One thing that happened when I was diagnosed with cancer was that I disconnected with my body. This was not conscious, but I did feel like my body had thrown me the finger. Little did I know that the disconnection was my automated trauma response; more on that another time.
What I also managed to do was disconnect from my emotions too. I spent the longest time from diagnosis, through treatment, until this year (almost 3 years) feeling numb. Medical menopause contributed that a little because my hormones flatlined. But therapy split me wide open. I felt everything. Finding the root cause of my dissociative behaviours, albeit unconscious, contributed to that.
One way that I was told to connect to my body again was by doing something where I can tune into my body. I had done yoga for some time, but that turned out to not make a huge difference with body connection. It was suggested to dance because I love music.
Music is magical, music has the ability to take me places. I have so many emotions strongly anchored into some songs. Sometimes it’s Billie Holiday, sometimes its ‘The Cure’, the list goes on … what always gets me into my body is that Hard Trance type music.
I used to frequent “rave” clubs in South Africa as a young early twenty something. It was our Saturday night ritual. When I listen to this music, I get taken to a time in my life where I was young and careless (not carefree). When I was on that dance floor; white strobe flickering and that deep thumping beat rolling through my body, I was in my element. It was like nothing existed, just how the music felt in my body. And I would move to the beats (probably incredibly uncoordinated) of the music as though I was the music and the music was me; eyes closed, smiling! It was beautiful! I remember I would sometimes open my eyes and see Michael with his “sunnies” on, chewing his gum, wide smile and my moment would be made.
Back then ecstasy was the “poison” and I firmly believed that ecstasy made the experience better, and it probably did; it creates a physical awareness and sensitivity that is hard to explain. It made me care less about what I looked like while shaking what my momma gave me and more about how the music made me feel.
I decided to take a trip down memory lane and find that type of music again, the kind that resonated with my soul in those younger days and it did not disappoint! I turned off the lights, put EarPods in and just danced in the dark, giving it my all (after a while). I felt a bit ridiculous at first. No one was watching, but I felt a bit stupid in front of myself. But as I just let loose and let the beats take control. The movements were free flow, arms in the air, a little happy jump here and there as the beat dropped. It was then I realised how powerful music really is for the body, not just the mind. I also learnt that I actually didn’t need ecstasy to feel the music; the body just knows what to do.
There is still heaps of work to be done to create that connection; to not feel fragmented! To feel alive and one with my body again. To love a body that has betrayed you, to love a body that has known violation, to love a body that doesn’t look like it did when it was a young and careless twenty something is certainly a journey, but to love is to connect. And I am keen to see where this ends up.
Let the music move you!