I never wanted to be a leader


My Dad never liked being the one in charge. That’s why he married my Mum. She loved being the leader, and he was happy to be her most loyal supporter. He didn’t ‘lead’ at work either, remaining Assistant Manager of a Horne Brothers Men’s Outfitters branch for over fifty years, only taking the lead for a few weeks each year when the Manager was on holiday. I must take after my Dad because…

I never wanted to be a leader. Leaders are there to be shot down. Leaders take all the criticism, complaints and problems. Leading is lonely.

I remember in the lower sixth form at school, taking on the role of actor, director and producer of the Oak house play, to be performed before the whole school and a panel of judges from the community; journalists, head teachers and clergy. No one else wanted to do it. I adapted and shortened Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound, every copy of the script produced by me on an old Gestetner machine. We rehearsed for weeks, and costumed the play and built the props ourselves. The judges loved it, but the school hated it. Collecting our trophy, I was booed off the stage. I never wanted to be a leader.

When I became a mother, I made decisions for my children when they were small. I did my best to lead by example, making every choice and decision in their best interests. There were days I felt alone, isolated and afraid, but I stuck at it. Supporting them through their schooling and University, I’m so proud of the strong, capable adults they’ve become…but I’m glad they make decisions about their own lives now! I never wanted to be a leader.

At the age of forty I discovered the magic of bellydance, empowering me when I needed it most. I discovered how supportive and wonderful it is for women’s bodies and minds. I never wanted to be a teacher, but I couldn’t keep this power to myself. I knew how important it was. For me, it was never just about the dancing. There’s a special bond between people who dance together. So I put my fears aside and went to college to learn to be a teacher. I began with Phoenix Bellydance, teaching Egyptian bellydance workshops, courses and classes, to girls and women of all ages and abilities. I worked hard to be the best teacher I could, training with Hossam and Serena Ramzy, Katie Holland, Kay Taylor, Charlotte Desorgher and many more.

I discovered ATS Bellydance and Tribal Fusion and attended workshops and classes, happy not to lead, and then my ATS Bellydance teacher asked me to lead a tribe in Wales. For five and a half years, I worked hard to be the best teacher I could be, and to create a safe space for women to be themselves and dance, always respecting the needs, wishes and sensibilites, of all tribe members. I never wanted to be a leader.

I never wanted to be a leader. The move to Wales, the logistics of moving two adults and three cats, and fifteen years of possessions to Wales to live in a tent in a field, took some doing, and all the while, Mum’s healthcare needed to be monitored, fortnightly visits made from Wales to Essex being the outcome, strategies put in place so she’d be visited by friends every week. Meetings and difficulties with scaffolders, thatchers, heating engineers, CADW, planning permissions, councils….I lead the way to get our renovations started, so we could live our life in Wales.

And now I’m done. I’ve spent my life working hard for the good of my school, my children, my dancers, my parents and my partner. I’ve agonised over decisions to try to please everybody. I’ve taken so much flack my protection bubble has dents in it!

We’re nearing Samhain, the end of my year. It is a time to remember those we have lost. I miss my Mum and Dad. It is also the time for reflection of the past year, it’s highs and lows, successes and failures. It is time to decide what to carry forward to the new year and what to leave behind. It is time for new plans and new ideas.

I never wanted to be a leader.


About steelewendy

I'm author, wise woman and goddess, inspiring women to dance and creating magical writing with novels and short stories. To enter the world of Wendy Woo, check out my website www.wendysteele.com.

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