I’ve always just assumed I would die young. I said to her, laughing nervously. I always laugh in awkward situations. When did you start feeling that way? She glared at me, writing.
I don’t know. I shrugged. I guess I came to that conclusion because I was a very sickly child. I missed a lot of school, had a lot of fears…so I just figured that would lead to an early death…my voice trailed off. What kinds of sicknesses or fears did you have? She pushed her glasses up on her nose.
I was curled up on her couch, hugging a pillow as if I were still 6 years old trying to figure it all out. I always thought my house was burning down or there was a tornado coming. I thought that if I sat up all night, I could keep myself and my brother from dying. I guess I had childhood insomnia, but my parents didn’t notice. She shifted in her chair. Those are logical for small children. The difference is that you had to take care of and become independent so quickly that you felt that you held a responsibility in being the protector. I nodded.
I had issues with my ears growing up which led to 2 surgeries and with allergies, sinuses, that sort of thing. I also seemed to get the stomach flu alot. When I was 15, I found out I had kidney stones. It just seemed like I was never in school. My parents smoked around me and we had cats. She sighed. That probably explains it. The smoking. Children don’t do well around parents that smoke and it can affect their health dramatically.
So I’m not going to die young? I didn’t laugh this time.
In light of yesterday’s post & last night being the season premire of Dance Mom season 2, I decided to do a throwback post…from my childhood…from the 90’s.
So, yes I took ballet & tap. I did the whole sequined, frilly outfits with too much make-up & big hair thing. My mom did the crazy dance mom, yelling & screaming thing. She even got my pictures taken in full costume before every recital. There were, of course, a few problems with all of this: I had the memory span of a goldfish (thus I never knew the routine), I was painfully shy, & I would have rather been playing in mud-puddles.
I would get up on stage & attempt to do the things that the other girls did…failing miserably. I just went along with it. I never really complained because I was a pretty chill kid. I also had an older cousin (that I aspired to be like) that had taken the same classes & went on to be in beauty pageants. I just thought that was where I was supposed to go. Who I was supposed to be.
Then came the day of the hula outfit. I was wearing only the bikini top & bottom with the little grass skirt & a flower in my hair. I was 4 years old. My tummy? Freezing. My hair? Big. In the way. I was pissed. I walk out on stage, can’t remember the routine, am humiliated, so I stand there crying my eyes out smearing my make-up everywhere while all the other little girls dance. WORST 4 MINUTES EVER.
The turning point of this story? Right as I walk off stage, I tell my mom that I don’t want to dance anymore. And that was that. I never attended another dance class in my life.
So, the question is, where do we draw the line? What is good parental encouragement verses borderline abuse? Does our society know the difference?