One of the worst things about my job was trying to find rhythm in terrible songs with a basic , repititive pop beat and meaningless lyrics. Whilst I got myself through the Australian university of the performing arts, I worked as a backup dancer through the holiday months to make ends meet. This role was arranged through my uni which meant that I had little to no say in the jobs I took...which was why I was spending yet another weekend performing the same bordlerine innapropriately sexual moves over and over as the latest young pop sensation of the season wailed out their heartbreak songs into a overly auto tuned microphone.
I had gotten into this industry because of my love of the performing arts and the beautiful way in which a human body could bring out the messages in music...decent and meaningful music that is. The repetitive, computer generated basic tunes of today's chart topping pop headlined by simplistic lyrics loosely based around heartbreak or shallow love were definetly not my idea of following my dream.
Which was why I was looking forward to a couple of weeks off after the busy Christmas season. If I never had to wear a skintight santa outfit again I would be a very happy gal. However on Christmas Eve, merely a week ago, I had strained my hamstring...and now instead of spending my precious holidays out socialising with my family and hometown friends I was practically bed bound. Icing my leg, taking as many painkillers as I could and entertaining my beloved friends and family who came to check up on me were my only pastimes
Although it didn't sound like a serious injury, a strained hamstring wasn't just a little bruise. No, in fact it felt more like I was being stabbed in the back of the leg everytime I walked or even stretched the muscle. As a dancer, I had suffered various injuries throughout my career and training...it was just one of the many sacrifices one had to make to the performing arts profession. Spending the small amount of precious time I had off in between backup dancing and full time studying stuck in my childhood home wasn't the way I wanted to spend the holiday season.
On a positive note though, It did force me to actually slow down and stop for the year...something I wasn't very good at doing, I found it difficult to relax and simply to not do anything. This was something my family found especially obvious in this festive season, especially when they joined me on the lounge and loudly argued about what to watch...something I couldn't care less about.
It was just past 6pm on what had been a warm and clear skyed boxing day. Considering my current predicament, it should come as no suprise that I was feeling pretty sour about the whole situation...too sour for the midst of a holiday season. My siblings, parents...pratically the entire neighbourhood had spent the day at the community pool, soaking up the sunshine and happily celebrating another year. That was the strange thing about small town vibes, you practically were one big family which meant everyone knew everyone else's business.
Whilst they worked on their tans, sculled tinnies and engaged in epic water gun battles...I was stuck on the sidelines tending to the barbie and getting burnt from staying in the same position for too long. I should have been grateful that I was able to spend Christmas with my large, comically extended family. I had been trying to have a positive attitude for gratitude, yet the nagging pain in my leg, the worry that I had put my career in jeopardy and my annoyance at not being able to properly party after the stressful year I had endured and made me practically the grinch.
As my 3 year old niece jumped on my lap, chattering animately about her favourite Disney princess's I fought not to wince as my leg gave an aggressive throb. Staying silent was the best way to cope with anger, in my opinion anyway. I wasn't an angry or negative person, yet like my Dad and most of my brothers...we had a short fuse. Adding pain to a short fuse was basically like stacking glasses on a rickety table...at what point would they all come down, shattering everywhere?
My oldest brother seemed to understand my predicament as he smoothly picked his daughter off my lap and squeezed in next to me, giving me a small smile as he flicked on the television. Smiling gratefully back in return, I inhaled deeply as I forced myself to relax...it was the season to be joyous and festive, not cranky and touchy.
Settling back into the plushy couch, I forced myself to calm down as I watched most of my small town pour into our modest suburban home. By 630pm, everyone had found a perch whether that be on the variety of random chairs situated throughout my childhood home or on the thick chocolate coloured carpet. The sound of probably a hundred people, adults and children alike talking amongst themselves provided comforting background noise as I simply watched the evening unfold.
Tucking into my roast dinner, I allowed myself to drift off and simply be...something that was very unlike me, perhaps this injury had a plus side afterall...it was forcing me to take a break. In fact, I didn't even notice that someone had turned the television onto the pop culture channel until my niece squealed from next to me
" Look, Look Ali! it's you on the tee vee!"
Snapping back into reality, I ignored the obvious stares of everyone around me as I focused my attention on my family's much loved flatscreen. The pop culture channel was one I avoided with a passion, not only because I rarely watched television but because the same old crap was on all the time...it was full of superficial people pretending to have talent whilst they pimped themselves out for a taste at stardom.
However tonight, I recognised the event that was being broadcast...a fact that sent shivers down my spine and caused me to feel physically sick within the space of a few seconds. Sure enough, as soon as the first few horribly basic bars of the latest chart topping pop crap drifted through the surround sound I felt myself physically tense up, my damaged hamstring giving an aggressive pout as I kept my eyes glued to the screen.
Instead of the laughter and embarrassment I expected to feel at the sight of me clad in the skin tight santa dress basically twerking to the pitifully basic beat, those around me began to clap and exclaim their praises.
Apparently appearing on television whilst doing what you loved, even if you were a backup dancer for the latest crappy talent meant that I had earned the respect and admiration of my family, something that was priceless no matter the circumstances. If this was going to be the start of my journey to fame...perhaps it wouldn't be so bad afterall.
On one hand, perhaps this injury had been a good thing. It had forced me to relax and spend time with those I loved. Thanks to my leg I had been forced to spend my Boxing day night sitting on the couch at home rather than out partying with the other youths of the neighbourhood...a blessing in disguise really as it allwoed me to see the beginning of my career...perhaps my fame could be traced back to this moment...all because of a strained hamstring.