Restart Story

You go to school like anyone else your age. But you find yourself more lonely at school, a different kind of lonely than at the studios and the stage. When you get ignored there, it's rarely personal, it's just that people are busy. When you get ignored here, it tastes like the despair of little shared interests with kids your own age. They talk about games and neighborhood pranks and have a shared familiarity with playgrounds and arcades and diners. You, you just feel out of your element, especially as you receive mixed envy and skepticism as you are given certain privileges like dodging certain classes in favour of professional dance and vocal training. \n\nDo you study all the [[miscellaneous trivia|School2]] that you have been missing out on, or do you keep up the facade of the mysterious girl who [[keeps to herself|School3]]?
The entertainment agency sprawls in two triangular complexes like two lungs, connected by an arching lobby in the middle; A diaphragm of concrete and glass. One complex houses the image makers, the sets and stages where your mother works. The other one houses the recording studios and the suits. The offices where all the product placement negotiations take on a magical realism, in flowcharts, demos, and handshakes. \n\nIn both complexes, you've seen the shimmy of fresh-faced recruits to senior performers. They've all had under their eyes from exhaustive schedules time and again. It doesn't dissuade you, because you also see their camaderie that stays hard and fast despite all of the hardships. It was hard to put a finger on it when you were younger why you looked up to them so much. When you reach your teens, you realize that you can't think of any other manner to be part of something meaningful. It's this or bust, you tell yourself. You push yourself until you're out of breath in dance and vocal training.\n\nWhen the two lungs of the entertainment agency swelled in its coffers, the neighborhood itself drew a miniature housing boom. Boutiques and converted lofts sprung up like saplings under a healthy oak tree. \n\nYou imagine the look of triumphance on the CEO's face even though you only know him in passing, in [[polite greetings|Debut]].
It surprises no one when you sat down one day in a fold-up chair with an application form. You sat next to the sound engineering guy as he was fiddling with a new panel. The little superstitutious part of you chose this spot for luck, that the control box would magically offer you better vocal control by osmosis. \n\nHe looked up, laughed at you, face creasing into fond lines: "You don't need the luck. You'll train hard, everyone does, but you'll get there. They won't decline your application." \n\nYou'd asked why. You assumed it was because genetics gave you the right kind of nose in the right place and that both your parents have in-vogue cheekbones. Ah, and that you have a decent voice: Not very unique, but steady and sweet enough. He said it's because everyone here has always watched you, and there's [[nothing you're more used to|Mother]] than the backstage, the green rooms, and the rhythm behind the scenes.
You memorize things that are supposedly hip and cool with a bit of detachment, like it's a script. You pore over it for breakfast, and then again before bedtime. The one thing that holds your attention are the idols and celebrities, the engine of their making and the magical twinkle that keeps them on the front page. You've always been enamoured, but now you replicate some of the basics with your intrinsic knowledge to gain popularity.\n\nIt works, because it sounds both geniune and fake enough that other kids know not to mess with you, but that it's in their personal best interest to be your friend. You reel them in to keep them at an arms' length, and then you keep them at an even farther distance when they keep asking about what the entertainment biz is like, what clothes, what material glamour; Whether they're going to get invited onto set soon because you're "oh-so-close".\n\nThat's [[sacred|Agency]]. Sometimes you feel a bit violated when there's a bit too many shaky pictures of you with these fairweather friends, floating around the internet. You hide your non-plussed insincerity behind a smirk.
Your most vivid memory of a childhood rebellion was when you thought: Your mother was a bad actor. She's cradling you close and making all these sounds of love and adoration at all the right cues, but it all just sounds so rehearsed. Inevitably, the ring of her arms will be replaced too soon by someone else in the crew. \n\nYou were a toddler then. You threw your first tantrum out in the open, just like that, upon the set. You were kicking a leg out in anger. A couple of the crew noticed how well you kept your balance, how you puffed up and tried to stand taller, look bigger. The talk of the week was that the baby would one day make a good dancer.\n\nOtherwise, you were relentlessly [[well-behaved|School]]. Passerbys would think that you were petite and older than your years because you'd stare out into the world in quiet observation, catching people's eyes and smiling.\n
The path to idoldom is wrecked with the ashes of old stars.\nWhere one life starts, another one ends, to the tune of the survival of the fittest. \n\n[[Where to begin?|Birth]]
It's just a matter of perspective. \nSome like looking down into a sea of writhing people, all caught up in this irrational, seismic dance, controlled by an undulating rhythm.\nSome like looking up at the [[stars|Fantasies]].
You were a child born onto the stage. You felt the warmth of the linoleum where no hands held yours as you fell in and out of naps. It's the buzz of activity that cradles you to sleep, chirping in the miniature shell of an ear. You are lulled to the sound of megaphones, the ebb and tide of the crew, the roll of set pieces wheeled and measured in a cavernous factory. They're just slightly out of touch, off in the distance like little dream people that you can squish between your frail baby fists. \n\nYou wail when you wake sometimes, and the nearby crew all feel kind of like this big messy family, shifting the weight of their tripods and stabilizers to reach out to you. Their hands are warm from the long shifts, and you grasp onto one of their calloused fingers with your entire palm.\n\nWhen you get a little older, you eat from the same styrofoam box take-outs as them, sharing plastic utensils and straws. [[Learning|Perspective]] jargon and cussing around a mouthful of rice.\n
Sound is a Spectrum
You keep to yourself. The school children are mean at first because they can, making rude hand signals and cracking loud whispers behind your back. They wonder when you are going to drop out, mimicking what their elders love to speculate. \n\nSomething keeps them from taking it too far. Your self-assuredness, the gait of your walk after extra dance practice (sore and on the mend and with a coiled energy), the steadiness of your voice. Some of it is faked, and some of it is faking it till you really believe it. Eventually even the stupid ones realize that they can find an easier target, and so they bully someone else. \n\nIn a [[roundabout|Agency]] way, it works out well because there's not much record of you without studio lighting, HD make-up and dewy Photoshop skin.
Tanya Kan
[img[TaeyeonJade.GIF]]\n\nThey gave you a new name: Jade. A single slice of colour. \nYou envied the girl who got the stage name Rainbow, even though it’s not much of a name, and sounds stupid and weird to audiences who grew up with English as their native tongue. You feel limited in your palette, but you'll work with what you've got.
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[img[StageSmoke.GIF]]\n\nYou were told: Only those who look up have their fantasies [[intact|Application]].\n