I was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2008. After a double mastectomy, six months of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiotherapy, I crawled out of my cancer bubble and thought, “What now?”
I felt my body had been invaded, polluted and rebuilt in parts; with parts that did not belong to me. My hair was chemo short and in dire need of a colour other than the stainless steel grey it had become. My femininity was gone completely.
Firstly, I went back to my initial plan of retirement from psychiatric nursing after 27 years. Freedom! Time!
I discovered a local belly dancing studio by chance and signed up for the coming term. I have always enjoyed dance in many forms, both watching and participating, but had not done any of the latter for many years.
That first morning I climbed the stairs fragrant with burning incense and entered a large room filled with mirrors, feminine drapes, paintings and costumes. I felt a warmth I had not felt for a long time. I donned a coin tinkling hip scarf listening to the Middle Eastern music; drums, droning ouds and tambourines. I couldn’t wait to move, to dance.
When I left after that first lesson I knew I had found a home. I had also rediscovered something else, something I never thought I would find again – my femininity!
Try it. I highly recommend it. It doesn’t matter what age, size or shape you are. Shimmies are unconditional!