The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Edited by: Shriya Bhat
This article is an effort. An article trying to express something when it feels like I’ve forgotten how to. Like I have lost all means of expression, or at least all that mattered to me. It’s like being used to flying all my life and then learning how to walk. Like my wings have turned to ash and my legs are weak, not used to the burden they are now forced to carry. I am trying. If you are feeling like me too, or have at any time in the past felt like me, then this article is for you.
So, some context: I’m a dancer, or more accurately, I used to be one (the heartbreak of using past tense here is real). I’ve been formally trained for 7 years in Kathak and then danced for two more years without formal training. For a huge part of my life, dance was how I expressed myself. I poured my heart and soul into it, and it became a huge part of my identity. People knew me as the girl who could not stand still to save her life — be it morning assemblies in school or standing in queues. Even at a debate, there had been a time where I had been told off by my teacher, her words being that I “move too much like a dancer and not like a person in debate is supposed to” (lol).
Then, life happened, and I had to stop dancing for a while. Then, life happened some more, and I got an injury that stopped me from being able to do the most basic of things for the longest while.I have still not fully healed from it. Something within me aches to dance, to wear my ghungroo again and start from square one. And I can’t. It breaks my heart. It’s like an itch that can’t be scratched, like Tantalus reaching for a low hanging fruit he could not ever eat.
It’s not just an urge to dance; at this point, it is an urge to create something that comes from within, through my body or mind. When I stopped dancing, I had moved on to reading and writing. I started writing because it was cathartic, then actually fell a little in love with it. I would have words swarming in my mind, always having something to say at any given point of time. Even when I was low, I was never at a loss for words. But not anymore. Now, I call out to myself in my mind and I only hear unintelligible noises. It is deafening. I am choking on this violent silence. It has weighed on me in every breath, like a boulder on my chest, daring me to live as it kills me. Taunting me to fight a losing battle. I am already a prisoner of this war.
If I am not writing or dancing, then am I fully myself? Have I lost something fundamental to who I am forever? People ask me if I’m okay, but how do I tell them that I’m not, without a voice? What am I to do with these hands that don’t write like they used to? With my body that has stiffened up? Most importantly, what do I do with all this grief that I have for myself? My identity is at stake here.
The answer to me is obvious. This article is me writing what I already know. I know a lot of the things I am feeling are coming from irrational places. In Gen Z terminology, it really does not have to be that deep (I say knowing that it is quite deep, but it does not HAVE to be). I cannot dance now, because of my injuries, but that does not mean I never can. I would have to start from square one, but it is possible. There is loss, but there is still hope. As far as writing is concerned, I am writing something. It may not be something I like or something I am proud of, and it definitely is not coming to me as naturally as I would like for it to, but it is still mine. And even if I lose these things that defined me once, there can be different things that can be my future. There is hope in change, hope for progress. There is loss too. I wish I could have given this article a more hopeful ending, but trying to embrace change is the most optimistic thing anyone can do sometimes, and I think that’s okay.