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Living Someone Else's Dream

I am from the Middle East, from a very big family who have roots in Jordan, Palestine, Egypt. As a female from a big family, I was raised to behave. I wasn’t allowed to laugh loudly because it was considered impolite.

I am sure my mum and dad had a very hard time raising me. I was a hand full, naughty, and have always had my own mind. Having them as my parents wasn’t easy for me either, but I always told myself, "They raised me the way they knew, and they wanted me to be a good woman".

If I ever asked my parents what their dream for me was, their answer would be to get a good education, get married and have a family. These were the society dreams or expectations for every female.

If I was asked however what my dream was, it would be to become a belly dancer; a dream I never dared to say loudly because according to my family rules, belly dancing was not a respectful thing at all. Showing so much skin and doing sexy moves was not a thing that they would be acceptable in their eyes.

I remember once my mum told me before going to a wedding party, "Dance respectfully". I didn’t understand what that was supposed to mean. And until today, I still don’t know what 'dancing respectfully' means. All I know is that I lose my senses while dancing; I become another person who forgets about family, rules, and reputations. I just dance.

I grew up, graduated from the university with a master degree in computer science, got married and had a family. My degree helped me in migrating to Australia. But those things never fulfilled me. They weren’t my dream, they were someone else’s dream. They were the society, culture and family dreams, and standard for the 'successful woman'.

At the age of forty, everything fell apart when I got divorced. Apparently, my husband wasn’t happy with me. I decided that I didn’t want to pursue my career in computer science. It was so stressful for me. In all honesty, I was lost. I lost hope, faith, I didn't have any vision or dream for the future.

The universe soon sent some people to help me; a group of spiritual people who with their help, I restored my meaning of life again. One of my spiritual teachers told me, "Do the things that make you happy. It took me a while to put dancing on my list again as one of the things that make me happy".

To my surprise, not only was I able to put on some music and lose myself with dancing when I was feeling down, but I also started to teach other people how to be happy. To open the bag that they had stored all their happy memories and things that they loved to do in life, and how to bring it out again into their lives.

Uh, I also laugh loudly, as loud as I can, and I don’t care what people may say.

Today I am a spiritual healer, teacher, and counselor. A job that not only fulfills me, but makes me happy. It's a job in which I am truly living my dream.

Zahra'a Lafal

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