I have been writing for The Daily Feels for almost 4 years. Most of the people who read the things that I write are the people who witness my life firsthand, and somehow still care enough to read about it anyway.
(Hi Mom and Dad and Cav. Hello Reesey, and hiiii Ansh.)
However, I’d like to believe that I don’t really know some of you out there, and it’s weird to imagine that your only impressions of me come from the little glimpses I provide you. The theme of the month here at The Daily Feels is, “What makes YOU come alive?”
A few years ago, I started doing everything I possibly could to immortalize my favorite moments. I switch up my tactic each year, unconsciously searching to find the best ways for my memories to stick around. One year it was printing out all of my favorite pictures each month and pinning them to a bulletin board accordingly. Another year it was taking a one second video everyday for 365 days. Recently, in 2022, I have been journaling all of the good things that have happened each month. I guess it’s my way of overcompensating for my fear that memory is temporary. Looking back on those moments, a lot of them feel staged or posed or fake. It’s almost as if my attempts at remembering life stopped me from commemorating its most authentic components. It makes me feel sad for the other moments – the ones lost in some intersection between time and space.
However, if you have been paying attention to what I write, you’ve already read a lot about what makes me come alive – family and friends, stories and words, feelings and fears. I guess it’s here, on The Daily Feels, with all of you reading, where I try to make up for those lost moments. And yet sometimes, words fail.
If I had to choose one part of life that makes me come alive, it’s probably the one thing I’ve avoided writing about for the past 4 years. Although I’ve alluded to it, I realized yesterday that the reason I’ve never written about it in depth is because the feeling is so indescribable. As you all should know, I have been into the performing arts since I was a little girl. What started out as singing throughout my house, became years and years of musical theater and competitive dance. For the most part, I have stopped singing (in front of audiences anyway), but I can’t seem to shake the dance bug from my soul.
When we went into lockdown 2 years ago, it was my senior year of high school. I had spent 10 years of my life dancing with the same group of people, whom I grew to love very much. I may not have had as much raw talent as some of my teammates, but I had always had a lot of heart. I loved the way a crowd hushed as we stepped into our beginning spots and the eruption of cheers when our most rehearsed sections turned out to be perfect. I loved the flurry of butterflies in my stomach and the backstage chaos right before stepping on stage. It was always “How does this dance start?” or “Is the stage slippery?” mixed with “Let’s go kill it” or “We got this” – a whole lot of hoopla for going on stage for only two and a half minutes at a time. I loved the pep talks and the pride and the hard work and the finished products. I loved it all, and one day it was all gone. I guess you could say that the intermission was so long, we never got to the finale.
I never thought I would get to perform again – at least, not in the same way. I thought that feeling – that squeezing feeling in my heart, which I’ve learned to recognize as love – would go away forever. I think maybe it did for a little while. I danced alone in my house for about a year and a half. In some ways, I just assumed that my love for performing was inherently tied to the people who had learned to love it with me.
Nonetheless, when I actually got to go to college, I joined this student-run dance club at school, full of some of the most wonderful people. I was right, I would never perform the same way I did growing up. It’s a lot more low stakes – there are no longer any trophies to compete for or dance teachers to impress, and these weren’t the same people I had danced with my whole life. But that squeezing feeling in my heart was still there, and I got to share it with a whole new world of people.
In some ways, dancing is even more special to me now. I guess that’s what they say though, right, “You don’t know what you got til it’s gone,” and I am lucky enough to have gotten it back.
My new world of dancers is filled with people who had the same experience – the types of dancers who pour our hearts and souls into performing. Some of us will go on to be doctors and lawyers and members of Congress. Some will go on to be PR specialists and filmmakers and entrepreneurs. And yet, that invisible string that will always tie us together is the love for performing.
I sit here watching some of my new favorite people dance, and I think, “How rare is it that you get to share the indescribable?” My next thought is usually, “And how lucky am I to have experienced this so much?”
So I guess my theory is that it is within these moments – the moments you can’t quite sum up or immortalize – where true ‘aliveness’ occurs. Sometimes this feeling is so overwhelming that you reach for others to help you explain it, to experience it with you. And if you’re ever in doubt, be on the lookout for that squeezing feeling – that’s the most ‘alive’ feeling there is.