By Guest Blogger Tamara Mena
This picture shows one of my passions since I was very little: Dancing!- especially dancing with my loved ones!
Growing up in Mexico, the way my family is and the way I was raised, we danced at every get-together. I would always be one of the first to get out on the dance floor, excited to dance and show off my moves! After my accident, it was very hard because once paralyzed, I could no longer do one of the things I loved the most, dance. The hardest part was that as a true latina, I mostly danced with my hips, butt, legs and loved challenging people (since I was in good shape and good at doing squats) to go up and down numerous times shaking my hips. Well, once I was paralyzed, obviously this was no longer possible. Yes, I knew I could “still dance in a chair,” but it was very hard for me to feel the music and dance in my chair because what I loved to shake and move could no longer be moved or danced with, not really…
I vividly remember saying to another person in a wheelchair (in a room full of people in wheelchairs really getting down and truly feeling the music), “I just don’t know how to ‘wheelchair dance.’ I don’t know how I’m supposed to dance.” I could not be more awkward in that room, and this person said to me, “We’re not ‘wheelchair dancing,’ we’re just dancing.” Ouch that hurt. He was right, but it took me a while to get to this place.
I don’t care what people think- if I look funny dancing in my chair, if guys want to dance with me, if I can only dance with my arms, if my balance is off when I dance… It’s been several years that I don’t care about all of that. I dance in my car, in my room, at the club or in a room full of people. I’m perfectly fine dancing with what I got, which I’m deeply thankful for. I am thankful because I have been able to relearn the joy of dancing in this world because even if I now sit lower and have to dance “differently,” I’m still dancing !! And of course thank you to everyone who’s been part of this journey and beautiful and unforgettable times. Like that person said to me, “I’m just dancing.” So dance away “like no one is watching, and live life like it’s heaven on earth.”