Wednesday, February 18, 2015


When I was in second grade I was a Brownie in the Girl Scouts of America. We were asked to stand up and say what we wanted to be when we grew up. I confidently and without a shred of pride or vanity stated that I wished to be Miss America. I was seven years old. I never gave any thought whatsoever as to a future career, but when asked, this came to mind and I ran with it. Miss America seemed to always be smiling; everyone appeared to like her. She was happy and admired. After I said "Miss America", the girls all giggled. I didn't get it, I didn't know why it was funny to say this, but I immediately knew that it was wrong. I didn't think that it was wrong to be Miss America, how could it be? As I said, she was happy and well liked and pretty. I knew that their laughter meant that it was wrong for me to think of becoming Miss America. When I remember this moment I recall it as almost an out of body experience. As if it were a dream. I am standing outside the room and looking in through the window, witnessing my reaction to being laughed at for the first time. I now know that perhaps they laughed because I didn't say a real career, like a teacher, but the sting remains no matter the clarity I now possess.

Years later I wanted to go into acting or directing because I was, and am, obsessed with all things cinematic. However, the dedication and drive with which it takes to become a fine actor does not lie within the insecure being that is me. To act one must be tough and unafraid of failure or looking foolish. I am not tough. I am easily hurt and seeking a life filled with innumerable rejections suddenly did not seem so appealing.

In high school and through college I thought quite seriously about working with people with AIDS. The gay community at that time were the ultimate underdog. I felt a sort of kinship with them because of this. I had noticed that gay people tended to like people that were in their corner; that all it took was to show them respect and kindness and they accepted you. I was definitely in their corner and wanted to help in any way possible to fight this disease. Plus I love Streisand and Judy Garland, Liza and musicals and men. Those queens and I would get along like gangbusters. This career was never to be, as medications have vastly improved and living with AIDS has (thankfully!) seemed to take the place-card that once read Dying from AIDS.

Now I am a grown up and I work in IT. I know nothing about computers and am truly gobsmacked that I have this job. I think of myself as a writer. A good writer? Maybe; an unpublished writer, most definitely. I have several stories that I would like to send to publishers and find that ideal illustrator to give colour and breath to my words and my characters, but the fear of being that joke in front of that group of girls has a strangle hold on me that is deteriorating my life rapidly. My fear of failure is so great that it keeps me from trying to live. It acts as a terrorist, holding me hostage. I wish for the strength of character to magically appear and rescue me; convince me that I can succeed and ask me, "what would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?" Honestly, I would motherfucking soar.

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