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#METOO Healing through Hoop Dance
The recent #metoo tag took over social media with women and men making themselves heard. It was started by Alyssa Milano who posted “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me Too” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem #MeToo”
Basil messaged me to tell me about the campaign. It’s a strange thing, the feelings that come over you when you want to speak up and out about sexual harassment that has happened to you. I have felt fear, guilt and even selfishness, “Who am I to talk about such things? This happens to so many women, why would my story matter and what difference would it make?’
I feel that the #MeToo movement was so powerful because it empowered women to stand up in unity and be heard. That no matter how big or small the transgression was, it mattered, their story mattered. In this movement women were not only heard but held. I am grateful for the spontaneity of this movement.
For me it felt as though speaking up would finally make a difference, that even though 11 years of harassment would most likely not hold up in court due to national borders and jurisdiction complications, my story would be a part of the giant snowball that could change attitudes and perceptions on a global scale. That’s a big difference!
What does this have to do with hooping? Well I was 11 when the harassment began and I hadn’t the assertion to speak up. With the continued violation and secrecy I grew a very warped sense of self. I was a knobbly kneed girl with a low self esteem and a belief that desire equaled love and to be loved meant to be sexy. Sexy as in to be desired for sex. I had no love for my body, I was only as beautiful as the number of people (read men) who thought I was sexy.
At university I struggled with depression and began to despise my body. Sex, drugs and alcohol were my anti-reality vaccinations, I created a whole life around a person I wasn’t. I had no idea who I was, or where to even start looking for me.
It was in 2008 when I began my journey with the hoop that the thick scummy layers began to peel back and the light that had always been within me began to shine through. Inside the hoop I found safety, beauty and love. I didn’t have to be someone else for anyone else. About two months into hooping I remember walking past a mirror and seeing my Self for the first time. Not the dolled up, drunken hooligan pretending to be happy, but ME, clean, open, simple and beautiful. And I was stunned, almost disbelieving, but then I just smiled and kept walking, picked up my hoop and went to go hang out with my bestie Amy Jo. Something huge had shifted. At the time I couldn’t put my finger on it but I knew that it was a result of hooping.
I teach hoop dance because I believe it has the power to heal and in particular the power to heal from sexual trauma.
How does it heal?
My hoop guru Shakti Sunfire talks about our four modes of intelligence. Our mental intelligence, our physical intelligence, our emotional intelligence and our imaginal intelligence. In hooping we tap into all of these but most importantly the physical intelligence. Given half a chance our bodies know exactly how to heal themselves but we have become so dissociated from our bodies that we create and recreate trauma and dis-ease. A dissociation from our bodies and warped beliefs about our bodies are particularly accentuated in women and men who have experienced a sexual trauma. After a sexual transgression, dropping into the sensation of your body can feel dirty and scary because it brings these experiences to the surface again and it becomes easier to not feel. Dissociation also happens simply from believing false truths about the way we should look and feel as determined by society. It’s all around us on TV, on billboards, on Facebook, on Instagram, in magazines (even if we don’t read them they are in our face at the pay points in shops), it’s very hard to avoid.
Shane Koyczan is an award winning spoken word poet and author. His words are powerful spoken truths that creatively get to the heart of an issue.
This piece is not about sexual transgressions but about the false idea of beauty that is sold to us. We lose any idea of who we really are and are taught to hate our bodies.
Healing starts from within and when you step into your hoop you begin to feel your body again and as your body becomes connected to the rhythm of the hoop so you become more connected to your body. This connection feels good, there is no fear and no judgment in it and once this small shift happens it triggers a series of changes in the way we see ourselves, believe in our selves and ultimately in the way we love our selves.
I teach hoop dance because it triggers healing on a fundamental level and the best part is you don’t even have to try, it just happens.
One of my biggest dreams is to create workshops designed to help women reconnect with their bodies in order to empower and heal. I cannot ignore the integral role the hoop has on my healing journey. Let’s face it healing is a journey it doesn’t happen over night. Hooping too is a journey with countless life lessons to be experienced in the safety of the circle.
Is healing through hoop dance something you are interested in?
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