Growing up, I wanted to be a ballet dancer–at least, that’s what I told my first grade teacher.
(My first grade teacher was my teacher for 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th, as well, but that’s another story. Many stories.)
I also remember her telling me how ridiculous an idea that was and how I would never be able to master ballet
I was too tall and too thick.
So I decided not to be a ballet dancer.
I told my first grade teacher I wanted to be a poet and a singer, and she worked so hard at criticizing and shaping my craft that I decided poems were best written in the top of apple trees or on roofs
or in my tree house in the old elm, words washed down with Jello tea, soda crackers, and sometimes tears.
And I told my teacher I wanted to be an actress and to make people laugh, and she told me I had knock-knees–in front of the whole school.
They did laugh.
I didn’t know what knock-knees were, but it shamed me, and I knew I would never be an actress.
I stopped telling my first grade teacher what I wanted to be and just became it in spite of her.
But I never danced.