The Bellydance Analogy

This story explains how I came to understand and embrace differentiation in my marriage. After I understood this, I no longer felt conflicted about whether to stay or go.

I have been a bellydancer for nearly 8 years. It is a huge part of my life, and it brings me an immense amount of joy. It has also brought me to deep levels of self-acceptance and love that I did not think possible. Dancing is the one thing in my life that forces me to live totally in the moment, and comes from a place of pure beauty and expression within me. Stay with me – this all has a point.

My marriage counselor (Dr. A) asked me about my bellydancing – when I perform, where does the expression and joy come from? And how do people respond to me? I answered that the joy of the dance, the expression of music, is (of course) all coming from within me. Reactions largely fit into two categories: Some people are really into it, they watch, they smile, they clap with the music, some give me money. The others are made visibly uncomfortable. Some even look as if they are exerting great effort to not look at me. I perform for all of them, but will eventually just interact with the ones who are actually watching and enjoying the show. Dr. A asked me, “When they look away, and stare at their plate, does that change your dance?” I replied, “No, of course not, because it’s all coming from within me. I still have to dance with joy and effort.”


This is what Dr. A was trying to get me to understand. I need to be in my marriage the same way I bellydance. If my H stares at his plate, I still have to dance. If he is uncomfortable, I don't stop dancing. If I quit dancing, and turn off my joy and passion, he is controlling me. And I am then not living authentically. In my marriage, I have to be the sexy, seductive, quirky, creative person that I know I am, and not apologize for it. My husband can react by being threatened by it --“stare at the plate”, so to speak or he can engage with me as I truly am. Regardless, he needs to see who I really am. Regardless of how he reacts, I know I am being true to myself.

Now, if he doesn’t engage and celebrate and love me for who I truly am (brainy sexy bellydancer), it will be unfortunate, it will be disappointing, but I will be 100% sure that he is not the right person for me. Being authentic, putting in the best bellydance of my life, and not being afraid of his reaction/disapproval is *the only way* I will be sure.

Much to my surprise, his reaction so far to this approach has been nothing but positive. He is no longer staring at his plate. He seems to be delighted by the real me. As a couple, we are making tiny incremental improvements. I feel unburdened, unafraid, and strong in my resolve to one thing only: being me. I have to find the strength in myself to do the dance. It doesn’t matter how he reacted in the past, or how he reacts now…up to a point. If he checks out again, I will know exactly what to do. But I won’t stop dancing – I will just dance right out the door, and find the table that is smiling and clapping.

So I am committed to staying – for now – while I live this new differentiated role in my relationship. It is a complete and utter revelation. I am dancing my best, truest, most seductive dance. This is the way I will be sure. And no matter the outcome, I know I have acted from a place of Truth.
ModLulu ModLulu
36-40, F
25 Responses Jun 13, 2011

wow, love your help shine some light on to my own situation. I've been holding back my personality and my sexuality since my husband is conservative and frowns upon such behavior. I miss my old self, happy sunshiny self and if he can't handle me then I'll find my happiness without him. Thank you for your story

Good luck with it dear Lulu!!

Hi Lulu
Thank you for your story!! It is full of wisdom and so enlightening. What a beautiful lesson for us all. I am going through something similar at the moment and had similar realizations. You have put it in words so nicely.

What an incredible testimony !
Hope Pooring out Your Heart Helps You.
It's Such an Incredible Gift Knowing Your Constructive Ways can Help and Apply to My Life, minus the belly dancing.

Thank You !

thank you for sharing....I think we can all learn something from your insight.

You sound so strong and happy! I feel like a little mouse in a hole. I have so many passions I want to explore, but somehow my husband always makes me feel like the things I want to do make me a selfish person. I am the ultimate never satisfied wife... he gives me everything and I still want more. I hate when he talks to me like that. I am trying to figure out, exactly why it is that I don't love my husband. That is what he has asked me to do. So #1. I don't love you, because you make me feel like a little selfish mouse in a hole.

That's awsome!

I have a long journey in store for me. I've just started trying to even find my "belly dance".<br />
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I made that all too common mistake of just focusing on what my family wanted to do and just following along with them. Now the kids don't need me so much(18) and I feel trapped. It's definitely my own fault. I know just sitting and waiting around for hubby and kids to be done with their activities is a waste of my own life.

Lulu your story is so inspiring! Thank you for sharing! I hope to one day find your strength!  

Hi Lulu, <br />
This story thrilled me! It's exactly what I needed. <br />
I got into bellydancing (American Tribal Style) about a year ago and it's been a big factor in restoring my sense of my own sexuality after two years of being starved for that part of life. <br />
If I had read this back when my self esteem was getting eaten away I have no doubt that I would have taken it to heart & saved myself a lot of unhappiness. <br />
Thank you so much for posting this - it resonates with truth.<br />
<br />
<br />
P.S. Thank you for commenting on my story. That's how I found this one!

