Triggered by Trauma – S Factor, Level 6, Week 1

When I pole dance, depending on the day, the mood and probably who I’ve last had sex with, you may encounter 1 of 3 iterations of my Erotic Creature, as Sheila Kelley S Factor calls it. See “The Emotional and Sexual Core of a Siren” to understand “Erotic Creature.”

You may encounter, ISIS, SLY or Sheena. See “The Rage of Isis and Counting Bodies Like Sheep for a definition of ISIS. See Trouble? Who, me? and In My Defense for a definition of SLY. In short ISIS is a lethal dominatrix and SLY is a flirtatious tease.

When I dance as Sheena however, its entirely something else. Lets go back to two post I’ve written before, first.

In Heartbreak, written in August 2012, I wrote,

 Beth and Ilov are on a crusade to see my soul.  They both have been gently pushing me to expose my vulnerability. They are suggesting that I surrender and let go and I didn’t realize I was still holding on. I’ve been holding on in an attempt to keep it all organized and to keep it together. I believe we have to be our own source so I find solace in strength and self-protection. And even though I’m no longer building walls and I’m letting people in, there’s always another layer to peel. And boy, are they PEELING my layers away one assignment and one suggestion at a time. Lord, help me before I crack wide open.

In  Someone Has to be The Sacrifice, written in June 2012, I wrote

Beneath [ISIS] the domme, there is small, pure energy balled up, full of vulnerability. The best way to describe it is to imagine a tiny baby kitten, innocent, vulnerable and exposed but if you hold up a mirror to that kitten, you get a ferocious, loud, screaming mountain lion trying to burst through the mirror. Or on one side of the mirror is a little child,  in a white dress with pig tails  and on the other side of the mirror is a domme in a latex cat suit, seven inch heels, whip, chains, medusa-snake hair, spikes, daggers and fire. And she is pouncing, scratching, smacking, hitting and spitting.  One side of the mirror, the vulnerable side of me can’t even maintain eye contact and on the other side, that part of me could kill you with a glare. Most often, my classmates and teachers are used to seeing the domme with a rare occurrence of that pure, exposed, vulnerable energy making an tiny, itsy-bitsy appearance. It seems, from many of my teachers, knowing there is something there, they are asking me to show more of her. I wonder if I’m willing to take the risk. I wonder if I can let my domme guard down long enough to dance an entire song as the raw, little girl.

It happened once. During the S Factor immersion. Do you watch Fringe? I’m a huge fan! Olivia, one of the main characters has this power that at first is triggered by trauma but as the show progresses she learns to harness it on her own. Sort of like how I learned to harness the power of my real life siren and how I learned to harness the power of ISIS the domme Siren when I dance. Well, apparently, that exposed, vulnerable little ball of energy that lives right in the gut of ISIS, so far has only been triggered by trauma.

That is Sheena. When I dance as Sheena it is pure, vulnerable, exposed energy. I think its a combination of the child I would have been had I never been touched as well as the brokenness that was left because I was. And that erotic creature….that siren……”Sheena” is what they keep asking for when I dance. I’ve only danced that way twice before. Both of which, Bernadette has been witness to. Actually, all three times…because this post is about the 3rd time, Bernadette has bare witness too. Fascinating!

I want to share another quote from that same post, Someone Has to be The Sacrifice

 “Well, we know who’s in charge,” Beth, my dance instructor stated after my dance. I nodded in agreement. “She’s very rawr! That’s the core of your EC. Keep that,” she said.

“It’s like, you can look but don’t you fucking touch!” I added.

She nodded in agreement, “But maybe, you wanna try giving the person in the chair a chance?” I looked at her. It resonated with the suggestions Ilov, my Sunday dance instructor had been giving. “And maybe there is something there or maybe not. But we know who’s in charge. That was hot!” she added.

Her comments reminded me of my last class with Ilov. In a few classes I’ve slowed my song choices down to melodies and ballads. Only sometimes though. My classmates, while used to the raging devil in me, note the difference. “There was softness in you today,” one classmate said as I danced to “Last Love Song,” by ZZ Ward. Last week Ilov said, “I wonder who she’d be like if she was loved properly. If she had been cared for and protected.” I nodded but it resonated deeper than a nod. If an EC is the physical embodiment or outward expression of your sexuality and sensuality, despite my healing journey, at her core….she was not protected. “I wonder what it would be like for us to see her more. We know you’ll protect her. Your EC will protect her but maybe we want to let that vulnerable part out more,” she said.

