Friday, May 23, 2008
A Sense of WONDER
The hardest part about growing up is losing perspective on the things that once gave you a sense of wonder. Things, people, places and ideas that you once thought were “magical” are now overlooked, mundane and taken for granted.
When I was younger my Mom always took her dancers out to L.A. and I happily tagged along. I would sit for hours staring out the window at the Hollywood sign. Everything that Hollywood represented; glamour, talent, opportunity, fame, “magic”, possibility that someday all of the visions you once had could be realized, there where pools of people are just waiting to say “yes” to them. I wrapped all of the abundance I knew I'd have into a tiny time capsule and planted itself in my little heart and then it grew…completely, fully and in absolute faith through my years as a teenager.
Every time I watched an old Hollywood movie I would fantasize about being able to do the work, I’d imagine my speeches, auditions and rehearsals. The careful planning for the perfect outfit, the hours spent perfecting your craft…..the people who got to experience it all with you. I had every idea so clearly outlined in my head.
I’d run my fingertips across actor’s headshots placed on diner walls and think “someday I’ll hang my picture up here.” I watched Madonna and imagined the first breathe that she takes every time she walks out onto stage and sees thousands of people anticipating her presence. I imagined the feeling of drinking it all in, the moment that you realize you’ve finally made it.
I would lay in bed at night every night as a kid and pray, pray for it be used, pray to allow my “gifts” to be used in anyway that they were capable….All of them.
I wanted to be exhausted. I wanted to feel like everyone was fully aware of what I had to give, and they only wanted more. More was endless for me.
I would obsess over Hollywood history, I drank in the characters, the classics, and the "greats"…I wanted to have all the knowledge in my head to use it like a weapon that I’d slay people with. I wanted to teach myself how to walk in their footsteps.
Star maps, Paramount, Capitol Records, my eyes were alive and open to everything. When I moved to L.A. everything meant seeing all of the parts that weren't so beautiful and like a wild fire after the first spark of resentment, or disappointment set a flame to everything that I had once seen with such awe.
The moments that once brought me joy, dissipated in the face of "realism". Experience put a dark mask over all of the things that brought me there to being with.
Rather than being able to move on, the past became part of my present and repeated more of the same. Unfortunately the same only got darker, more jaded and let down.
I've been in L.A. filming for a new website I'm an online host for and stopped by Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio....the halls are lined with posters of Natalie Wood, Leslie Caron, and other beautiful triple threats from the musical era, old timers and Gene Kelly and just like that a flood every little piece of childlike wonder came pouring out of a tiny door tucked away in my heart.
I remembered playing Wizard of Oz on repeat, learning the dances from Kiss Me Kate, thinking Planet Hollywood was the greatest thing ever and noticing every. single. flower that grew in random locations (i.e. fences, sidewalks, etc.) in Los Angeles. The vibrancy that I once had popped open and seeped out of my pours and into every orifice of my being and wanted to be released again. I realized under all of the “stuff” I’d thrown into the mix, that same WONDER was still there.
At some point in our “adult” lives we start to turn off the “wonder.” The wide eyes are afraid of looking naive, “hope” turns to “being realistic” and dreams turn to reality when responsibility takes the reigns. It’s easier to turn on Auto-pilot and coast rather than deal with the uncertainty that often comes along with illogical or “dream-like” motivation. We stop listening to our hearts, we stop noticing the things that made up happy as kids, we have less time and less vulnerability. Instead of observing we make up our own answers, we project our own perspectives….we stop finding wonder in the small things and stop believing in the big things. Instead of carrying on the innocence of blind faith we stash it away in a little door next to nostalgia and “throwing fits in public.”
I never wanted to be a fairy (though I am certain they exist in some realm) I just wanted to live my fullest possible life. Which is the same desire I have now. The difference is, then….I believed in it. Behind what is now, uncertainty was unwavering faith, without question. The key is keeping awe alive. Keeping the childlike enthusiasm that made everything possible; that made cupcakes taste better, rain something to play in rather than dread, future exciting rather than angst ridden, dreams something to skip towards rather than struggle to grasp. Keeping the wonder alive, to me- means keeping your spirit alive.
If you had your childlike sense of wonder still, what would you have been….or who are you still, that’s gotten stashed away with the teddy bears?