Table Topic Tuesday. 8/27.

Hey, y’all. It’s Table Topic Tuesday.

And here’s today’s question:


When I was young, I wanted to be a ballerina. I started dance when I was just two. By the time I was in middle school, I was dancing in a ballet company and in a studio. Six days a week, my mom drove me to lessons. I loved the blonde wood floors, the echo of quick taps, the light drumming of toe shoes. I held the barre like I was holding everything. I know. It was a little intense. But the studio mirror was the only one I’d met that I didn’t mind looking in. I was a good dancer–a decent technician and a better performer. I was a flood of restless rhythms and choreography harnessed them, polished them and sometimes made them poetry.

Disney Digression
Disney Digression

Then, I started high school. I still loved dance–I was still a jazz-hands master–but I had peaked. And I hadn’t grown. My mom knew that I wasn’t tall enough to be a professional ballerina. Somewhere, I knew that too. But Mom loved me enough to say it out loud. I wrote a poem about the conversation when I was in college (judge accordingly).


It might as well have been

the red sea, no Moses in sight.

I sat tapping the toes of my pointe

shoes against the hardwood floor.

Mom & Grammy sat across from me

wearing identical looks and a perfume

with an oriental name–flowery, floating

light as a Japanese kite, my favorite smell.

“You’re beautiful, smart.”

“But you’ll never be an Amanda.”

Amanda was the company’s prima ballerina–

Coppelia, the Sugar Plum Fairy–with long

limbs and arches high as the Brooklyn Bridge.

I just hadn’t grown yet.

I had led the sea of lemonade across

the stage, tiny bourre’es against the hard black.

“You’d make a great cheerleader.”

I didn’t answer. Just pulled the bobby pins

from my bun and dropped them to the kitchen

table one by one.

I traded my port de bras for rah rah, cleared

a space in my closet for poms. I stuffed

blood-stained toe pads against the worn

wood, wound ribbon around the frayed

satin and placed the box on the top shelf.

Up there, I found a picture of Mom.

She wanted to be a Rockette.

She was sixteen, thin in her drill team

uniform, her legs looked longer in

the white boots that came up to mid-thigh,

her foot well above her 5’2 frame in

a perfect kick.

So, spoiler alert, I did not become a ballerina. Thank goodness. Because, in the background of ballet, I was always writing. There are stories scribbled in my elementary-school notebooks. I was co-editor of my high school paper, editor of my college paper, sure I was going to be a serious journalist, a newspaper woman. See, there are still restless rhythms in me and retelling other people’s stories harnessed that.

Then I fell into advertising by surprise, so I become a writer when I grew up. In writing, height doesn’t matter. All 4-feet-11-inches of me can always grow and never outgrow it. As long as I have pencil and paper and passion.

Plus, now I have more fun dancing than I ever have when Tucker and I have living-room Just Dance battle royales.

My friend Lindsay says:

I hate to reference a movie — and a teen movie at that — but Jessica’s graduation speech in one of the Twilight Saga movies pretty much nailed it. I went from wanting to be a Disney princess {and I got close in college when I interned in Magic Kingdom for six months} to a doctor to an astronaut to a volcanologist to I-have-no-idea-and-my-college-applications-are-due-next-week. Then my parents finally exhaled when I landed on Interior Designer. I watched every episode of Trading Spaces and Extreme Home Makeover. This is what I had to do! I traveled with this dream to college, but after one intro class, I realized it was not for me. I think what I really wanted to do was buy curtains and match them to bedspreads. Dreams die hard. Then new ones come about and they come out of nowhere. Enter: my current job. But i’m not giving up hope of one day ruling my own castle.
And Lynda says:
As sad as I am to say it, every little girl on the planet probably had the same ideas of what they wanted to be when they grew up as I did.  The possibilities are endless, yet we still end up wanting the same things it seems.  Until reality hits us.  It did for me through several of my future occupation phases.
First, I wanted to be a veterinarian so I could work with animals…until I realized all of the unpleasantness associated with poor, sick kitties and puppies.  Heartbreaking.  Then I wanted to be a dolphin or killer whale trainer at Sea World so I could swim with them every day…until I realized that I hated science and was horrible at it.  From there I went through my “adventuresome” Indiana Jones phase and wanted to be either an archaeologist or paleontologist…dusting off artifacts and old bones from a millennia ago.  I completely blame my obsession with Jurassic Park for that little whim.  But then I realized that lots of school would be involved, and I just couldn’t imagine an academic life.
Advertising was never a blip on the radar until high school, and surprisingly enough that little blip stayed with me at the back of my mind.  After declaring “history” as a major when I entered college, I quickly changed it to Advertising and have stayed with it ever since.  It’s funny how it all works out in the end…I feel fortunate to have found something I was passionate about and I suppose you could say something I wanted to be…when I grew up.
Your turn! I want to know. What did you want to be when you grew up?