Life was tough growing up and it's even more tough to write this. I'm fearful of people thinking my mother was to blame, which she wasn't; and I'm fearful of the judgements towards my brother. However, this is a story of how I came to be who I am today and why dance was my saving grace.
My home life was challenging to say the least. My dad was absent with no intention to be in my life, my mom was raising 4 kids and working 80+ hours a week and one of those kids and I were enemies. My mom did the very best that she knew how to do and I applaud her and so grateful to her every single day. -> Let's begin...
Already feeling unwanted and unseen by my father, I thought every man was and would always leave. The toxic relationship that my brother and I had left me thinking that no man can be trusted and no man will ever care about me. Remember, these are the thoughts of a child who knows no better. I remember many times where my brother would yell and use his intensity against me. The emotional and mental abuse was real, but that was just my life, all I knew... It was my normal.
There were moments of wanting to hurt myself so badly just to feel, moments where I wanted to end everything,
moments where I would cut myself just to feel alive. I had learned to stuff down any emotion I felt, to put a wall up so my heart and feelings wouldn't be seen, so I wouldn't seem "weak" or a cry baby. I turned off every emotion, yet I was the happiest kid you knew.
You see, I was my mom's little champagne bubble, the one who made her smile, the one who made everyone smile, the one who pretended to be happy so know one would know the pain I felt, especially my mom. I didn't want to be a burden to her.
I hid everything even the cuts into my skin. And then one day a friend invited me to a dance class with her. I loved it. I felt so free and had so much fun that I forgot about the difficulties at home, the difficulties at school and feelings of not fitting in. It all lifted.
Seeing how much I loved the class, my mom did what she could to pay for my classes that year. Then the next year I took a couple more. The third year I tried out for the competing team or "company" which means you take all the classes. I went through the audition process and made it!
However, we couldn't afford the price of all the classes so I cleaned the studio to pay for my tuition. A hidden blessing.
In one of the explosive episodes with my brother, I walked downstairs and grabbed the knife yet again. I walked up stairs sat down and began to cry. I didn't want to feel so sad and scared and helpless. I just wanted to be done...and then I realized, I had the key.
I had the key to the studio. So at 9pm at night (while my mom was still working) I walked 20 minutes in the dark, opened up the studio, put music on and danced my heart out. I danced to every kind of music I could find, sad, angry, happy, sexual, loud, soft, wild, everything. I danced till my body couldn't move and I broke down crying. Every emotion ran through my body, my breath was deeper than I had ever experienced and my heart was alive. I could feel everything and I didn't need the knife. I didn't need to hit myself. I didn't need to use cut throat words against myself.
I could finally feel. I could finally process the hurt. I got up and kept dancing. The freedom to just dance with the music and allow the sound to move my body, to feel the beat deep within my bones. My feet took me places I had never been, my mind travelled further than I could ever imagine.
I danced for hours catching my breath here and there and continuing to dance and express and feel.
Danced saved my life. Dance saved my mother's pain of seeing her daughter laying in stillness.
From that moment I knew that in order to continue living and truly being happy I had to make a choice and that choice was to keep moving Keep moving forward. Keep pursuing what brought me happiness. Keep dancing my heart out.
My mom realized how powerful dance was for me and every time something happened that would be difficult to process or frustrate me she would say these simple words, "just go dance it out".
It helped with school, it helped with putting up with my brother, it helped the sorrow it helped so much.
I didn't realize till later that Dance Movement Therapy was a thing. As I studied more I found that our body traps emotions that manifest into physical pain if we don't express what we're feeling. IF we stuff our frustrations or stress down it eventually has to go somewhere.
It's like a landfill, you can keep filling it up and pouring more into the hole but eventually there won’t be any room. Eventually it will smell awful and you won't be able to hide anymore. There's going to be a moment where you can't handle anymore trash - not yours and surely not anyone else's. It's going to overflow and show up contaminating your water, your food source, your health, your relationships, your career, your world.
There's no reason to keep such darkness locked up with nowhere to decompose back into the soil. Nowhere for the energy to dissipate into the ethers. Why do that to yourself?
There is so much more to life than putting up with other people's bullshit and not letting your own bullshit go.
We live in a word where we get to express ourselves and we no longer are bound by the societal fabric that our ancestors had to deal with. We live in a completely different world and we get to continue to create that reality.
It comes down to the choices we make and how those impact your daily life, your community and the world. Are you going to settle for hiding, for not using your voice, for not showing up to your full capacity because it feels "safe"?
Or are you going to step up and push the edges, feel the rush, not play it safe and use your truth to change the world around you even if it's a conversation, a perspective or on a global scale. The choice is yours. I'm just asking you to step up and stop allowing blood suckers to take advantage of you.
Let them hear you ROAR.