We don’t get to choose when or where we are born or who our parents are. We are solely dependent on those who bring us into the world.
The balance of how we learn to live and love hinges on what we were taught. Done well, it is a staircase…done carelessly, it is a slippery slope.
Life is random. We can’t predict the twists and turns. Most of what happens around us is out of our control. The beauty of life is in its constant change and because of that we are never fully formed.
Where you start in life does not dictate where you will go.
I am the oldest of six children. I was four, my brother was three and my sister was two when my mother had twins. She didn’t know she was having twins and they came two and a half months early on April Fool’s Day. When my father called everyone to say my mother had twins they all thought it was a joke. (When I was fifteen my mother found out she was pregnant again. She thought it was a joke that time.)
We lived in an apartment complex which I found out years later was really the projects. It was full of young families just like ours with too many kids and too many bills.
I was a hard child to keep entertained. I could read at a very early age and was what my mother would like to call a “progressive thinker”. That was just her way of telling people to stay ten steps ahead of me…or else.
My mother recognized early on that I needed to be distracted. She made sure there were books around and my nose was always in one. There was a lot of noise in our house and reading was a way for me to drown it out. I loved the way the ink smelled on the pages and the feel of the paper. I remember how excited I was when my mother started buying encyclopedias at the grocery store, one volume at a time for a dollar…with a twenty dollar purchase. That set stopped with the letter “T”. I always thought it was because u v w x y and z just weren’t that interesting. It simply never dawned on me that my parents couldn’t afford to keep adding to it. There were not a lot of days when they had the twenty dollars to spend and an extra buck to spring for the next letter.
We didn’t know we were poor. It didn’t matter.
Early on, we didn’t travel much. We didn’t even have a television. I remember all of us piling into the station wagon and rushing to my Aunt’s house. She had gotten a color television, which turned out to be a piece of cellophane stretched across the screen with a blue stripe on top, a yellow one in the middle and a green one across the bottom. We all sat and watched Ed Sullivan. It bothered me that the top of Topo Gigio’s head was blue and his face was yellow. My first experience with color television was a big fizzle.
In my books I could travel page by page. I wandered word by word and I taught myself about things that my parents could only dream about being able to give me. Books opened my imagination and were my adventures before I could start making adventures of my own.
Right before I started kindergarten, we moved to a real house in the suburbs. It was a single story three bedroom ranch with one bathroom. A mansion. My two brothers slept in one bedroom and my three sisters and I slept in another, two of us on bunk beds. I had the top bunk. My mother took down the ladder because it was too tempting for the twins to climb. I used the end rails to get up to my bed. To this day I can climb like a monkey. After my youngest sister was born, the single bed was replaced by another bunk and all four girls shared a room.
My mother was called in for a parent teacher conference a few months after I started kindergarten. It was March and our class had colored pictures of St. Patrick.
I colored St. Patrick a deep chocolate brown and then made him three dimensional by gluing a tissue on his nose because he “had a cold”. The teacher was not amused that I made St. Patrick black with a snotty nose…and so my parent teacher conference series began.
I wasn’t a difficult child. I didn’t cause trouble…I just wanted to learn more and make things more exciting. I liked my world big and struggled when I was presented with limitations. I was funny and quirky and way way too smart. I was always very respectful of adults, and had the vocabulary to match. The grown ups referred to me as a fifty three year old midget.
I was different. It wasn’t until third grade that I found my stride. We started to do shows. I had a song to perform in the Christmas show. It was a duet. The music started and my partner threw up backstage. I marched to the front of the stage and belted out the song by myself. The crowd clapped enthusiastically and I decided on my own to do an encore…twice. The teacher had to come out and lead me off the stage…my arms thrown out, still singing.
A ham was born.
There was no money for dancing lessons or acting lessons. My mother would drag out her sewing machine after we were asleep and make costumes for all of the plays and skits that I wrote. I had a built in cast with all those brothers and sisters.
My creativity has never stopped because I was never told that my imagination had any limitations. It is the most precious gift that my parents gave to me and is one that I hope I’ve passed down to my own children.
From that time on, I have done everything that I have ever really wanted to do.
While it has not always worked out the way I wished it would have, I learned to step in front of the scaredy cats and take chances.
I am still flying without a net.
My name is Cynthia.
I said I would be a famous actress and work in the movies. While the actress thing hasn’t panned out fully…yet, I moved to New York City with $250 in my pocket. I became a casting director and then a stuntwoman…falling down stairs, hit by cars and set on fire in many television shows and movies.
I always wanted to live on a farm and have a horse. I live on 236 acres and have ten horses. Or they have me…just depends on how you look at it.
Though I never pictured myself as married, I have two ex-husbands. I still remain easily distracted.
And while I wasn’t planning on being a parent, I have two of the most amazing children who graced me with being their Mom.
I don’t waste time fretting about disappointments. They make me appreciate the littler victories more.
Turns out I am a talented bad dancer. Who knew that I’d be so bad that I am now a really good bad dancer.
I will find humor in most anything. If I cry, I want it to be from laughing too hard.
I like to say that I am interested and interesting. I have surrounded myself with people who have made my life richer for knowing them. I have met some who have taken energy, but so many more who have added to my joy and enriched my spirit. All of them have taught me something.
I continue to learn.
This is one of the last few stones in my cyberpyramid. I hope that visitors in the years to come will enjoy brushing their fingers across the face of it…feeling the words in the stone.
I am…and so are you.
Day 354…Imagination has no limitations. Take chances.