My Revolution: “Dance Saved My Life”
As a young child I dreamed of being a dancer. In dreams appeared a ballerina who flied, literally. My mother was the only support for this dream. I danced and she cheered. But my father wouldn’t permit dance school.
As a teenager, the only outlet available was social dances. There I met an older guy, ex-Marine. We began dating and he introduced me to alcohol–the hard stuff. I got drunk and was raped in the back of his car. I was a virgin. At 16 I didn’t even realize this was rape. It was the late 50’s. Shortly thereafter I got pregnant. He didn’t use condoms. Abortion was unheard of, at least to me. I quit school in my junior year. His alcoholic brother called him a bastard for what he did.
We were married. The baby girl died at 3 months. Soon after I returned to high school. He continued to force sex. After graduation, we separated and divorced soon afterward.
Then I got a job and started taking dance classes. Some fifty years later I still study dance and became a dance educator for special populations. I hold a B.A. in Recreation Therapy/ Dance and a non-degree major in Professional Writing.
Through all the ups and downs–depressions, addiction– dance has been a constant, and has kept me going. I thought my life was over at 17. There was noone to turn to. However, if not for dance and teaching, life may have ended back then.
Dance is life. It honors the body and soul. It’s sacred. It’s power is to heal, to instill self-confidence, and to stimulate the creative spirit. It taught a survivor of violence that the body is something of beauty to be worshipped.
As for the man from so long ago, I forgive him. Not for his sake, but for mine. A wise person has said that forgiveness is about taking your life back and moving on in peace, wisdom, and compassion.