Slice Of Life: ​Of scars, survival and feeling sexy

Still from the film Burlesque. (Supplied)

Still from the film Burlesque. (Supplied)

I was in a car accident a few years ago in which my shoulder was very badly injured. After the operation, in which a metal pin was inserted, I was left with a really big scar. Because it is still really painful most of the time, going to gym to keep active wasn’t an option for me. Besides, I’m a real doll, so can’t be wearing gym clothes and sweating like a pig just to keep fit. After I saw the movie Burlesque, I decided that doing burlesque dancing would be a really elegant and sexy way for me to keep fit.

I found out about this dance company called Rogue Revue Burlesque Company and decided to give a go. I was a bit nervous, but my first class was amazing. It was such a safe, inclusive space – inclusive of women of all shapes and sizes. I didn’t feel conscious of my saggy boobs, my cellulite and stretch marks. I felt really sexy.

When the time for our first studio show came up, I was so nervous stepping out in front of an audience – especially because of this scar on my shoulder. But, you know, my fellow dancers were so encouraging. They were telling me how beautiful my scar is; how every scar tells a story and that the fact that the scar is there, showed my strength as a woman – a woman who has survived.

After a lot of nerves and inner conflict, I stepped onto that stage and did my thing, stripping down to only my nipple caps. It was amazing: the cheering of the audience and the support of the dancers. Also, just seeing how much fun the other dancers were having on stage; how happy and beautiful they looked – despite what people might see as flaws. It was such a liberating experience, feeling confident and sexy in my own skin for the first time … ever.

Tamlynne Thompson, 28, as told to Carl Collison, the Other Foundation’s Rainbow Fellow at the Mail&Guardian

Carl Collison

Carl Collison

Carl Collison is the Other Foundation’s Rainbow Fellow at the Mail & Guardian. He has contributed to a range of local and international publications, covering social justice issues as well as art and is committed to defending and advancing the human rights of the LGBTI community in Southern Africa. Read more from Carl Collison


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