In Response to ‘Desert Dancer’


I watched a movie today*. A movie about how the beautiful art form of dance was/is* illegal in Iran, and how some people have to fight, in turn risking their lives, just to be able to follow that call within them. The ache in the pit of the stomach, that nags at you when you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do. The desire to create that when acted upon feels like life itself blossoming within you.

I felt this way in Prague as well. After I learnt what the Czech youth went through during communist oppression just to play music, produce art, and be free, I felt blessed that I’ve never had to experience that. However, the prevailing thought (both after my time in Prague and watching Desert Dancer) is that I’m guilty.

Guilty of wasting my talent. Guilty of being too lazy to create when no oppressive government stands in my way, but more than anything guilty of being afraid that this life of creation will prove too much so I don’t even bother to begin.

I know I’m not weak, but the thought that I’ll have to fight my whole life terrifies me. The thought that I’ll consistently be scooping parts of myself out to present to the masses, like a cannibalistic buffet, leads me to think what if the soft tissue and non-essential cartilage isn’t enough? What if I have to carve out my heart? What if I have to pull it from each artery, each one sputtering, snapping and squealing as blood pours out.

And then if I leave it on the platter and garnish it with a tear, will it even be enough? Or will I have scooped my heart out in exchange for a life of poverty and struggle?

Or perhaps that’s an entirely too morbid way to think about it. Maybe the arteries stay connected, by some magical extension, they’ll still pulsate and pump blood into my spaces. And thus my life force will be sustained while still giving enough to satisfy the masses.

Or perhaps it’s all just gibberish anyway, and all that’s required of me is to be brave enough to create in the first place.

* I wrote this right after seeing the movie, at 1am, in a stream of consciousness manner, just FYI 🙂

*Desert Dancer was set in 2009 when the morality police banned dancing. I’m not sure if that system is still in place.