-size” ballerina, although Lizzy prefers not to use that term, as the term is limiting itself. Instead, she wants to focus on the fact that determination is what drives her dancing–and that dancers don’t just come in one size. She told BuzzFeed:
“If I can do everything that anyone else can, why should I be in a separate category? I’m very happy that someone has discovered me. It’s a whole new thing for people where I live.”
There’s another reason Lizzy is happy her dancing has gone viral–because it raises awareness about pseudotumor cerebri, which is a condition she has where pressure increases in the skull for no known reason. She says that dancing has helped her deal with the condition, as well as anxiety–which is amazing, as it’s a wonderful example that our passions can not only brighten up our day, but give more meaning to the mundane. And really, what’s life without passion?
That being said, no one’s body is perfect, and it’s reassuring to see women and girls take steps toward finding a healthy body image for themselves–and perpetuating the idea that body positivity is possible–and should always be a goal, even if we don’t always like what we see in the mirror.
This post is part of the Here.Now series, which seeks to destigmatize mental health,
and is made possible by UJA-Federation of New York and The Jewish Board.
You can find other educational mental health resources here.