Wonder Woman. Barbie. Belinda Carlise (after she was a Gogo when she had her solo career). Madonna. Joan Jett.
What in the world do any of those things have to do with each other? Well clearly they were all things I pretended to be at some point in my childhood. They were the answer to my inner question of what kinds of things interested me enough to want to BE that thing/person.
Once school started I answered that question with anything from a telephone operator (because I like to push buttons), to a lawyer (I talk a lot and so do lawyers, right?), or maybe a best-selling author, although I could be an actress too. By the end of my senior year I just didn’t know WHAT I wanted to do.
One day, during fifth period British Literature senior year we were discussing the novel 1984 by George Orwell. Right in the middle of a particularly great conversation, I paused, looked at my teacher and said,
“THIS. This right here.”
him: “what? what are you talking about?”
me: “This is what I want to do. I want to read, talk about the books I read, and get paid to do it. What is that? What job is that?”
him: “Um, my job. Apparently you just decided to be an English teacher. Can we finish talking about Winston, now?”
me: “oh. right. yeah.”
And that was it. I applied to Western Michigan University, one of the top teacher education schools in the US, and the rest is history.
I’d love to tie a neat little bow on that and call that the end, but it’s really not. I look back on all those things that made up what I loved to pretend to be and what I thought I wanted to do. They all have qualities that I value that I think are still shaping what I will be “when I grow up.”
Wonder Woman, Barbie, Belinda Carlise, Madonna, and Joan Jett were all women who were individual who did things that they wanted to do. And people who didn’t agree with what they did? Well they got the middle finger. Even Barbie broke gender barriers and became a doctor back in the 80’s!
The professions I thought I wanted make sense with this too. Even a telephone operator. Let’s face it, I spend a LOT of my day pushing buttons. I mean even right now…tappity tappity! And to me, lawyers and actresses really aren’t that different. They need to put on shows that will win something for someone even if it’s just winning someone’s attention for 90 minutes. I do that now as a teacher, but as a writer here, I have to sing and dance and use my words to make you want to come back for more.
And a best-selling author? While I might not be making any money (in fact, I SPEND money to do this), I am selling. I’m selling myself and my story to you. For comments. Let’s face it. If no one responded to this little old blog? I probably would have quit long ago.
So I teach. I write. And I am still growing up. And I still think Joan Jett is totally bad ass.
This post was written in response to the Bloggy Moms July Blog challenge: Childhood Ambitions. To read more entries in this challenge, please go here.