Breathe, Sheena.

So we fast forward to March 10th, where I prepare to return to S Factor after an almost 2 year hiatus. The S Factor that changed my life, that inspired over 50+ blog posts, that led to “Moving Meditation”  and more. And I was so excited and so happy and so ready to get my Sexy Siren Dominatrix back on. Yet hours before the class, I posted on facebook, “Today, which is only 1/3 of the way over has been one of those days!!! So for pole dance class tonight, I need a song I can get lost in. A song I can let go in or have a fit in. Any recommendations? I want the music to engulf me so that it drowns out all the dumb fucks in the world. I want the song to be so epic that I get out of my head and just let my body take over.” Crowdsourcing music recommendations for freestyle dance is great. My friends were amazing. Their list is included in a graphic at the end of this post.

By the time class started, I was ready to get in the zone. I had a feeling I was going to throw this epic ISIS type fit and it would be fierce but still hot and I’d work out my psychosis and it would all be so prolific. Based on all of my friend’s suggestions, I decided to go with Elastic Heart by Sia and I was ready.

And yet when the music started, it seemed my movement was only scratching the surface of what needed to be touched. I couldn’t put my finger on it but whatever I needed to let go of or get lost in, wasn’t happening. I was having a fit but somehow it was all in my head. My teacher, Ilov, faded my song out, placed me in a chair and asked if she could select a song for me. As I sat, she told me, “Do not move until you feel compelled to move.” Then she hit play.

First, all I did was breathe. I just inhaled and exhaled. And then I started to cry. I recall my first movements included dragging my hands across my face and in my hair. Not to cover or wipe my tears away but to connect to them. To acknowledge that they were real and that this was happening. Taking that deep breathing sigh then melted me. Inside and in my motion. I melted into the chair. I recall my movement involved lots of melting, lots of repetitive motions…such as just dragging my foot back and forth against the wood floor. And there were lots of tears. Lots of surrendering and releasing. Lots of letting go.

And it was only later when listening to the song again that I heard some of those words such as, ‘And all we are is dust.” and “Is this how it goes?” and “No one sees their end.”

After my dance, Ilov checked in with me. She told me my first song, Elastic Heart by Sia made me internalize whatever was going on with me. And she wanted to give me a song that would let me let it out.

I let Sheena out.

Because I had been trigger by trauma.

By stress of life, of added responsibilities, of heart break, of an insatiable appetite, of missing my best friend, of wanting to just be seen and held….and mostly….

I had been triggered because I missed my friend. I miss Nneka and I can feel the loss of her. I can note how moments of my life happen and how those are moments I want her to be a part of. They are moments I want her commentary on. I want her laughter and her sassiness. I want to tell her what happened and why I gave that guy another chance. I want her to eat with me. I can quite literally feel my life without her and though there is healing and though her spirit lives on, my life without her now….it just doesn’t feel good. And I feel sad and exposed and hurt. I miss my friend. And that utter loss, it brought me to surface.

I mentioned earlier how Bernadette, has actually been witness to the three times I’ve danced as “Sheena.” Once during the S Factor Immersion.  In which I wore a white dress…the same dress I wore to Tinu’s funeral. I was blindfolded and I danced to “Devil’s Thunder” by Rachal Cantu.

I actually talk about this dance in “Someone Has to Be the Sacrifice.” I wrote,

I don’t want to write on the specifics that triggered the little girl to come out.  She exposed herself during the Sheila Kelley S Factor Immersion where we met for 10 days exploring movement, feminine philosophy and more. We’d been given the assignment of dancing blindfolded. Because of an incident that happened, I wanted to dance to what I deemed, “The Sheena Song,” I didn’t want to dance as Isis or Sly. I didn’t want to be a tease, a flirt or anything to do with sexy. I felt raw. My body felt hurt. My voice felt silenced. I needed something to bring me back to center.

