I hope you dance

by Charlotte Fantelli

I hope you dance.

I am a heavy rock fan. The darker and more powerful the better - a band without chains and leather is usually a band I've never heard of. So this video choice may surprise you, but stay with me on this....

Back before I was a mum, I was an aunty to four beautiful boys (well I still am!) one Christmas I made a video of them all and laid this track over the top. To me the lyrics encapsulated everything I dreamed for them. 

It is how I have lived my life, it is what I wish for my son, and now I ask you to play the video and scroll through my ramblings... I really do hope that you dance too xx

This is me when I was little - well in age, I did like my food :-)

And my beautiful mum.

As a child I loved to dance...

I danced, everywhere, all the time... In fact spent more time on my hands than my feet.

I was no angel, but I felt like I had wings.

My mum was agoraphobic from when I was nearly three after a very difficult period of her life, which included a divorce from my dad.

For eight years my mum battled chronic panic attacks, agoraphobia and tranquilliser addiction.

I kept dancing...

Hoping one day, she would dance with me...

At around eight I remember suffering panic attacks too...

But I kept dancing...

At ten my mum started to get better and met a man, a friend of a neighbour.

It was strange, I suppose at ten-years-old you still hope daddy will come home.

But I kept dancing...

My new 'pop' drank too much.

But she loved him... I loved him...

He hurt her, he hurt me.

It was hard to dance.

But I kept dancing...

I got with guys so early on, searching, hoping...

I was raped at 13.

Panic attacks grew worse, sleeplessness, flashbacks - terrified of the dark.

But I kept dancing...

I fell into the arms of someone that I trusted, that should have known better.

The last of my innocence was taken.

My dancing changed...

But I kept dancing...

I danced through different places, different schools, different towns...

Through different friends, different men...

Through fight after fight.

At 19, I thought I knew it all... I sure thought I knew pain!

I was wrong.

I lost my baby girl, and one day I may just be able to open up about how, but right now I think the only way to describe the pain is to say -

I stopped dancing.

I lost my flight, my dance. My life turned black. The darkness closed in and so did I. I felt pain,anger and hate (for myself more than anyone else).

If it wasn't because I couldn't do it to my mother, who loved me so much, I would have died to free myself from the pain.

PTSD, agoraphobia, OCD, eating problems, insomnia, addicted to bad men and self destruction, a psychotic episode (all prior diagnosis at some point or another) - call it what you will, 'A rose by any other name' - has thorns just as bloody sharp!

Two years in hell, and I say that from the heart of someone who believes in hell, so forgive me if you think me blasphemous.

I thought I would never dance again.

July 2005 I hit rock bottom, I cried out to a God I had never known and asked Him to let me die or let me live - not keep me this way.
I promised I would change and help others who have been through the same pain if I was allowed to dance again.
I cried for the first time in what seemed like forever.
And somewhere deep, deep inside, unbeknown to me I found something that still longed to dance.
Baby steps turned into big leaps and soon after beginning to leave the house I met a man. I fell in love.
I found a psychologist who helped me deal with the past.
I had CBT to help me deal with the present.
And soon that little bit of hope that allowed me to believe I would dance again turned into a tapping foot, then a skip...
Then a dance...
This time I had my husband by my side. 
There was a time I couldn't go into the garden as the outside world held so much fear.
I have now been dancing again for over five years.
I have flown to Sardinia, my husbands birthplace, I have become a mum, I have launched a magazine to the news trade, met celebrities and been interviewed on TV!
I continue my battle.
But I keep dancing...
Photo above from top: Me and - Ruby Wax, with my Italian Mama having ice-cream in Italy, my husband Gabriele Fantelli, my business partner Simon Dolan, on the Michael Ball show with Dr Rob Hicks, my son on the first day of nursery, the Dragon's (Theo Paphitis, Deborah Meaden, Hilary Devey, Duncan Bannatyne and Peter Jones)
And just to let you know, so is my mum, you may know her by now - Liz Lockhart.
There is just one thing left to say, and that is:
I hope you dance x


Truly inspirational, thank-you x

Thank you so much for saying so x

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You are such an amazing person, you always have been and always will be. You are an amazing mum, wife and friend. you are an inspiration to us all. Love you loads. x x x

Thank you so much Dans, you too are an inspiration, love you loads xx

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Isn't my daughter truly amazing? I'm so very proud of her and what she is now doing for others.

Thanks mum.... The lady who taught me to dance, and never stay down! X

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wow! you will find there is a rare occassion for me to be speechless but this was beautifully done and the song befits your msg you are coneying... I myself at times loose my ability to dance but never for long.. you are an amazing gal who has overcame so much and some day I would love to hear about your loss of your baby girl...

Thank you so much for saying so. It was a very hard post to write - especially using the R word for the first time publicly! One day I will share more. Thanks again for encouraging me and letting me know that sharing these things is worthwhile x

Nice touch, love the second photo a perfect portrayal of innocence and beauty . Keep up the good work. x

I am touched by all the comments, every time I hear your words of encouragement it makes what I am doing that much easier. Thank you x

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Beautiful post Charlotte - thank you!! This song means a lot to me too and has been one of those important life songs.. Though I have the Leanne Rhymes version :-)

You've had one heck of a journey - thank you for sharing. xx

I haven't heard the Leanne Rhymes version... I will be straight on youtube! It has been quite a journey, but I am so blessed to be where I am today and I won't forget that, thanks for your kind comments x

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Wow! What a story. Thanks so much for inspiring me to dance again x

I have a tear in my eye, thank you x

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Thank you for sharing. As a survivor of domestic violence I know just how hard this can be. You are doing so much for so many people - keep on dancing Charlotte x

Thank you for your comment. It can be very hard and I hope you have the support you need too. I am so pleased you liked the post x

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Thank you for bravely sharing. It is wonderful the way that God is helping you turn your life around positively.

Thank you, I am very blessed and will never forget: To have been given the second chance, to have a loving husband, and to blessed enough to share it now with others is truly miraculous x 

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Charlotte you are such an amazing, inspirational person and I was moved to tears by your beautiful, poignant poetry and images. You have had such a tough journey through life yet you are ever the optimist and what you are doing for people like us is absolutely awesome. Thank you, so, so, much Charlotte, for sharing so openly. I too have often danced in the rain, have feared God, and am only here today because of my amazing mum. Keep on dancing and making such a huge difference to people's lives -- you are a true inspiration x

And your reply moved me too... Thank you. I feel that you coming on board with us was meant to be and am so glad that you too are sharing your remarkable story. 

Dancing in the rain is fun - it must be done :-)

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I just had my first therapy session for sexually child abuse last week...and I am going back!!! Your story is amazing for us all to show that we can do it...we can over come...we are amazing adults of evil childhoods...but, with God's help...I am still dancing!!! ALL MY LOVE!

Thank you SO much for sharing this with me, it is AMAZING that so early on into your therapy you have such a positive and wonderful outlook. I am sure with this optimism and strength you will get so much from therapy. Very best wishes for the future. Bless you so much for commenting, it really has made my day x

I love dance and it helps me love life. I dance when I feel stressed and afterwards I feel lifted. When I'm not dancing physically, I'm doing it in my mind and this sets my thoughts free. I was a gymnast when I was young but dance is something we can do all out lives. Inspiringly heart warming. Thank you. x Lisa B

Thank you so much for sharing this with me. Dance and movement is such a powerful thing that as you say can 'lift' us. Everyone has something that 'moves' their soul, whether dance or art or nature... Never let that go, and thank you again x

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