I can jump. I can hop. I can run.
I can’t dance.
That’s something I have been saying for the past decade and a half. It’s something I’ve been telling myself almost all my life.
The day I dance, pigs might fly high in the skies. Heck, they might even dance in a field of flowers.
The last time I danced was in elementary school. I was practicing a dance with my classmates for the school concert when a teacher stopped me. She had a round, mean, and tight face. I stared at her while she harshly said, “You can’t dance. Go join the singing group.”
Thus she dragged me to the singing section where my tiny voice faded into the background. I watched my classmates dance and resigned to my fate.
I was never interested anyway, I thought to myself.
At home, I showed my exaggerated dance steps to my parents and made them laugh. Perhaps it was to take out the sting of being pulled out of the dance.
I can’t dance, but I can make people laugh, I told myself.
I have told myself the same story over and over again. I can’t dance. I don’t dance. I have never danced in my life. But that’s not true. I did dance once. The eight-year-old me danced with joy and rhythm. That me did not have a million doubts.
Yet that me let someone else’s opinion dictate her life.
Today, I continue to think that I can’t dance. Like a reflex, I say, “I can’t dance. I mean, I don’t even like dancing. It’s not my thing.” The dance floor has become my enemy. Taking a step onto it feels like jumping into the sea from a ship. Lord knows how many sharks are lurking underneath.
How I have lived so far makes it seem like I am a pawn on a chessboard to be controlled and sacrificed. Deep down, I have believed that of myself for so long.
I am nothing but a background character, bound to fade away overwhelmed by the main ones.
I guess the stuff people tell you can have an impact. What you tell yourself, however, can leave scars that never go away. The teacher told me I was not good enough, and I believed her. She might have said it once, but I said it a thousand times.
Now I have to tell myself a million times that I am good enough to undo the damage I have inflicted on myself.
I am at my hundredth and still counting.