Do You Remember What You Wanted To Be When You Were Eight?
A ballerina, marine biologist, or cowgirl? Or maybe CEO of a gourmet ice cream company?
Me? I wanted to be a smutty novelist. Or a Dallas Cowboy’s cheerleader (For the pom poms, of course! Getting paid to yell sounded good, too). If those things didn’t work out, I’d be Clara from The Nutcracker.
About that first thing, can you believe I have the gall to blame it on my grandmother? Oh yes! Amidst her extensive library of Billy Graham bestsellers I found a little jewel that made me want to write . . . and blush. In Ghi’s defense it was probably a gift or something. Not the kind of thing she would read, but I’m getting off track here.
So I wanted to be a smutty novelist, but it’s not as easy as you’d think. I mean, yeah, my first self-published work, “Clifford The Big Red Dog Gets Married,” got rave reviews in Mrs. Hinson’s class, but it quickly went out of print. If you’re interested here are the cliff notes: Clifford goes on some dates. He asks. She says yes. Big white dress. The End.
But Like I Said, It’s Not Easy
My moral compass kept making everyone be faithful to each other while dancing under rainbows and weaving daisy chains. Not exactly gritty stuff. And apparently, novels need to be more than five paragraphs long and typically involve more than two characters. Also, you need lots of white out, which I wasn’t allowed to use and/or paint the cat with. So I gave up and moved on to the cheerleader thing.
Being a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader seemed like a very good idea for a good ten minutes or so, and then I realized that it is generally – or actually very specifically- frowned upon to get halfway through a cartwheel and then flop on one’s face.
Ugh. Option #3 it is. I got a little further with that one, but in the end I decided to find new dreams.
And Then, Blondie . . .
Our tween neighbor, in all her glorious innocence, started doing crazy flips and whatchamacalits in her front yard. Absolutely enthralled with the performance, Katie looks up at me. “Will you teach me to do that?”
“Don’t be an elephant,” I reply. Okay, I didn’t, but I thought it.
Did you know that when elephants are just babies trainers often tether them with a rope to a stake hammered in the ground? They struggle to get free, but lack the strength and eventually give up. One day the elephant grows up and is more than strong enough to break the bonds, but by then the captivity is within. It simply doesn’t try.
“As you grow up and gain experience,” says this article, “you absorb assumptions which then drive your life and limit your choices. They are similar to the elephant’s thin rope tied to a post. You can break away from them with a simple tug if you want to but you don’t.”
A Simple Tug Is Right
Ten minutes flat and I was cartwheeling like an, er, maybe you should just see for yourself . . .
Okay, so they aren’t that good. But that’s not the point! This whole thing got me thinking about the other ropes I’ve accepted. That novel one for instance. Yeah, the subject matter was a **little** off, but I have always wanted to write a book. And now – drumroll please – I’m doing it! About my two favorite subjects, no less. (Which are, if you are wondering, real food and babies.)
But I still can’t whistle . . .
Has becoming a parent caused you to try things you had given up on?