I did everything right. I graduated from college and got a job. There were no babies calling me mommy and drugs were called Ibuprofen. My teeth were cleaned every six months and the PCP saw me once a year for my annual physical. Women looked at me and said #adulting goals. One very specific element eluded me without my knowledge…I had no idea how to be a woman.

Grace was not something that existed for me. My mother always told me that I was too rough in my manner or too strong. Dancing was completely out of the question for me and I tended to “flop” about. Quiet, introverted, shy, and pained by the presence of people; that was me. Fortunately, world cultures captivated my attention which led me to the discovery of Middle Eastern Dance.

At one point, I was dancing at least twice a day in addition to privates, performances, and Pilates. My eyes were firmly planted on studying in Egypt. It was my life. It completely took over. Other women that were also mesmerized became my friends. We would attend workshops and different dance festivals. We would support each other at different performances in between costume fittings and hookah time. It was not long before my first full moon drum circle invitation appeared. It was the pure essence of primordial energy.  Connecting to the drums at the beach was an ancestral bond.

Between the natural movements and hypnotic music, the dance form helped me express what could never be put into words. Sensuality found a definition, and I was used as an example of grace during class. It was my honor to then become an instructor which helped me share the wonderful gift of this dance that was created for women by women.

In short, it taught me how to be a feminine woman. Your mother can only show you so much if anything about this and in retrospect, I was completely lost. Bellydancing saved me from the grips of toxic masculinity and introduced me to myself on so many levels. Perhaps the most important one being was that being feminine is an art form to be celebrated every single second of every single day.