When I was a girl, my mother called me bossy: “Francis the Talking Mule.” I must have learned to be bossy from her as she was the one who “wore the pants in our house” as far as I could see and feel. Especially when I was 16 and she lost it by yelling at me, “He’s not your father!” Though this was the first time I had been told this truth she convinced my dad not to talk to me about it. She told me as an adult that she thought: “She’ll get over it!”
Well, my mother’s thought bossed my head around, making me afraid as an adult to ever talk to my dad about why he was not my biological father; I’d thought he was until that fateful day. My mother was mad that I often defended my dad whom I felt loved me! I knew loved me! He even wrote to me in nursing school asking why I had held back my affection from him (since I was sixteen)…yet he was afraid to ask me in person, as was I. Over the years, my fears have transformed into tears of loss.
Mom was the strict one of our fundamental christian family….making even dancing not okay. In elementary school dancing the Virginia reel or the jitterbug didn’t seem to be a problem but when I entered junior high, I would dance slow with a boy and then return home feeling guilty. According to my mother, I was tempting the devil and becoming “worldly.” Of course sex was not really explicitly spoken about except that you do not have sex until you are married. Though I knew people make love, I had no idea there was such a thing as masturbation until I was married at 22.
Anyway, I couldn’t continue to dance with the guilty feeling bossing me around in my head until I began to loosen the grip of my mother’s religious beliefs that had impaled me. I became a hypocrite (according to my mother) in my twenties when I began to dance the hustle during the week and then participate in a more liberal Living Hope church on Sundays.
At age 38 I finally jumped out of the chains of religion, after birthing two beautiful daughters, divorcing my coming out gay husband whom I had married as a Virgin, and becoming a Marriage and Family Therapist. With boyfriends, I began stretching my sexual wings and feeling free. Mostly.
In my fifties, I was dancing 4-5 nights a week and hearing a bossy voice saying, “You should be serving others more; not having so much fun for yourself.” After having become a primal therapist in addition to an MFT…I knew I had to have a session to rid myself of a burdensome guilt! By this time, I had healed a good deal of my childhood pain by becoming a surfboard of rage into my ocean of tears. In this particular session, I was transported into another lifetime: images of being a ballerina on stage, sensing I was in Paris, having lost my career from a broken ankle.
I cried out, “I AM A DANCER!” Since that sobbing session, my guilt is gone, and I dance with the boss of freedom, to be me!