hi. A wonderful friend suggested that I share begin sharing some excerpts of my book with my loyal readers. So, hi. I want to thank Christopher Gutierrez for being such an inspiration to me, and helping out a random girl who happens to write charming emails. Check out his work @ deadxstop.com. This is the first chapter of book but not the opening line. My aim was to show the reader that, I have been making the same mistakes for a very long time...my whole life. That my life as a social extrovert/career introvert has been brewing many years. I missed you all last week. Sorry I was away, I have been busy finding my footing in my new city, which is proving difficult. I constantly thank god for diet coke, pumpkin spice candles + you.
I am your average, everyday kind of girl. I have mousy brown hair that I dye blonde. I am too tall to be considered short, but too short to be a supermodel. My parents are average people, a schoolteacher and a mechanic. The town where I was raised had the quintessential number of gas stations and one Wal-Mart.
I grew up performing dance moves around my parents’ middle class Canadian home to anyone who would watch. I would constantly run out of batteries for my bright pink boombox. I would sit in the corner and play Monopoly by myself, being both the thimble and the horse when my brother, three years older, was busy in his quest to reach the next highest score in Mario Bros. I am okay at most things. I can make pancakes and eggs, but you would not want me to make you dinner.! I can sing a little, and inside the shower I sound pretty good, I think. I have a slightly large forehead, an awkwardly pointed nose, and suffer from bouts of annoying adult acne. When you mix this together with a pair of perfectly arched eyebrows, a huge smile of straight pearly whites and my golden brown eyes, you get a girl who, when dressed up, turns heads and when grocery shopping at 9 a.m., in sweatpants and a hat, receives not a second glance. I blame growing up in Canada for making me so polite and nice. I come from the land of 'please' and 'thank you'. I have never littered so much as a plastic straw wrapper in my entire life. I like animals. If need be, I can build a really great outdoor emergency lean-to tent out of twigs and a tarp. I know this because in 8th grade I was forced to take an elective class called, Outdoor Education. I learned how to build a fire, basic first aid, and what deer poop looked like. I did very well in this class and received a 98% on my report card. This score made up for the fact that I failed 8th grade French. I could identify deer poop but I couldn't fluently speak one of the two official languages of my country.
Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to be a dancer. I blame it on 80’s music videos where the stars were always surrounded by the coolest dancers in the world who wore trendy costumes and had perfect hair and makeup. I wanted to live in the world of lighting, camera angles, and exotic locations. I wanted to be best friends with the cartoon cat in Paula Abdul’s, “Opposites Attract” video and I wanted to a part of Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation” army. I never wanted to be the official star of the video, just the star behind the star, in tap shoes.
I can vividly remember my first, "creative movement" class. I was four years old and wore a pair of pink tights. We were dancing in a circle and I was busy banging away on a Fisher Price drum, inside a big red barn in my very small town. Someone came and whisked me away from the circle. Too polite to interrupt the teacher during class to ask to go to the bathroom, I just stood there soaking my pink leotard and tights with bright yellow urine. Thus began a life of public embarrassment.
Years later I had made almost no progress. I was twelve and had received the “honorable mention” ribbon at Showstoppers, one of the nation's biggest dance competitions. I was the only dancer that weekend who left with the bright pink ribbon and I was convinced that I was special. Years later I realized that "honorable mention" was only given to dancers whose scores were so low that the judges could not award an actual medal. I was nine. I was terrible. I was convinced that I had found my calling.
In high school, I invited my very first boyfriend to watch me perform in a showcase at our local theatre. Halfway through my routine, the snap at the top of my costume came undone and I flashed him and most of my town. By this point, I had already crashed and burned so many times that it did not faze me. I simply continued to do my steps as I reached down, pulled up my top, and refastened it. The audience cheered at my resilience and I learned that it is not about what falls on your plate but what you do with it. Life is about reactions and everyone is just waiting to see yours.
I spent most of my youth being loud and weird in public, but sullen and introspective while alone in my room at night. I would copy down the lyrics of my favorite Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins songs and plaster them around my bedroom. My walls were a contradiction, much like I was: a layer of dark, angsty words, surrounded by ballerinas in gorgeous tutus and tiaras who were contorted in perfect first arabesques. I would stare at the ballerinas on the wall and convince myself that it was my destiny to be just like them. Every evening after my parents kissed me good night, I would sneak out from under my covers and quietly do a full workout of sit-ups, push-ups and stretches. I would crawl back into bed, sweaty and hopeful that one day it would be me up on that big stage.
None of the signs in my life pointed to a career in entertainment. I have scrawny, long limbs and when my hair is pulled back in a bun, the only thing people notice about me is my 5- inch huge forehead. There is nothing remarkable about my appearance or my talents. I don’t come from a "showbiz" family. My uncle isn’t a producer at some multimillion-dollar motion picture studio, like most kids in Hollywood these days. I have terrible feet by dancer standards, the point being unremarkable at best, and I couldn’t do splits until I was seventeen. But whatever setbacks I encountered, I never gave up.! I loved what I was doing and I loved to perform. I was a great dancer, if you only watched my face, and I had the highest hopes that at some point, my body and technique would catch up. Dancing for me was always the one thing that made me special. When the awkwardness of adolescence caught up with me, I never had to deal with the cruel punishment of the “cool” kids because I was always running away to dance class. When everyone else was going to the movies or hanging out at parties, I was away doing the thing that made me different. Dance was an escape from the real life that I was so terrible at living. I lived in a dream world of glitter and costumes, of props and pride. I felt happiest when I was alone in my room at night, choreographing entire shows that I dreamt of performing for my class.
In my dream world, I was front and center, making everyone who ever doubted me, a believer.
When I arrived in New York City, I was a fresh-faced dancer with nothing to my name except a dance bag full of dreams. I fought my way into the world of entertainment the only way I knew how, kicking and screaming. It came as no surprise that I would throw myself into womanhood and love in the same way—fearlessly, wildly, with all of my heart and almost none of my brain.