Fearless

The end of the semester draws near and I'd like to talk about and reflect on this semester, the most important aspects of which have been dance and the f-word.

Have you ever been so passionate about something that your heart wrenches every time you hear bad news about it? That your eyes have welled up with both tears of happiness and pain for it? That you can't imagine what your life would be without it, but you've definitely had moments where you know things would be a lot less complicated if your life was without it? This is how I feel about dance, a sentiment that I've shared before, but seems to grow stronger every semester that I dance with my family called Duke Dhoom. My parents think it's silly to be this emotionally attached to something or someone, and yes it probably is, but becoming passionate about something is like falling in love: you don't plan for it and it kind of just happens on its own.

This semester has been my favorite on Dhoom since the four years I've been at Duke for two primary reasons (but many more beyond that): 1) I felt like I had a family who weren't just the people that I danced with, but also the people that I shared some of my deepest feelings with. Each person on my team has such a unique, bright personality and I'm so glad I got to know every single one of them. This past Saturday, I was at a performance my sister was doing with her dance school, and just as the first group of little kids started dancing, I felt tears start to develop in my eyes. I cried, because I missed my team! It sounds so silly because I'd only been gone from Duke for a day, but the universality of dance and how it brings us all together made me miss them. The way we've been there for each other like no Dhoom team ever has before, whether it's for heartbreak or new love or adjusting to college life or physical ailments and illnesses. I'm hoping these guys will want to stay friends with me much longer than after I graduate ;)

2) I felt myself grow as a dancer and a leader. Not that the past two years haven't helped with that, but running this team more or less on my own this semester showed me that I have the capacity to create something beautiful of my own accord. I've become so much more confident in my choreography, in the way that my body moves, and in what I suppose has become my style. I've watched dancers on Youtube and my incredible dancer friends in person for the past few years and been able to see a recurrent style in their movements. Finally a fellow team member told me some of my choreography was "so Sonal," and I think it meant a lot more to me than she knew at the time. I love that I don't feel like I need to hide my energy anymore. I remember distinctly at the beginning of the semester when the new Edens studio with the full open glass wall by my dorm first opened that when I went in there by myself just to choreograph or dance, I would be really self-conscious of people watching me and seeing as I experimented with the music. But now I go in there and I dance freely and hope people see me and can feel what I'm so excited about. It feels like growth, and that's such an important thing to have in a passion.

Sometimes I just know that if there were money in dance, that's what I would be doing. Not that I'm becoming a doctor for the money, but if I were as passionate about something in medicine as I am about dance, I think I would have a lot less trouble getting there. Probably not a lot less since it is grueling, but definitely a little less. With all these good things, I've also had a lot of dance downers this semester that I'd love to write about but your impressions of me might change if you hear all the curse words I've used over the course of the semester... Let's just say that when someone tries to take away from or put down and condescend something that I've worked so hard to build, I am not going to be a happy camper about it. Shoutout to my team and main man from keeping me from killing anyone.

And then occasionally I take a step back from it all and try to remind myself that Dhoom is only a part of my life for another semester, and there should be things higher on my priority list than it, but sometimes it's hard to put them there. For example, the f-word. Did you guess the right one? The future, of course, what else is there? It's a hard conversation to have with anyone: friends, parents... significant others. Ding ding ding. It's so difficult to keep up with time because it will never stop going on. I think, If I could have a wish, maybe I would wish to freeze time for a while so I could just take it all in, but then I realize that even then would the freezing time time be counting down. We must make big decisions in the midst of other big decisions, never knowing what is right or what the f-word will bring. We have to work really hard to get anywhere, don't we? Plus, we need to pretend to know what is right for us until we realize that it is or it isn't. Doesn't make sense? Yeah it's all kind of a blur to me too.

I kind of wish someone could just tell me what to do, where to go, and what will be good for me in life. I wish I didn't have to suffer so much emotional turmoil just to see everything go down the drain in a year or not. I wish I wasn't battling sides, unable to speak with the truth and honestly that would set the knots in my heart loose because that might also lead to closed doors. If I could, you'd probably understand a little better what I was actually even talking about right now. Snaps if you feel.

Anyway, bed for now, try to actually do some work for tomorrow. Peace out.

Also below are some of my favorite photos from Awaaz this year. Can't believe I just completely stopped putting photos in these blog posts...


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