PSSST, SHE’S PRINCESS MATERIAL
When I was a little girl I thought I would grow up to be a princess but in retrospect I realize this was more my mother ‘s dream than mine. It also became clear that she was the only one who thought I was princess material. My brothers and sisters were repulsed by the notion of ‘me as princess’ and actively discouraged it with various techniques known to families as ‘sibling torture’. This was enough to convince me to pursue another course so I chose the next best thing to princess which was that I would become a ‘stewardess’. The position seemed to have a kind of elegant gravitas that I was drawn to and my mother told me it was almost the same thing as being part of the ‘jetset’ as she called it.
SERVING OTHERS WAS NOT SUITED TO MY DISPOSITION
But then reality set in and I realized that being a stewardess required flying and serving others neither of which suited my disposition. I suffered from terrible motion sickness and preferred being served rather than serving.
SHE’S GOING TO BE A MOVIE STAR!
So I set my sights with my mother’s approval on becoming a ‘dancer/actress/ movie star’. Why not?. I enrolled in ballet class, took theatre in high school and auditioned for every theatre production possible.But the best laid plans are often put to rest when no real talent exists and when Mrs. Gigg’s, my ballet teacher, sunk her treacherous, spidery hands into my ample waistline and declared (loudly) to the class that I was ‘doughy’., my dreams flew out the window.So I picked myself off the floor and eagerly set my sites on the role of ‘serious actress’.
When it became evident that my talent would land me nothing greater than reading the morning announcements at school (while Siobhan Duffy sang and danced her way through every high school production) that I decided to re-invent myself as a writer.
I CAN’T DANCE BUT I SURE CAN WRITE
“What are you going to be?” people” would ask. “A writer.” I would say. “What have you written? ” “Nothing”, I would answer unblinkingly. At that point in my life it was far less about the writing than it was about looking like a writer. I had long hair to my shoulders and I wore a long black cape which I felt gave me a mysterious and writerly air. I scratched unfathomable notes at parties (always while people were looking) and wrote tortured poetry which I read out loud on Friday nights to my biggest fan, my mother..
By the time I graduated from high school I had forgotten that I was going to be a writer. I liked to write but the idea of ‘being’ a writer was left behind by my new found passion for justice and fighting for the underdog Now I wanted to be a lawyer. So I applied to university and entered a history program. That I didn’t have a logical, tactical, aggressive, bone in my body didn’t deter me from throwing myself into saving the world. In the seventh year of my Bachelor of Arts (that’s right seven) I decided that I would complete my degree in History and English, forget about law and move to Japan to find myself.
JUST TELL ME WHO I AM. NOW.
Shortly after my return from Japan I remember phoning my best friend and in a moment of utter frustration and weakness begged her to tell me what I should be. “Just tell me” I said. “I’m begging you. Just tell me what I should be and I’ll be it.” No surprise she had no real answer for me so I continued on my erratic path of just living and not really knowing. “You’re a butterfly”, my mother would tell me. Or a “tumbleweed” as a colleague recently called me.
I finally did settle on something that I probably could have figured out to from the beginning but life doesn’t really work that way. I was infused with a desire and a dream to be something grand because the world is unlimited and anything is possible especially when you’re young. I still feel anything is possible and I’m still a ‘butterfly’ as my mom calls me but my ambition these days is to love every small moment in my life and the people in it. That dream for something other hasn’t died but it has been transformed into something more real that I grasp. I’m good with that. I love where I am