(content warning: sexual abuse, drug abuse, domestic abuse)
“Dancing is the expression of the Soul”
Dancing has always been the love of my life, starting off with Jazz ballet and tap dancing during my childhood through to my high school years. It was a shining light in my life – I don’t remember much about my childhood, but, as a victim of sexual abuse, maybe that’s because I wanted to forget. One can’t imagine the emotional rollercoaster I had during my childhood to my adult years, keeping the secret from my parents for so long. But if I was to start this blog from the beginning I would have to write a book, so I’m going to skip a few chapters of my life, leaving parts to your imagination.
I gave my heart away at a very young age resulting in teenage pregnancy – being a mother at 19 and with both of us being so young, it was incredibly tough. My relationship fell apart with the father of my child when he met someone else, and then with his family when his father tried to make a pass at me. As a victim, I felt disgusted, thoughts entered my mind, I felt sick and I hated men and their worth. This was yet another secret I had to keep to myself as it would have opened a can of worms, and besides, who would’ve believed me anyway. Feeling like a piece of meat I thought, “How can men continually do this?” Not able to talk to anyone, I kept this bottled up for so long and over the years, which contributed to my anxiety, depression, lack of sexual confidence/confidence in general, and lack of self-worth.
This spiral continued through another awful relationship with another man. He sold drugs from our home, had affairs with women I considered to be friends, and threatened access to our newly born son when I tried to be strong enough to leave. After 10 years with this man, I left with my daughter with just the clothes on our backs, leaving my son behind, who was only 18 months old, but I had to for my own sanity and my life. Once settled, my son wanted to live with me but that did not end the nightmare. Right up to my son’s age of 17 years, I was still tormented by this man, but that is another chapter of my life. After leaving him, I sunk into a black hole of depression. I suffered fear, panic attacks, and more anxiety than ever; and felt worthless because this man would not leave me alone. And then I found belly dance.
The reason why I started belly dancing was to find myself again because I had no confidence, and no self-love, and I finally wanted to embrace who I really was as a person. Dancing is the only thing that lets me lose myself and find myself at the same time. I have been belly dancing for over 10 years, and during this time I participate in the yearly international Bellydance event called Shimmy Mob to raise funds for the local women’s refuge to support women who have been affected by domestic violence like myself. It fills my heart that I am able to empower women with strength and courage before and after abuse.
I am now in a different and better place in my life now. I am in a loving and positive relationship and also have grandkids that are a part of my life. I am grateful for all my dance teachers growing up, my belly dance teachers, and being part of the SharQui Instructor family. It’s JOY that keeps me going.
Thank you for reading my story,
“We Dance To Be Free, To Express And Rejoice, But Today We All Dance, To Give The Silent A Voice”