Inspired by @ListPrompts
  1. I was a chubby child growing up. Both sides of my family are naturally skinny people, and I didn't fit that stereotype. I always got called out on being the fat one, for as long as I can remember.
  2. This led to me being very self-conscious and insecure about my abilities. For example, I don't know how to play any sports because I always just grew up thinking I'm never going to be able to do it.
  3. I grew up limiting myself like this, but dancing was one thing I did. It started off because my mom wanted me to, but it really grew into something of my own very soon. I kept telling myself that it was enough physical activity.
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    Me, that night. One of the 7 performances.
  4. The type of dance I do comes from the south of India. And traditionally speaking, dancers used to train and learn ALL of the syllabus there is before being allowed to perform. It's sort of like your graduation.
  5. Performing on stage is a very big deal for us, again traditionally speaking. It is an honor your guru (dance teacher, your main 😏) bestows upon you when they sense that you are ready. Think very Mr. Miyagi.
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    My guru, handing me my proof of graduation. Much love to this woman, I can never put into words the influence that her and her knowledge have on me.
  6. Because of today's culture and society, your first stage performance doesn't usually end up being your graduation performance. Rather, they try to have you perform as much as you can so you learn much more than dance. You learn the grace, the composure, etc. and how to deal with your stage fright.
  7. When my teacher thought I was ready, I successfully shot her down by saying my family can't afford to arrange such a large event for me right now, and I have stressful things to focus on like getting into college, etc. I graduated high school and moved, so I only saw her over long breaks.
  8. After college, we were back to this discussion of doing the graduation, and I couldn't win this time. My mom and her basically forced me into it.
  9. You see, it wasn't that I didn't want to do it, even though I very easily believed that then. It was that even though I had trained for 14 years at that point, I wasn't confident of my physical abilities. How am I supposed to do 7 different 10+ minute pieces, with other fillers in between, costume changes, and the whole shebang?
  10. These ceremonies take a lot of commitment and a really high level of stamina. Kuchipudi (the type of dance form) places a lot of focus on foot work, and expression. You express a story through your body movements and facial expressions. The songs are always, ALWAYS telling a story.
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    Guys, that pot on my head had water. CRAZY STORY: they were supposed to move my hair jewelry aside before this particular piece so that the pot of water would be stable. THEY FORGOT TO. THEY FUCKING FORGOT TO. I mean, what is a green room crew for?!!! But I didn't spill a drop of water 😤😤😤😤😤
  11. Anyways. Point is, I got roped into doing this and I was FREAKED out. I was pretty sure I was going to make an utter fool out of myself on stage.
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    I'm dancing on a plate for heaven's sake. I don't have a picture of it but a part of this actually requires us to place our feet on the edges of the plate and perform the same leg work we do on normal floors. It's supposed to showcase the balance and poise we learn, an important feature of this dance type. Shit hurts.
  12. I trained from May to November, every day for at least 2 hours. I mean, this lady milked me. I looked so good by the end of this, guys.
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    Photo from that night, the left half of it.
  13. Turns out I didn't make a fool of myself. Turns out the performance was great, people had a great time, everyone was all praises, it was great.
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    And the right half. The photo is me doing the pose of a sleeping God, specifically one of the trinity in Hinduism.
  14. But what am I really proud of? I mean, don't get me wrong, I definitely am forever thankful that it all turned out ok. More than ok. But I amazed myself for the first time in my life. Like, truly amazed myself.
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    Grandma, broski, moi.
  15. I showed commitment like none other. I mean, I REALLY tried. I showed focus that I thought I left somewhere in high school. I actually learned to trust myself a little, which I don't ever remember doing before that. I walked out of there tired, famished, but completely full of content. I could see the pride in my dad's eyes and my mom's tears.
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  16. All this matters because it's really symbolic of my roots. It's of my culture and traditions, it's something my parents really wanted for me, it's something I thought I couldn't do and I did, and actually surpassed all expectations in.
  17. I'm glad I'm making this list so late, I really needed this inspiration to get back into working out 🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