*When I was 23, I had the most devastating heartbreak of my life -- a betrayal of the faith I had had in my relationship with a guy who I realized only years later was emotionally abusive to me because I had not set the right boundaries that would tell him a) it was not okay to make me feel inconvenient because of my disability and b) that he was not entitled to try to change who I was.
To better illustrate the extent of the latter issue, there was a day that I had a seizure in his arms because he had made me stop taking my medication due to it “giving me bad breath.”
*When I was five, all I wanted to do was take ballet. My father wouldn’t let me, claiming that if I did, I would build “muscular thighs.” (Joke’s on him!)
Instead, my mom signed me up for Chinese cultural dance, which I did for several years. I relished being on stage and in my body.
*Before I worked at Art of Seduction, I was a client there first. I’d won the door prize at one of her open houses and scored a free boudoir session out of it!
Without going into too much detail, the Red Tent and its partner program, the Pleasure Tribe, deeply explores the nuances of reclaiming feminine energy and self-love. Rather than concentrate on getting things done, staying in our heads, or stagnation, feminine energy is about movement and just “being.” It’s also about connecting to the masculine in a synergistic way, partnering with it so that the doing masculine can lead -- and the feminine can surrender, and follow.
*Remember when I said my body was something I could always trust? After the stroke, I shut it down and told it I couldn’t dance in public.
*At 18, my friend Kevin and I decided to take some group salsa classes. We started out in Grant Park in a massive, sweaty Chicago SummerDance setting. We then upgraded to group lessons at a restaurant every week for the rest of the season -- but we never became actually good, because we merely learned steps, and not the actual nuances of ballroom. I didn’t take anything away from the lessons besides the basic step, and I only ever would use it today in Zumba where a partner doesn’t exist.
*Now that it’s been over 10 years since the stroke, I’m pretty functional. I still can’t run or do many things with both hands, but on a good day, I can usually fool the layman into thinking I’m a perfectly able-bodied woman. But I work with a personal trainer, do yoga, and gym it up often to build up strength in my body (Zumba and hip hop included). It’s continual rehab because the brain needs constant stimulation in order to rewire itself, and as certain movements get easier, I have to challenge myself some more.
Since that summer with Kevin, I hadn’t given ballroom dance another thought -- until fate moved its hand yet again and I won another door prize: an intro lesson with Get On the Floor!
*“It’s weird staring into your eyes,” I told Anthony at the intro lesson. It was the first time I’d held eye contact with him for such a loooong time. It felt awkward. And since Anthony had had zero experience with ballroom dance prior to this point, and I’d had virtually none in the realm of partnering with someone in dance, our movements were stiff and contrived. I also found it impossible to dance and talk at the same time -- it required too much concentration.
Draw attention?! The idea terrifies me. But bring it on.