Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Who Do You Think You Are?

She's such a show-off, she said from the other room. She just wants attention.

I was making a doll in a sparkly red dress juke about in the doorway, to entertain my teenage babysitter and her friends. It didn't have the desired effect. I was about three or four years old. They were probably fifteen, and so didn't want to be bothered with dancing dolls. I knew by her tone that a show-off wasn't good. A show-off was a bad person. So I stopped.

I stopped and pulled on the knit hat of shyness. I kept my dancing dolls, circuses, radio programming, imaginary television shows (where I was the host, of course!), restaurants, and beauty parlors limited to the confines of my bedroom and to the audience of my family when I felt an audience was needed. My family was encouraging. No one ever said, "Who do you think you are ... Carol Burnett?" when I did my mudlizard impressions at the dinner table. We all joined the theatre together, right around when I was fourteen or fifteen, the same age my babysitter was when she called me a show-off. Being among other "show-offs," I took off the knit hat. It was stifling under there.

The question 'Who do you think you are?" is a really great one if asked without a tone of disapproval. When you erase the tone from it, and just allow the question to bring about a thoughtful answer, it is fun to consider. Who do you think you are? hints at Who do you want to be? What are you testing out, trying on, or discovering?

1 comment:

Indigo Bunting said...

It's so amazing how powerful the (often throwaway) comments of others are on our psyches. I love that you're a showoff.