“Where are you heading, to the block?”
— “No, “ I said, ignoring the accusation that I had somehow began a career as a prostitute since he had last seen me, “I’m going to this salsa place, you should come check it out.”
The person who didn’t give a 2nd thought about calling me a street walker was actually one of the brothers I had met in the mosque. And by most muslim standards, he was right.
I mean here I was, alone at night, wearing a t-shirt and form-fitting pants, hair uncovered..
My ankles were exposed. *gasp*
The truth is, just months prior, I probably would have thought the same thing had I run into me. I mean who was this person, boldly walking around like an adult or something. I was a self-disciplined, conservative woman with high moral standards and spiritual compass. I wasn’t supposed to be out there. I was supposed to be in the house, at the mosque, or somewhere safe engaging in an acceptable activity with other muslims.
Certainly not strutting around the streets at night, going to dance with strange men that I wasn’t married to.
It was at this moment I realized something had shifted. I know I had gone down the slippery slope at some point, but what was the tipping point?
The truth is, I tried all those other things I was supposed to be doing. Somehow in the midst of it all I found myself sitting in an empty house night after night staring at blank walls trying to figure out what to do. All the prayer in the world and chatting with friends in other cities didn’t get me out of my slump. Allah hates divorce, but I hate my husband. What’s a gal to do?
I had kicked my husband out of the house and filed for divorce.
This led me to my black hole. I was too ashamed to face the community or tell anyone what was happeneing, so I avoided the mosque like the plague. I didn’t want to have to answer any questions about my personal life, and I didn’t want to witness hypocrisy in real time.
Somewhere along the line, I decided to stop sitting around feeling sorry for myself and get out of the house. All that was holding me back was
my self-accusing spirit, conscience, a bunch of rules in my head about what I couldn’t and shouldn’t do. I finally stopped ruminating and started moving.
So why salsa?
Earlier that year, I had started going to the gym only to tag along with a friend that was trying to lose weight. I figured I could stand to get in shape, so why not. That’s when it happened. I saw the group exercise room packed with people, lights out, music pumping, and a 4 1/2′ woman with long hair standing on the stage.
I had to see what this was.
I later found out, after edging my way into the back of the room, that this “thing” I was witnessing was called Zumba. I always loved music and could never dance, but with the lights out and an instructor to follow, I felt safe. The energy from the people and the instructor was magnetic. So I joined in, and the rest is history.
My Zumba addiction led me to the delusional belief that I could dance salsa. I mean, it was pretty much the same steps, same rhythm, just with a partner….right?
So how did I go from delusional Zumba groupie to salsa dancing in Puerto Rico?
More next post…