I picked “Devil’s Thunder” by Rachal Cantu. I picked a white dress, the one I wore to Tinu’s funeral. The moment my teacher put the cloth around my eyes, I started creating the story of this dance. In my head, I called it “Someone Has To Be The Sacrifice.”

After my teacher blindfolded me, she led me around the room so that I would lose my bearings. As she did this I mentally created the backstory. I had been captured and held prisoner by a religious cult. Tonight they were leading me blindfolded through their underground dungeon tunnels to their sacrificial offering altar. As they chanted and led me through the hallway barefoot, blindfolded and in a white dress, there were others just watching waiting for my blood to spill. Waiting for my pound of flesh. Waiting to devour my essence.

And then the song begin.  Oh Lord, have mercy on me, please pull me from this heat. My hands are burning and I can’t feel my feet. This wasn’t how my life was to be.  I’m going down with the devil’s thunder. I’m going down. So throw me some water. Throw me some water. Water. You said last time in old Quebec, you’re a child of comfort, of guilt and regret. It’s no wonder you feel you’re going down.

How I danced that day in class was something I’d never experienced before. I felt as if I wasn’t dancing as an EC. I danced Sheena’s story. I was searching for a way out. Searching for freedom. Searching for water and air. My movements reflected these emotions. The subtleties were in everything I did. The extensions. The reach. And I just didn’t want to die. I didn’t want to burn anymore. I didn’t want to thirst anymore. I didn’t want to go down with the devil’s thunder. I don’t want to be the sacrifice. The sacrifice is a victim and I will not allow myself to ever be victimized again. This dance was my search for water. For life affirming, life giving, eternal water.

While I’ve never danced to that full extent since that day, as mentioned, there have been glimmers of it in a dance or two. From the feedback of various teachers, it would seem, they want me to show that little girl in the white dress looking for water once again. I’m willing even though I don’t quite feel ready.

Over dinner last night, I explained to Bernadette about what happened the second time she had seen me dance this way. It was about ACCEPTING that I had lost the love of my life.…that he had chosen everyone over me. It was accepting, acknowledging and feeling that our love once was and was no more. It was having to be real about my anger and frustration that I’d always be a whisper, that I could never speak outloud and that he got to just keep going. Everyone got to keep going and I was left. I was left and not chosen.

We were excited that our love could move mountains,

But we forgot about the landslides it would create.

We neglected to total the cost of the environmental impact,

That loving each other would take.

I believe the earth is now calling for her retribution.

Although she says it would not give us any absolution.

So that is what happened during week one of dance class.. After two years, after everything, my first dance…it had nothing to do with sexiness or eroticism or sensuality..even though everything is sensual. It was a dance of release and loss. After all this time,

And maybe, to reframe it all, its not that dancing as Sheena is trigged by trauma. Maybe, its that dancing in the sanctuary of S Factor gives me the courage to be vulnerable. Because aside from my close friends like Lola or Bernadette, I don’t know that I have many places in my life where it is safe for me to be broken, exposed and vulnerable. So just like I’m grateful S Factor gives me a sacred space to explore and express my erotic sensibilities, I’m also grateful it gives me a place to be exposed and tender.

For some people, this concept might seem crazy or unheard of. Or they still just think stripper when they hear pole. Or they just think whore when they hear sexual or erotic. Its more to it than that. See below, “The First Offense” as an example of how sometimes its about being exposed and open.


Teacher: Ilov Grate

Class: Level 6, Week 1, Make Up class

Studio: Sheila Kelley S Factor New York

Song: Elastic Heart by Sia, Dust by Ben West

Playlist of Possibilities: See Graphic Below. (Click for larger view)

"trigger by trauma – s factor, level 6, week 1" -

Do you experience dances like this? Not ones that have you broken down in a corner, in a fetal position for 3 minutes. But ones that still involve authentic, expressive movement as you explore the idea of vulnerability?

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Sheena LaShay is a Wild Magical Woman, Intellectual Sensual Shaman and Cultural Provocateur. Keeping it simple, you could say she's a Writer and an Erotic Artist.
Showing 3 comments
  • Lola

    Sheena. You are amazing. You are beautiful. You truly inspire me.

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