One of the earliest memories I have is playing with one of my neighborhood friends when her mom asked me “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I took a deep breath and rattled off 10 different things ranging from a doctor to astronaut and everything in between. Her mom laughed at me and said, “You should be an actor, that way you can be all of those things.” It was my AHA! moment and I didn’t know what an AHA! moment was.
Unfortunately, just because you want to be something, doesn’t mean other people will let you. And there is a pesky little character trait that most actors need that a chubby, frizzy haired, freckled face, thick glasses wearing little girl didn’t have. Confidence. The biggest confidence killer were my three older brothers.
In their defense they thought I was weird. I was always watching old movie musicals, my favorite radio station was an oldies station and I was forever reading. The only thing we had in common was our athletic ability.
Nonetheless, by the time I got into high school I shed a few pounds, smoothed down my hair and got contacts. It didn’t change the fact that I didn’t fit in anywhere. Luckily for me my high school was small. The cool kids were in drama and played football. The kids in the tv studio were trend setters and the smart kids played varsity sports. I drifted from one group to the next, never really settling with any one in particular. Sure, I had my close friends that were in drama with me or soccer, but even with them I felt a step behind.
Maybe it was the movie musicals growing up, or the books I read about different times and worlds, but I always felt disconnected from my peers. It wasn’t until my senior year in high school when I started dating Sparky that things started falling into place.
He was the shy computer geek, I was the loud dramatic athlete. I couldn’t sit still and I excelled at giving speeches in front of class. He just wanted to sit and take apart computers and turned bright pink whenever a girl looked at him. It shouldn’t have worked. In fact all of our friends laughed at us when somehow we hit it off. We started dating in December of our senior year, by graduation we had planned to make it through college and then get married. Which had our friends laughing even harder. Yeah right, what couple actually makes it through college?
Does that picture give you a hint? Yeah, who makes it through college? We do. It can be done. It wasn’t easy but we stuck it out and I’m glad we did. He gave me the confidence that I was looking for, real confidence, not the faked kind that high school kids wear like the latest style. Oddly enough, when I started dating him I no longer wanted to be an actor. I wanted to slip into the role I watched in so many old movies. I just wanted to be a mom.
Hey, look at that, I’m a mom. I’m happy now, right? Nope. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband and my children. I adore the life I live as a mother and a wife; what I found out was that I need to be more than just those two roles, I was missing something. I used to feel bad that my life wasn’t completed on those fateful days, but I don’t any more. Thanks to the constant urging by my husband I finally started to write.
Writing filled the creative hole that was born when I decided to no longer pursue acting. Once again I found myself pretending to be different people from different times, living and doing things I, myself, would never dream of doing. Writing is something I can do no matter what I look like. I don’t need to be a size 2 with long blonde hair and big blue eyes. I can wear a sweatshirt with sticky finger prints on it with my hair pulled back in a messy pony tail and still be able to create beautiful and picturesque scenes with my words.
I still act, I still read, and I still love old musicals. I like to drink Scotch after dinner and I can’t cook. But for the first time in a long time I am happy doing what I’m doing. Oh, and I’m back to wearing glasses.