When I was young, my mother like other enthusiastic mothers out there, tried to take me to all sorts of dance workshops in hopes of making a dancing princess out of her only daughter. Sadly, she was told by different instructors that my coordination was bad and that I was just too painfully shy and awkward to ever be the graceful ballerina that she envisioned. The experience haunted me. I couldn't dance for the longest time. Everytime I attempted to sway my body to a song or started moving my feet when eager friends yelled: "Dance! Dance, Sabrina!" I would remember those words and I'd stop and say: "I can't. I'm not meant to be a dancer."
Then I found myself staring at a wall of mirrors inside a dance classroom and I suddenly realized what I was about to do. The instructor turned on the music and as the exotic rhythms of Egyptian music filled the room , I thought I was going to pee in my pants. Before I could act on my growing self-doubt, the door swung shut and I was forced to take my place on a mat on the floor.
Welcome to belly dance.
There's something magical about the whole dance. As soon as I wrapped a black hip scarf that was fully decorated with the jingling coins around my hips, I felt myself woven into the thread of music. Instead of being afraid of the rhythm, I felt, for the first time, a connection with it. My body begged to move, to make sounds of its own with the scarf tied around me. I extended my arms and imagined myself swimming in a warm lake. I felt my lungs expand with glorious oxygen and for the first time in almost a year since the transplant, I felt alive; I felt free.
I walked out into the dark night just beaming with joy. I felt like every cell in my body did a little dance of their own and I was already hungry for more. I even practiced the new shimmy I learned at the bus stop! (in my defense I wore black from head to toe and I was alone and it was raining hard so technically nobody could see) I'm so glad that I finally stepped outside my comfort zone and rediscovered myself all over again.