It’s never to late to live out a childhood fantasy. I realized this over the weekend while attending Decompression-a post Burning Man event to help us re-adjust to life away from ‘Home’.
When I was a little girl, I wanted to dance on stage. Most little girls have this dream, I’m sure. But, as the child of working-class parents who struggled, I soon realized recitals and dance costumes were expensive so not available to me.
This was made worse by the fact that my closest cousin had spendthrift parents who entered her into any and every activity available. Four times a year, I had to attend her Jonbenet-style dance recitals and watch as my cousin and the other kids were lavished with flowers, balloons and candy.
Looking back now, I’m glad my parents didn’t enter me into such bullshit, but I always missed the opportunity to perform in front of my cheering family and friends.
Fast forward to 2009 when I got to be part of the Fire Conclave for Burning Man and also perform at Decompression. We practiced for months to develop a performance including fire poi, hula hoop, staff, umbrellas and fans that was reviewed and accepted by the Managing Art Director of Burning Man.
For 2 years, I got to practice and perform with super cool and talented people for a large audience of fellow Burners who are pretty picky about their performance art.
And, each time, I would look out into the crowd and see the faces of 20+ of my campmates and friends who would whoop and holler and cheer me on.
As we moved around the crowd, losing each other and finding each other again among the tutu-ed, furry, wig-wearing crowd-something occurred to me.
Holy shit! -I thought. It must have been pretty difficult for all 20+ of my friends to work through the crowd, somewhat inebriated, and gather together exactly at my set time to the front of the stage to cheer me on.If you’ve been to these events, you know it’s like herding cats to gather everyone to one task during all of the over-stimulation happening.
Yet, all of these people care enough for me and believe enough in me that even when I was a novice (and not too interesting to watch) they still made great effort to support me and cheer for me.
So, maybe I didn’t get to wear sequins and chiffon and dance on stage for family who had to be coerced into coming. Now, I get to wear leather and big boots and move around with fire tools soaked in white gas so they burn smokeless and strong.
And, I think it’s no coincidence that I have 2 little girls who visit me at Burning Man each year to watch me spin fire and watch in amazement. Each year, their parents bring them by and these little girls love to show me their new hula hooping skills. And, I’m super stoked when I see kids play with (cheap) toys like hula hoops, poi, and staff.
So, I’m OK with the fact that I had to wait awhile to live out a childhood fantasy. And, yes, my dad and Stepmother stand in the cold each Xmas holiday to watch me spin fire in the snow and cheer and you can’t wipe the grin off of my face….