Anyway, on to the memories! My intention with these Monday Memories is that they be accurate, but it's possible that I've skewed events a bit in my head. No matter... even if they're a little bit historically inaccurate, I'm glad I'm finally storing them somewhere!
I think that when I was younger in some ways I was a bit of a narcissist. Which is hilarious when you consider that a lot of the time I looked like this (minus the extremely strange face paint):
I did, however, enjoy hanging out by myself. A lot of my childhood memories are of me doing things on my own. It's not that I didn't enjoy playing with the other kids in the neighbourhood.... in fact, I did lots of that! I think that it's just that my most vivid memories tend to be ones of me hanging out on my own.
One of my preferred solo activities was practising gymnastics in our front yard. I spent countless hours doing cartwheels, one-handed cartwheels, round-offs, splits and bridges. I also spent plenty of time practising "looking cool" after I'd finished what I considered to be a perfect execution of the aforementioned gymnastic moves.
This might be considered somewhat normal until you consider my motivation. I was spending all of this time practising in our front yard because I thought that this would be the best way for a talent scout to see my work.
Yes, you read that correctly.
And in case you aren't already wondering how I got it in my head that talent scouts discovered their biggest stars on their front lawns, I should also mention that I grew up in a town of about 3000 people. So, not only did I think talent scouts regularly patrolled front lawns looking for the next big thing, I also apparently thought it was a sure thing that talent scouts would be coming to our town! You know talent scouts... always hanging around hamlets and villages. :-)
I'd change things up every once in a while. When our school hosted a Skip-a-thon, suddenly I figured that skipping would be the way to get my big break. I'd head outdoors after dinner to use the last couple of hours of daylight to put in valuable time developing skipping routines... always facing the street... just in case.
There was a very short-lived span of time where I thought I might be discovered for my unsurpassed tire-swinging skills, but - in a rare moment of lucidity and self-awareness - I decided that there probably weren't many talent scouts out there who would be interested in backing a tire swinger.
I clearly remember the day, however, where my innocence was crushed. I think I was older than I'd care to admit, but I was still trying to figure out how to get "discovered". Our family had this cool little toy that I think was called a Roller Racer. I'm not sure how to describe it, but here's a video clip of a commercial for one:
I am pretty sure this is what we had... even if it isn't, we had something pretty similar. Anyway, I practised coasting up and down the side walk in front of our house as often as I could, feeling super cool and super talented.
One night, I was roller racing along, probably taking turns with my sister, when I heard an engine revving right behind me. I turned around and found myself face to face with a car full of teenagers in a Trans-Am or something like that. Face to tire tread is more like it... I had to look waaayyy up to see them from down on my little Roller Racer.
I wish I could remember exactly what it was that they said... I can't seem to, though. It was definitely mean, and it was definitely intended to embarrass me. My cheeks went beet red, and I got up and quit playing. In an instant, I felt like all of the things I loved to do were stupid, and all of the time I'd spent day dreaming about talent scouts and child stardom was ridiculous. It was awful and I would never wish that feeling on anyone. It's a terrible thing to crush someone's spirit.
BUT... I've always had a vivid imagination, and I feel grateful that my spirit is resilient. Have no fear... I did bounce back at some point. I seem to remember taking a trip with my family sometime after that to the east coast, and our parents took us to see the play "Anne of Green Gables". I remember going to the play, hoping upon hope that the auburn in my hair was enough to convince the talent scouts in Charlottetown that I was a redhead. I'm also pretty sure I was purposely wearing something pink to clash with my "red" hair - because Anne was resigned to the belief that girls with red hair couldn't wear pink. My strategy here was that the talent scouts would no doubt see that by clashing pink and red hair, I had the spunk and spirit they would be looking for in the girl they would ultimately cast as Anne Shirley in the next season of the play.
Sometimes I scare myself.
... and sometimes I hope with everything I've got that my kids will turn out a bit like me. :-)