You sound like an incredible woman!!!!!!<br />
<br />
You are a very good writer as well!

Thank you for the kind compliment.

you are so right, I'm glad that you are getting positive feedback from your husband. It could have gone the other way.

What an excellent analogy!

I guess for me it is hard because I learned to be more open and free when I was alone - when I wasn't trying to be a part of any crowd. In my home by myself I feel perfectly comfortable doing anything, out in a city where I don't see anyone more than once I don't care how I dress. I've always been solitary - so now that I'm trying to open up to others (and now more conscious of them when I'm out) I guess it's safe to say I have a childish awkward attitude because of my lack of experience in trying to be a part of other peoples lives. Being solitary just seems to get old at times I realize I gotta push past my comfort zones, but it's hard for me to do by myself. Thinking about it like that, I guess I still sometimes feel alone even when my husband is there because he doesn't push me to do things that would aid my growth - instead leaving me to make all the decisions, making it hard for a solitary to do much out in the world.

Wow, this really is an enlightening story! I too love to belly dance but my fear of being rejected (aka looking silly) keeps me from being totally open and free with it I think. I also think that's what alot of my problem is that is causing me to resent my husband. I feel like he constricts me to the point I just have no clue what to do. The things I feel good about doing I don't get the appreciation I feel I deserve from him - then I get the attitude, well I'm not dressing up for him I'm doing it for myself to feel good, but I just can't help be feel hurt when I don't get any real reaction from him at those times I do go out of my way. The other day was our anniversary, I dressed up in a really nice long red dress and made a special dinner, staying up to surprise him with it (as he was working late) - the only reaction I got was I like the white one better. And I was actually amazed when he gave me a compliment on how good the meal was. I could write on and on about such things but it doesn't get me anywhere, I guess I just feel all around taken for granted.<br />
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But I don't feel myself because I rely too heavily on getting any type of reaction from him - but I don't know how to be myself anymore because of it. If I could just open my mind back up and not allow myself to be influenced by all the negative things that pop up in my life and start dwelling on them. Even in my art, I feel too scattered to focus on one thing - never finishing any project because my mood is ever-changing, that and along with being criticized for creating the art that I love just because I'm not making money off of it like I'd like too - just seems like I'm not meant to be happy at times. But I refuse to quit trying to be happy - I'll find happiness somehow, somewhere...just hope it's soon.

I hope you realize that *it doesn't matter* that you deserve to be noticed and appreciated. The only thing that matters is that you are happy and satisfied doing the fabulous things that you do - dancing, cooking, dressing up, whatever. Keep on mind that your H's reaction to and/or participation in your fabulous life gives you important information as well.

Also -- gotta stop thinking about looking silly. You will never get better at bellydance if you constantly worry about that. Just focus on the music.

"Act from a place of truth" -- yes!!!<br />
<br />
You are a wise woman, dear Lulu. May we all take to heart your beautiful AHA moment. Bless you!!!

Wonderful!! This is a major insight to have. It's really what I've realized in the past couple of years, and it has turned things around in my marriage, too. I no longer look to anyone but myself for my own happiness, when I am being really truthful with myself. Thanks for sharing this -- this is really important for all of us to understand within ourselves.

Inspiring, ModLulu. <br />
<br />
I feel like I need to learn to bellydance.

It is wonderful and inspirational to know that being true to yourself does pay off in the end. I think that sometime all we see is failure on the part of our spouses, and some are indeed very toxic, but many do want to try and make it work. I love how you are true to what and who you are are, and your husband is desirous of meeting you in a common place of love and affection and is following your example of strength, acceptance and love of self and of each other. May you have much continued success and immeasurable joy,

Lulu, you never cease to amaze me. You have been able to hang on, to do the work that it takes to find yourself and to find time to help others in their own quest at the same time. I know that all I have been through that I really need to stay true to myself. I know that I keep losing myself to the problems my wife has brought to our relationship and family. I keep wanting - no NEEDING to fix it and to change to become anything she would want me to be so she will be happy and in love with me again. When really, if she is going to love me, she needs to love me for who I am. Your story is inspiring - I just hope I have one ounce of the strength you have displayed.

Stunning. A beautiful analogy and very wise words indeed! LIVE with the joy that is in your heart Lulu, there are plenty of people out there who will clap and appreciate your beautiful dance with a welcoming smile.

Good for you, Lulu! Dance from your heart!

Wow, I love your story! I am so happy that your husband is responding postitively towards you. I wish you continued success!

Being you, with confidence and not second guessing what you should do, is what freedom in a relationship is about.Not having to pretend to be happy...but just being happy...not pretending to agree or diss-agree..but just giving an honest response...if you can have that...well...then you will do well...I wish you every continues success.

Rated up, up, up!!!! Beautifully expressed Lulu - and such a perfect analogy! So glad your Dr A was able to help you see this in such a clear and lovely way. Long may your DH appreciate and enjoy the authentic Lulu!! [[[hugs]]]