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?



31 comments:

Auburn Kat said...

I would be married, have kids and have a new house with a white picket fence.

While I didn't have the marriage or the kids (thankfully) I did have that new house with the white picket fence. It's not all its cracked up to be!

I am adjusting my dreams and while they are somewhat the same, they are going to be better (keep your fingers crossed).

Wayfaring Wanderer said...

I think that when I was a kid, I didn't have as much as a sense of wonder as I do now, I know it sounds like a load of crap doesn't it?!?!

When I'm out in the woods, amongst nature, taking my photos.......a sense of wonder is what I am usually feeling.....seeing things that I have never seen before is something that thrills me to no end......

GREAT POST!!!

Bayjb said...

I used to dream that I'd have a family, be a stay-at-home mom and/or that I was a successful doctor. Then I failed chemistry so that took care of the doctor thing and I have relationship issues so I'm not married. I don't lose the wonder toward things but sadly as you get older you get a bit more jaded and sarcastic about those things as reality sets in. It's still okay to dream, I do.

Alexa said...

great post. you are such an old soul, love it.

when i was a child much of what i wanted to do was be an actress, or really just be famous.

now i think i'm famous in my own right, or maybe infamous, same thing yes? ha

Jess said...

I wanted to be a writer. And now I am, but not quite in the way I was picturing.

JanelleGrace said...

You always talk about losing your sense of wonder when you get older and I really don't believe you have to.

In the first real love letter from my boyfriend, he mentioned how my eyes always saw something different.

But I am still who I wanted to be as a child. I wanted to be an artist and a photographer and sure, it's not like that is what I do for a living, but I am that.

(I apologize for the long comment.) I've grown up and sure, some things have disappeared but I know I will always have that sense of wonder I had a child. You can get older and you can still be young.

flipflops said...

This is beautiful -- I can just picture you spinning circles as a child, trying to keep up with your dreams. I wanted to be a zookeeper, an actress, a cheerleader, a writer, social worker... I wanted to help the world and i wanted to be recognized for it. I wanted to grow up and never look back. I wanted to grow up and never forget. Daydreaming about what could be and what could've been are such an integral part of who i was and who I've become. I definitely agree with janellegrace that while you eventually have to grow up, you never have to lose that childlike curiosity.

THE B.O.P. said...

I felt like this post should have been titled “The Wonder Years” all Fred Savage references aside . . . my greatest sense of wonder as a child was Seeing David Copperfield live when I was about 10. The idea of magic and the possibility of the impossible were so alluring . . . I wanted to grow up and be a magician but as I got older magic seemed to fall into that category of things that are forever changed because of technology. The art of the live performance and the idea that “hand is faster than the eye” seems to be lost with folks like David Blaine and Chris Angel.

Where is the Magic?

Spirophita said...

Well, I don't think it has to be who you are in your work life.

I am an aquarist, a painter, a pianist, a landscape architect, an academic, a DJ.

And I do it all in my free time, and none of it for money. :)

well-intentioned heartbreaker said...

Amazing post Chelsea.. Amazing amazing.

When I was young, really young, I dreamed of being a firefighter.. Then I got my foot stuck in a toilet (long story) and firefighters had to come get me out. And although I was very appreciative, I decided burning buildings and feet in toilets weren't for me.

In grade 5 I was chosen by my school to attend a creative writing course. I got to go to another school every Thursday and write my heart out with other kids from schools all over the city. I loved it, and I've never turned back. As I grew up, I continued playing sports and fell in love with the media, with cameras. I'm now going to school for Broadcast Journalism and I couldn't be happier. I plan on combining all three of my passions, writing, sports and the media, and becoming a sports broadcaster. I know I'll make it, and I can't wait.

Thank you for the post, you really hit home reminding me to never lose my sense of wonder.

.. Don't lose yours either. You are fantastic. You'll make it.

Meeks said...

Brilliant post, my dear. This will have me thinking all day.
When I was little, I wanted to be the youngest author ever published. I also wanted to be on Broadway, singing my heart out. This was before I knew that there were limited parts for women over 6 feet. I still get that sense of wonder, though, when I see a musical on stage. I think Wicked was the last one that did it for me.
Thanks for this - I'm going to work on getting my wonder back :)

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

janellegrace- I think you're exactly right, I suppose that's why I TALK about it, is because I dont think we SHOULD lose our sense of wonder. I think it just gets difficult to keep in tact all the time.

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

janellegrace- I think you're exactly right, I suppose that's why I TALK about it, is because I dont think we SHOULD lose our sense of wonder. I think it just gets difficult to keep in tact all the time.

Vanessa said...

Your line "in our adult lives turning off the wonder for fear of appearing naive" is so true, for me anyway. I used to say I had a childlike exuberance applied to everything in my life. After a bad relationship, things change. Now some days I just feel like I go through the motions.

Morgan said...

This is another great one!

My childhood dream was to be married to Jonathan Taylor Thomas, have 100 kids, live in a mansion in Hawaii, drive a limo and be a supermodel. Gotta love MASH.

