Average Jane

Twinkle Twinkle Little … FIRE!?!!?!

Did any of you know me before I turned, say, 10 years old?  I am going to assume the answer is “no” which means no spoilers (and no one to fill in the gaps I assure you I am about to leave in this story).

I was the world’s most awkward kid. Some of my abnormalities I am lucky enough to remember (wouldn’t wear shoes, had a mom that all the kids were afraid of, wore headgear to school). Some I am blessed enough to forget (I apparently didn’t wear underwear).

Here’s one thing that was undeniable: I was afraid of everything. Dogs, cats, clowns, magic, Chuck E. Cheese, Mickey Mouse, fireworks, thunderstorms… the list is endless. Bless my mother’s heart, she swears this is why I lack social graces. I couldn’t go to birthday parties because I was inevitably afraid of the entertainment.

But one story in particular comes to mind tonight, one that involved me, a silver tutu, and my ballet dancing debut.

I still remember the smell of the Aquanet that held my bun tightly to my head, the bobby pins jabbing my 5 year old scalp. I remember the red lipstick and blue eyeshadow. I remember the enormous silver star with a cutout for my face, the sparkling silver tutu, white tights, and perfect pink ballet shoes. I remember 10 or so other matching stars ready to make our twinkling debut.

We stepped out on stage and the music began. The dancing, the twinkling, the… smoke?


Smoke smoke smoke. Smoke.

Well, that was enough to send this girl into a tizzy. And off stage. I was inconsolable. The show stopped and the teachers in the wings were waving gym mats around to dissipate the smoke from, not a fire, no no. It was a smoke machine. For effect. Could no one have told a sister?

The smoke cleared and the show resumed. Honestly, I could have easily have forgotten about this interlude were it not for one particular twinkling star that ended up at college with me. I don’t know how she remembered that episode. I don’t know why she thought I’d want to relive that moment as a 20-something.

My mom saved that costume. Until she and my dad moved to FL, I knew exactly where that star-face was in her closet. I’d see it on my way in and out of the shower sometimes, a reminder of how scared I once was. Stars usually represent hope and harmony. That star represented fear and fire.

This is the first time, sitting here right here right now, that I made the connection between all my fear as a kid, and my adult anxiety issues. They seem so different. I feared “things” as a kid, and “things I can’t control” now. But that tightness in my chest and the welling tears in my eyes are still the same. The havoc it wreaks on my social life. The same. Just ask my mom.

Anyway, my dancing career may have ended long before it started, but it’s a cute little fireside story for the grandkids one day.

What is your favorite embarrassing childhood story?


Trackbacks & Pingbacks


  1. Everything between the ages of 8 and 18.

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 9 months ago
  2. * Alex says:

    My dad dropped me off at Miss midget daycare in my superman underwear, having forgotten to put pants on me. Maybe that’s more embarassing for him?

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 9 months ago

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