The truth can set you free... and your relationships free too :) A poem I wrote some time ago.
You told me
Our culture created philosophy, mathematics, writing
Our culture was the birthplace of liberal thought and expression
But it wasn't until I went to belly dance class
that I learnt women in the ancient Middle East were powerful
That women danced...
There were decades even, more recently, when dance was revered,
ballet and folkloric companies thrived
Before men with agendas cloaked in religion shut them down
And spread the belief that dancing is shameful.
I remember dancing in loungerooms and being celebrated for my dance
when I was a little girl
One day when I became a woman,
I learnt how shameful it was to dance to public.
Then when I travelled back to the Middle East,
to find the parts that I thought were missing from me,
that magic of belonging i'd seen in homecoming movies,
my white travelling friends were treated better than me
because being Arabic, I should be different.
I should have respect, honour, obedience.
And when I told my family that I danced
I found myself in a glass box
detained, outside, separate, shunned
What is wrong with you?
The words you said and no longer say
because I am over here and you are over there.
Where can I be a dancer who is Middle Eastern and love contemporary dance?
How much of my cultural identity can be forged by me?
And how do I tell the truth about this without causing more injury to a people who are already under attack?
Through storytelling and dance?
I love my culture, my heritage, my ancient history.
Because to say that God doesn't love dance is a lie.
I connect with spiritual realms, when I dance.
I become full, complete, with no missing parts, when I dance,
I am still missing you, when I dance
I wish, I wish
I could dance without it dooming me.
That I can release forever those voices telling me I have chosen
a deformity of life,
because I dance.
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