Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bell bottoms and feathers were my uniform

When I was six, I wanted to be a disco dancer when I grew up. When most of my friends were playing at nurse, giving shots and checking reflexes, I was strutting my stuff in my wood-paneled basement, music coming from the ceiling speakers my dad had installed. A flip of a switch was all it took and my basement sanctuary was filled with the Bee Gees, Donna Summer and KC and the Sunshine Band, with me lip-synching and groovin' to the tunes.

A shy girl who used to hide behind my dad's legs at a stranger's approach (and sometimes even someone I knew), I was not one to seek out centre stage. Unless that stage had a mic or space to do the funky chicken.

After the cancelation of Solid Gold (gasp!) and the death of Disco (a dark era in my childhood, plus I realized that "Disco Dancer" looked a little out of place on a resume), I traded my polyester bell-bottoms and air band paraphenalia for a Barbie head and a pair of scissors. I was to be a hair dresser and Barbie was to be my first client. It was a short-lived hair dresser-client relationship. You see, I thought Barbie rocked the New Wave-Thompson Twins look; Ken did not and promptly dumped Barbie's sorry ass. She was so cutting edge that Ken cut her loose. I also didn't realize that Barbie's hair was not like mine and would not, with any cajoling or special products, grow back.

A few years and many pimples later, I would enter the world of writing, in which I currently reside. Back then it was bad poetry that enveloped my world, full of teenage angst and run-on stanzas. Now, it's blogging and freelance writing, and for over 15 years it was business - all business - working as editor of two trade magazines and a community newspaper. But alas, that is now my night job. While I still relate more to the writing career part of me, it's my day job as an account coordinator for a promotions company that pays most of the bills. It's said that you will change careers three to four times during your lifetime. If I count the disco dancing and hairdresser stints, I'm onto my fourth career. Is it my ideal one? No. That's an emphatic NO.

I've discovered that while it was nice to have a break from the 18-hour days I was putting in at the community newspaper, I still crave the interaction between the subject, the writer and the audience. I miss the creativity, the deadlines (it's a different type of deadline now) and the joy of headline writing at 3 a.m. Okay, maybe not those, but I definitely miss the creativity.

I've also discovered that it's a different world out there for writers. Gone are the traditional newspapers roles (thanks blogs!) and everyone must think outside of the box. And that means looking outside of the box for jobs too. That's what I'm aiming to do with this whole blogging thing and perhaps I'll glean some suggestions for new paths to take on my writing journey. Web content? Sure. Travel writer? Duh! That would be ideal.

What I miss most from my childhood career aspirations is the unlimited possibilities where a disco dancer had just as much merit as a nurse, lawyer or doctor. Where a cowboy could play street hockey with a would-be accountant, or where my cousin, who wanted to be a duck when he grew up, was allowed to aspire to such a post. He did, however, eventually trade his webbed feet in for a spot on a sailing crew. Now that would look rad on a resume!

1 comment:

  1. I wanted to be a Solid Gold dancer! I kid you not. I wanted to be a dancer on that show with their flashy outfits. I took some dance as a youngster, but it never stuck. Nothing seems to stick to me 'cos I seem to aspire to want to be things I cannot at this point in my life.