My dad recently sent me a picture of me and my brother, taken out in front of my great-grandfather's church when I was about three. Wish I could post the gem here, but I'm scannerless at the moment.
Anyway in the picture, I'm standing on a bench in a petal pink princess-sleeved babydoll dress. My hair is on the short side, bobbed and wavy-curly. My face, though chubbier, is the same; turned up nose, round cheeks, the famous Davis chin -- and of course my trademark smirk. My hands are at my sides, my fingers slightly curled like I'm nervous, or afraid of falling off the bench, while my five year-old brother, in a blue suit and a striped tie waves, a bit of a rakish smile on his lips.
Did I grow up to be tentative, afraid of falling like the picture suggests?
No. For most of my life, I've been fearless. Not easy to do for a "nice" girl raised in a teacher's family. But I suppose there is nothing wrong with being nice and fearless at the same time. Somehow, my amazing dad gave me permission to chase after dreams, do what I want, make my own mistakes, let myself fall off the bench and climb back up.
That's not saying that I've never been afraid. I'm afraid a lot. But walking through the fear toward what you want is empowering. About a year and a half ago I wrote down a quote from Bill Cosby that said, "Decide you want it, more than you are afraid of it." It's still on my fridge.
I didn't turn out how I thought I would way back when I was a little girl standing on a bench and afraid of falling. I don't know if at that young I thought about anything other than my dog Sam and the daisies my dad and I had planted in the backyard.
But I do know that when I was in third grade starting to write plays for my friends to perform I had this idea that I'd do something like that when I was a grown up. Back then, I devoured the book Little Women, dreaming of living a life like Jo March -- and then one day I wake up and I'm in my thirties writing stories.
The universe does have a way of bringing you what you wish for, doesn't it? So here's my question -- are you who you thought you'd be?
Heather Davis is the author of
Never Cry Werewolf
Coming in 2008 from HarperCollins