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rise up

I was brought up by a very liberal mum in a very liberal town (Amsterdam) and I really don’t have issues with the way I look, I’m quite comfortable in my own skin, but somehow the fear thing of wearing „too little“ especially late at night is quite a difficult one to get past.

It is sad that people judge girls and or women for wearing clothes that they find a little too revealing. Just look away if you can't handle it, how many times do we have to turn our eyes away when a man walks around with no top on, why is it ok for a man to reveal skin, but not for a woman?

I have two daughters and one of them is in full-on teenager mode. She likes wearing crop tops and heck if I had a belly like that I would wear one too, providing it is day light and I'm with other people.

I feel it is a great shame that we have to consider what we wear instead of just wearing what we feel like wearing for the worry of being mistreated, prowled upon or worse…

By the time I was 18 I knew of 4 girls who were molested, two of which were raped. By the time I was 25 years old that number had gone up quite considerably. I have always felt very self conscious about getting the tube, bus or cab late at night. In fact I almost never travelled alone and if I did I had probably covered myself up well, I walked with keys in between each finger, never had headphones on - so that I could be hyper vigilant and hear every sound and I often walked past my own house just to make sure I wasn't being followed. By the time I was 11 I decided to learn to play nunchaku (martial arts) so that I would be able to defend myself against any incoming threats, but that career was short lived, I didn't really get on with the padded sticks...

I know that that is all part of my trauma healing. To this day I don't really know what happened to me as a young girl and I'm ok with that. I know now that my poor memory had little to do with being dumb and everything to do with my survival mechanism.

I can be grateful for the lack of memories, because they helped me survive.

I am relieved to know there's nothing wrong with me. I secretly always knew I wasn't dumb, I just couldn't get the voice out that told me I was.

I know now that I just zone out when things get too much. I once zoned out during a performance, it was the scariest experience, I was on stage and my mind went blank completely, it took what felt like an hours to get my brain back, probably was only a few seconds, but after that I was done with dancing. I didn't want for that to happen ever again.

For me it's important that people learn to feel confident and safe in their bodies.

In my classes I try to encourage to feel what's happening within, to be able to stay within the boundaries. I have broken many of my own boundaries in and out of class, but I know feeling is the best way for me to not zone out and stay in my safe zone.

Where do you feel safe? What boundary do you break when you push too hard and are not listen to what your body is telling you?

Movement based practices can be so helpful in healing trauma, this is why sometimes the tears roll out of the pockets of your eyes before the mind has caught on what the release is about. Body awareness, along with psychotherapy may be your best chance to uncover and heal from your trauma, to be able to feel safe and stay within your boundaries, through feeling into your feet and moving slowly, so that the mind can realign once again with that body is holding. I hope to reeducate the bodies I have the honour in having in front of me, through movement & breath, relaxation & un-doing so that you can be a bit more adept at handling the situations life throws at you. So that you can be ready to express and communicate from an authentic place within and not just from the battle armour you have become so accustomed to. I want nothing more than for people to feel safe in the skin they're in. Not something that many people have the privilege of feeling. I know it’s something I still struggle with sometimes, when I’m on my own in the forest or alone in the street at night.

I know we are so lucky to live in this part of the world where everything is pretty safe, where we are educated for free, where we can make informed decisions for and about our own bodies and I appreciate the hardship so many people are suffering around the world. This recent news has devastated me, along with all the other news that overwhelms me, but I'm trying to inspire myself into vocalising and expressing, so that may be I might inspire just one other person to do the same and if each person inspires one other person than we might get quite a long way.

Let's say no - not good enough, together. Wether it is the decisions made about our bodies AND

Or about the order of the land we live on; the oceans we swim in; the air we breathe.

Time to Rise Up sisters and brothers.

Sitting back and watching the world go by, was once a privilege, but is no longer a viable option.

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