I’m closer every day to being Fiona as I believe I was created to be. The fact that I am sitting here writing in the company of my 18-month-old boy, am married to an incredible husband and soul mate and will get up and practice some dancing soon, as I do on most days, is a testament that I have not and will not let Anorexia Nervosa (AN) take my life.
I am based on the beautiful Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, having relocated here almost five years ago. This relocation was propelled by a moment when Anorexia became particularly life-threatening and I had to surrender to my first hospital admission. During three long months of bed rest and subsequent months of day treatment, I recognised that (a) standard medical intervention is useful for crisis points but not long term treatment for longstanding AN (b) if AN persisted I would continue to need this intervention especially as I had developed Crohn’s and Fibromyalgia (c) recovery living alone and away from family felt insurmountable (d) there was still a deep-seated yearning within me to experience life without AN and an even deeper trust that one day, I would.
I love to dance and have been dancing for most of my life, formally for 30 years. I’m a dance choreographer, performer, movement educator and researcher and for the most part, have been able to pursue my studies and professional practice in these areas despite AN. My approach to movement and dance comes from engagement in a diversity of classical and contemporary dance, somatic, compositional and performance practices both locally and internationally, spanning more than two decades. My artistic works examine a diversity of themes including ageing, natural disaster, loneliness, the ordinary, infirmity and motherhood. Indirectly I see my journey with AN speaking through all of these themes.
Since moving five years ago, my practice has augmented to also specialize in the facilitation and direction of artistic works with artists who recognize as having a disability. In this work I combine both artistic and somatic expertise to support rigorous development processes and professional level performances, ultimately shifting perceptions of what is possible in this arena. I am passionate about supporting individuals to creatively and potently express themselves and tell their stories through dance. This work has been incredibly healing for me. It has shifted attitudes that I adopted from a young age about what kinds of bodies can dance and what is ‘good’ dancing.
For the past three years, I have been actively volunteering as a creative arts movement therapist with the local eating disorders community and re-established my practice teaching Alexander Technique. My explorations in Equine Assisted Narrative Therapy have led to some exciting choreographic work as well as supporting deep healing. My ongoing series of faith-driven dance films, Dancing Fire n Love continue to be created and screened at music festivals throughout the country. I am currently re-writing my book, Body Mapping, which is designed to support people to gain an experiential and practical understanding of how their bodies are designed and how this design moves. I love anatomy and always have.
I keep busy and am intensely devoted to dance and creative expression. I dance to live and I live to dance. It is truly my happy place and mercifully one that AN has never found access to.