-Shubhi Verma, Class 11
I remember entering the dance studio after a long and exhausting day of middle school. My day was not going well, to say the least. I had received a terrible grade on my history pop quiz, forgot my lunch at home, and felt lonely the entire day, as it was my first day at school since my best friend shifted. It is difficult for an 11-year-old to feel optimistic about the future when the present itself is quite puzzling and difficult. I remember trying to dance to my sassy jazz routine on “Toxic” by Britney Spears, but feeling so sad and vulnerable, that I couldn’t force a smile and do my dance with the same energy as I always do. My dance teacher - Mr. Vishal - noticed this, and told me to get some water, clear my head, and tell him what was wrong. After I told him about everything, I vividly remember just sitting on the dance floor in front of the mirror, and hearing every single word that came out of my teacher’s mouth for the next two minutes.
“Sadness is just a testament to how incredible life really is”, he said. “There are always two extremes to everything. In order to feel one extreme, we must be experienced in the other opposite extreme”. This piece of advice has always stuck by me, and I have thought about this for many more times than I can count on my fingers. The more pain and suffering we feel is also equated with how much pleasure and love we can feel. We only ever feel lonely because we know what it feels like to be surrounded. We feel underappreciated because we know what it’s like to truly be appreciated. Similarly, we only feel sad because we know what it’s like to NOT be sad. There will always be two such extremes to every abstract idea we think about. It’s hard to truly understand one without having experienced the other.
This piece of advice can be considered identical to the idea of “Yin and Yang”, which is another philosophical idea depicting the concept of dualism. The Yin and Yang symbol is a simple circular symbol consisting of two parts, one which is black (with a white circle in the middle), and the other which is white (with a black circle in the middle). The concept of the Yin and Yang is basically that the Yin (meaning the shady side) and the Yang (meaning the sunny side) together complete the equilibrium of wholeness. In other words, the two sides acting as two opposite extremes come together, are complementary to each other and balance each other out. We can observe this concept of opposite extremes in our daily lives. For example, there is always a harsh winter before a fruitful summer, a storm before a rainbow, and a long night to a short day.
Your favourite food makes you feel the worst after as well. This is just how life works. My dance teacher’s advice made me realize that the world uses these funny tactics to make us feel these emotions. These extremes are inevitable. All you have to do is keep going. No matter what.