Saturday, March 31, 2007

Are You Who You Thought You'd Be?

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


Me said...

I so want to see that picture when you get a scanner! Most of my pictures when I was little are pretty tomboyish--camping, hiking, fishing, generally playing outside. But what did I think I'd be? Well, for a lo-o-ong time I wanted to be an astronaut. (Right up until the Challenger accident.) I guess the one through-line in all my plans was the dream big factor. I was never one to want a simple life--I always wanted spectacular. Astronaut. Socialite. Movie star. High-powered environmental lawyer. United Nations spokesperson. With writing, I get to live out all these dreams... through my characters, of course.


stephhale said...

Great post, Heather. I am nowhere near the person I thought I would be. I NEVER thought I would stay living in the same town I grew up in, but after moving away I realized that it wasn't all it's cracked up to be. And I don't think growing up that I would ever have had enough faith in myself to believe I'd become an author!

TinaFerraro said...

Interesting! I had a lot of ambition as a kid, and definitely knew I'd head to LA and pursue my writing. What I didn't realize was how happy I could be in a fairly normal, small town life, and how watching my kids grow and advance in their lives could give me such joy. So yes and no. I am, on one hand the person I thought I'd be. But I didn't even know to dream what I consider some of the best stuff of my life!

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