When I was growing up, I was a dancer. Not a tutu adorned young dancer wearing my long hair up and in a bun. I wore tights and leotard, and my flowing long hair was an extension and expression of my spirit. Spirit which came alive when I was dancing and went dormant when back home. I owe so much to my dance teacher. She provided me with a safe space where I could experience freedom and joy. No one criticized me. I only received encouragements. In the dance studio, I never experienced any fear. I felt free to express myself and my body knew it. Dance classes were a breath of fresh air. I never had enough.
Dance was my addiction, my meditation. You know, some people practice walking meditation. I practiced dancing meditation. For me, dancing was a meditation when my body was totally alive, awakened and vibrant. No one ever knew how important dance was to me. If I had shared my secret, then I knew I would have lost my freedom and peace of mind. So, I never invited anyone to our public dance performances. “Yes, just drop me off here, and pick me up at this time. Yeah, it’s perfect here. Thank you.” Off, I went, slammed the door and ran up the stairs with my bag over my shoulder. My joy was mine and mine alone. After all, not everything needed to be shared.
I shared a bedroom with my sarcastic sister when she was back from boarding school. I shared my school lunch breaks with my youngest brother. We played marbles. I shared nothing with my oldest brother because his mean disposition was not worth putting up with. Until I was a teenager, I didn’t share much with my third brother because his anger had been a recurrent problem.
When I danced, I danced in a different world. It was my escape. This world was mine and mine alone. Of course, my wish was to enter a professional dance school. My dance teacher wrote a letter of recommendation, my mother filled out all the papers with me, I went to my audition. When I was admitted, my father took me out. “This is not a profession. This discussion is over.”
This conversation was never a discussion. He took my paradise away from me. So I went to high school, like everybody else. I stopped taking dance classes in eleventh grade. My focus went somewhere else. I lived on my own then. First in the house of an old lady, cranky and stingy. I had a bedroom, a tiny bathroom and a hot plate for a kitchen. She only heated the house at specific times during the day. Hot water was available for one hour at night and one hour in the morning. After that I lived in a studio located on the ground floor of a large apartment building. As I reflect back on that tumultuous period of my life, dance school would have been so much better, so much safer. But my life was probably what it was supposed to be and not necessarily what I believed. The Divine made sure I went on a specific path to learn my life lessons. At some point, as I lived my young adult life; I lost myself. I lost my authenticity. Then dramatically, the Divine intervened and placed me right back where I was supposed to be.
Today, I am so grateful.