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

I DEFINITELY PLAYED THAT SAME GAME OF MASH!

Katelin said...

this is a great post and i can relate so much. growing up in la my whole life i basically dreamed of hollywood. and luckily i still do. i'm still in awe of the little things and hope to one day figure out what it is i'm supposed to do with hollywood by my side. :)

ChasingParadise said...

How true, Chelsea. I remember when, as a little girl from a small town, I would see the "big city" and my whole body felt like it was on vibrate. I was alive and excited and nothing could stop me. Now, as a 25 year old woman who has been disappointed and embarrassed far too many times in her life, I am afraid to show wonder. I am afraid to have big eyes staring at things I've never seen. I'm scared of looking naive and inexperienced. As a child, I remember feeling safe. As an adult, I feel...anxious. Like it's all slipping away from me. And I don't know how to keep holding on.

Surfergrrl said...

you know for me, i've always been and still am a daydreamer. I still have the same daydreams i had as a kid sitting in a classroom. (which sometimes affected my grades) Obviously there are adult things like bills to pay and rent...but i still believe in my dreams.

Toni-Marie said...

I wanted to be the person who decides what music people listen to and dont, I wanted to be the decision person.
I suppose I kind of am, I host a radio show, on which I pick the tracks. But hopefully one day I'll be further up the chain.

ablogofherown said...

I have to agree with wayfaring wanderer, I think my sense of wonder only got bigger as I got older.

Boyfriend is also laughing at me because I tell him a flower looks like a snowman, or I have 20 billion career ideas.
When I was younger I just wanted to play and watch I Love Lucy. Actually I really wanted to be Lucy.
I think because I knew there was no way to do that I didn't have a whole lot of wonder.
Now I'm filled with wonder. My cup runeth over with wonder. Great post, as always Chelsea.

moxie said...

It's funny that the first comment listed syncs up with what I was going to say. I thought that was the most wonderfullest, a big white dress day and pretty smiley pictures--that was what life was leading to, right? That's as good as it gets? I guess growing up means realizing the backside to dreams, and realizing dreams change and become reality, which isn't always happy time. But that's ok. In fact, walking off the beaten aisle, er, path, might make me happier, now that I know who I really am and what I want. I'm happy without the dream. I'm happy awake.

just me said...

I would be a unicorn.

...or have a pet one.

I was so obsessed it was frightening.

Glamorous Good Girl said...

I just graduated from law school...on Sunday (05/18). And yet, my father still told the story of what I originally wanted to be; my first "When I grow up, I want to be..."

Can you guess what it was?? A peanut person. At sporting events. That's right...the guy that yells "Peanuts. $3.00."

And yet, here I am a graduated law student about to take the bar, and I'm still not sure that I want to be a lawyer. I think I mightt want to be a teacher, or a peanut guy, or a spa reviewer.

Truth is, you'll always wonder if what you're doing is the "right" thing and you'll probably always be happier doing something else. But, how many of us can really be spa reviewers?? Or heiresses??

Good luck!

Melain said...

I just love the way you write, Chelsea. The images are perfect. I still have those moments of resurfaced wonder, and I LOVE them.

I would be a world famous singer.

emmaenlighted said...

"The key is keeping awe alive."

You're completely right. :)

Henrietta Hussy said...

i have alway wanted and still do to be famous. i dont care what i am famous for, i just want to be famous.

this is lame, i know, but after i saw diablo cody win her oscar, for weeks i kept envisioning my self on the stage instead of her.

i had been planning on starting a blog for a while but that was when i realized that right now is the time that to do that.

the internet rocks, everyone/anyone is/can be famous.

Lauren said...

Read the book "The Little Prince." Whenever I feel like i'm slipping, losing my sense of childlike awe, I like to look back at that book. It keeps me grounded, yet still hopeful.

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

Henrietta hussy- AH! ISN'T "BLOG FAME" FUN!?

JK said...

I think this was written beautifully.

When I was growing up and people asked what I'd like to be when I grew up I used to say I just wanted to be normal. I, like you, always had huge open eyes for everything around me and I thought that wasn't normal...I guess. I've also always wanted to make the world a better place. Like you, I learned that reality would make this a hard task.

Last, don't you think movies today are becoming too real? There was such a charm to old time movies. The imagination behind them gave people hope and inspiration. What movies do that anymore?

You're writing was just so beautiful, I had a lot to say!

JK said...

I think this was written beautifully.

When I was growing up and people asked what I'd like to be when I grew up I used to say I just wanted to be normal. I, like you, always had huge open eyes for everything around me and I thought that wasn't normal...I guess. I've also always wanted to make the world a better place. Like you, I learned that reality would make this a hard task.

Last, don't you think movies today are becoming too real? There was such a charm to old time movies. The imagination behind them gave people hope and inspiration. What movies do that anymore?

You're writing was just so beautiful, I had a lot to say!

 
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