The seven deadly sins- meditate on them. Consider them. Does greed and sloth slither through your drive to act? Do lust and vanity hit you in the face when you join a college party? What about jealousy, wrath, gluttony?
This was my assignment. I joined the Oriental Dance Club in my first semester, and very soon I realized this was a place for few words and my own commitment. But when the words do come, they were words like:
“Tell me which of the seven sins most reflects you?”
If I ever become a dancer, this is the kind of dancing I want to do. I dance to explore the seven sins: discover my own weakness, my vice, my fault. Everyone dances to seem, to feel, to be beautiful. But we chose a sin, we chose the sin, the one chilling deep inside our heart.
“So Priyanka, what is your sin?”
Hah! Lazy? No one else chose such an un-glorious sin. Strange there is a honorable hierarchy even among sins. But there at the bottom is sloth. Right under gluttony, or perhaps jealousy, the sin that is nothing, the sin that is less than itself.
But, Sloth. The angry hook that keeps me in bed at 8:15 am. The slime that keeps me from signing up for that- that super cool conference, the latest and greatest theatre play. No, no denying my mortal fear is of being the sloth.
So there we were, choosing a song, choosing a prop, choosing how best to display our own faults through the instrument of our body.
As the months of practice went on, each of the dances came together, one for each sin. Our practices became chores in immersing ourselves in the sin, battling our own weaknesses. It became easy to call people be the name of their sin. To recognize one’s own.
(That’s me, bottom left)
!Hell¡ The annual dance show made us masters of our “sins”. I led the audience through my experience of sloth- the moments of evasive apathy, and the violent struggles to compete, keep up with, outdo others.
“the lovely feeling of nothingness filling up your chest and whispering in your ear: “I take my time with men, I take my time with books, I take my time with friends, and I take my time with dance. I take my time with my heart. I am sloth.”
Perhaps the audience learned Sloth is also a strength.
“I am sloth. I drift on the clouds as I watch you run. I grow my roots as you bloom and melt away.”
But even if the audience did learn something, found an answer to the question “which sin most reflects you?” the greatest lesson was for me, a performer.
We live with our shortcomings everyday. Ultimately, we are our weaknesses. That knowledge is not glorious.
Jacobs is a spotlight, a magnifying glass that highlights all my weaknesses.
A class? Fine.
A transdisciplinary class on media and disease? Not so fine.
I’m a good club member; how about being president?
Trilingual? Try German.
Among these taunting challenges, I forget to count my weaknesses. Wearily, I learn that behind every weakness is a victory. That is glorious knowledge.
Maybe you know what your weaknesses are. Come meet them.