When I was seven, I nearly broke my leg.
I was riding a bike around our neighbourhood – my first time ever without the support of training wheels – and I’d failed to swerved in time to avoid a small protruding road at the side of the street. I tumbled, and my leg twisted as my small body tried to catch it itself from the fall.
I’d ended up with a swollen knee for a week.
But I was whole and intact.
I realised, then, that you couldn’t go through life without suffering at least a few cuts and bruises. Heck, no matter how sheltered you were, you’d still fail somewhere. The point was in getting back up no matter how many times you fell. Even seven-year-old me understood that perfectly.
But ever since I started dancing years ago, I couldn’t help but think that perhaps some things in life just wasn’t cut out for you no matter how much you tried.
I love contemporary dance. I’ve been in my school’s modern dance club since primary school (I’m a Year 1 student in poly now), but in all my years of productions and performances, I’d never once been…chosen.
Recognition is a coveted thing, especially in Singaporean society. Over time, it’s probably become as crucial as water itself to me. I didn’t just want it – I needed it. I craved it desperately. But never never have I ever picked to be in the centre of formation in a performance, or to have a solo part in anything. You’d think – that for someone who had the will of steel – I’d be a little more positive. The type who whispers to herself, “It’s okay, you’ll get your time to shine someday.”
Maybe I’d once been that girl, but even she is slowly fading away.
The fierce hope that somebody – anybody at all – would appreciate the gentle flourish of my arms, the turn out of my feet, our my perfectly balanced triple pirouettes has been diminished to a weak flame.
Of course nobody would ever pay attention to me. They’re too busy trying to perfect their own craft, too.
Recognition is a strange thing. It’s almost akin to a certain kind of validation to dancers such as myself. And to not get it? Makes me feel like my dancing is such a… such a cancelled thing, if that even makes sense. Something I’m not good at. Something I can’t excel at. Sometimes, I wonder if I should just drop it – even dancers younger than me are getting their spotlight.
I wonder if I’ll ever get mine.