My Favorite Influencer

Girl dancing. Free image via Unsplash.

I like studying, formally, in a systematic manner. In high school, I took drum lessons. As soon as I started earning my own money, I engaged my other hobbies. I enrolled — and to my surprise got admitted to — a music school, all because I wanted to play the piano and learn music theory. It was also during my early 20s when I took swimming lessons with an office mate who was a swimmer. And just before the pandemic, I was looking into short culinary courses. I wanted to know the basics of cooking and be more efficient in the kitchen.

Whatever catches my interest, whatever I like to do, my hobbies, I like to know more about it and I like to always improve whatever skills I have. So I'm wondering why haven't I taken any dance lessons ever? I like dancing. There was a time in my teens when I would watch dance groups in noontime shows and copy their moves. I'd practice to perfection — and most of time get it. And on my own, in my room, I love listening to dance music and moving my feet. So, yeah, why didn't I do anything to improve whatever dancing skills I possess?

I am asking this question because of, wait for it, TikTok. Yes, I am obsessed with the app. I am obsessed with its biggest star, Charli D'Amilio. To those who are unaware, Charli is the most followed creator on TikTok, and she's a dancer. She's also very young. Seventeen, I believe. I think I like her because she's so easy to watch. Well she's pretty, dresses well, and she moves gracefully. When she dances, you can hear the music through her movements, and she'll make you clearly see the steps.

She is what young people and marketers like to call an influencer, a term that I hate. Influence is subtle and there's nothing subtle about calling yourself that. But I'll make an exception for Charli. She does have an influence on me. She is making me want to take dance classes. I think it's the carefreeness, that kind of freedom that I see in her that kind of rubs off on me and wanna nurture more. So that's what she does for me. And she has also made me write a poem about dancing. Here it is:

Charli Teaches Me to Dance
Razel Estrella

First acknowledge gravity.
The desire to free
Oneself from Earth's constant pull
Is everyday affair.
Hold balance, lift
Until all is air. If you do
It right, a flick of fear
Might show in the eye;
But never look down
Else everyone will.

Trade sorrow for grandeur
Of ascent. From the tip of your toe
The world suspends —
Hearts break and made
Whole again — while we
Catch our breath.
In a split-second of doubt,
Don't think of falling, forget
The ground and its noble burden
To wait for you to land.


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