Monday, June 12, 2006

Underoos, my special friend

Now that THE BIG MOVE is done and we are mostly settled I get to finally participate in Rachelle’s “My Life Monday.” This week’s topic: a favorite childhood toy…

When I was young I used to love playing with my imaginary friends. I know this is true for almost any child at some point, but it was a bit extreme for me and it lasted beyond what I think most would consider “normal.” In addition to having my imaginary friends, I also pretended to be characters other than myself. Again, so do many children, but I guess for me it became persistent enough that I tried to convince people whom I’d just met that I was the other character; my parents promptly took me to a psychologist when I convinced my babysitter that my name was Dorothy.

I pretended to be several of my favorite heroines from books, movies, and cartoons. Dorothy was a big one – she had a dog, which I liked. Often I was seen running around our yard with my palm to my forehead as I communicated with the woodland creatures; I was Sheena, Queen of the Jungle after all. I actually saw part of that movie on TV recently and realized that it is practically porn, by the way. I can’t believe I was allowed to watch it. My parents must have been unaware. Anyway, I also pretended to be Kira, the female Gelfling from the Dark Crystal quite often. This was the best way to have a working romantic relationship with Peter Pan,which was clearly acceptable because they both had pointy ears, without having the difficult size discrepancies that he must have had with Tinkerbell – she was just doomed to long for him forever. Tinkerbell and I did have something in common though in that we hated Wendy for trying to take beloved Peter from us. But I digress.

I loved loved loved to pretend I was Wonderwoman. She was so amazingly awesome. For me, Wonderwoman was my first introduction to superpowers and the fact that she was a woman was just so cool to me. And she was an awesome superhero: powerful, confident, quick, and GORGEOUS. I loved her and therefore wanted to be her, and so, one of my favorite things in the entire world was my Wonderwoman Underoos. For most of my young childhood I could be found in my back yard wearing the equivalent of a swimsuit, swinging around a yellow piece of yarn (my AWESOME lasso.) It was very frustrating to me to not actually be able to lasso anything with my…string unless I set up the scenario very strategically. Actually, I guess I can’t remember that it ever worked, but I was not discouraged, I was Wonderwoman.

I’d like to say this was a fun phase that soon passed with nothing more than the minor concern of my parents, but this whole pretending-to-be-someone-else thing lasted a while. And yeah, I know I look too old to be wearing my Underoos to my tennis lesson there, and it probably was very inappropriate, but that’s not what I mean.

I rediscovered my love of acting when I was cast as Queen Aggravain in “Once Upon a Mattress” in 10th grade. I’ve loved it ever since. In college I majored in Theater and Education, spending more time in rehearsals than I did studying. And in Chicago I even made it my career for a little while until I learned that adding the business element really took out the fun. And that’s what acting has always been for me: pure fun. As a child I acted like other people because it allowed me to live in another world. I could be whoever I wanted to be, wherever I wanted to be. As an adult I loved it for the same reasons. I could be stronger than I was, funnier, smarter, prettier (at least it felt that way). I could even do things that in my own life I would not allow myself to do and not be accountable for these actions, which sometimes seemed more real than pretend. And the imaginary friends I created for myself as a child became the people watching me and the people acting with me. Peter thought I was funny, and so did the person on stage or in the studio with me, and that was a feeling I had not been able to experience as a child – being able to be these characters and interact with real people in front of real people, that was new. The best friends I have ever had are those whom I have acted with: my high school friends were fellow "Theater Nerds," my best friend in College was my servant in "Taming of the Shrew," most of my friends in Chicago and I started a theater company for a short while, and Hubby was my brother in "Arcadia." (eeek!)

When you really love acting, there is no other feeling in the world than really connecting with the character you are playing and being in the moment with the other person on the stage. Everything else falls away and you are just there with them, for real, perhaps aware of the energy of the audience as well, which only feeds into the hilarity/tension/fear/love/whatever it is at the time. It feels wonderful, powerful, just like Wonderwoman.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey sparky, what about Peter Pan??? Or better yet May and Eddie in Fool for Love???

Just wonderin'

Hope you and the family are well, we are. Call me sometime after 6 EDT.

-An old friend who didn't know what he lost until it was gone

10:46 PM  
Blogger Rachelle said...

I love your pictures! I am glad you enjoy acting. It's something that scares me to death! LOL! Thanks so much for participating!

11:12 PM  
Blogger Butterfly Kisses said...

That was a very entertaining post to read. The pictures are so cute. And I looooved The Dark Crystal as a kid also. LOVED IT!

1:24 AM  
Blogger Adventures In Babywearing said...

AH! I was first going to say I had imaginary friends, too- one named Forcon and I have no idea why that name! We must have been young in the same day & age as I had the same underoos-loved Wonderwoman, & The Dark Crystal, too! THEN I majored in Theatre & Education in college in Chicago (Columbia & Second City) Anyway- can you tell I enjoyed your blog?

11:23 AM  
Blogger ABC Momma said...

I had friends with imaginations like yours. I had fun playing along as we would go on some quest all over the school playground to find some special treasure that some nasty villian (probably some 4th grader) had stolen.

My mom wouldn't buy me Underoos.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Nikkie said...

I had those same underoo's! I throughly enjoyed your post! Imagination is truly the best toy in the world!

1:51 PM  
Blogger Kelli in the Mirror said...

I had the Spider Woman underoos! And I loved Kira too. And Fizzgig. I used to run around pretending I had a pet Fizzgig, whatever he was.

4:03 PM  
Blogger emlouisa said...

I'm LOVING the Wonder Woman attire. Tres chic.

10:19 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

OK, Let me just say that I was never even on the same level(if there is such a thing) of pretending as you. Not even close. I maybe played dress-up, but yours was so extreme. And to act in a High School play? Oh my word. NO WAY!! It was fun to read about though. I DID used to put on plays in the back yard for my family. That was really the extent of it. Now I feel like I missed out on something!! Ha. What ever happened to Underoos anyway? I used to love those things!!

12:00 AM  
Blogger Glass Half Full said...

I found you thru Adventures In Babywearing. I laughed at this because I had the same Underoos as a kid!! I used to put them on and play superheros with my two older brothers.

9:47 AM  
Blogger Mama D said...

I share your love of Wonderwoman. Apparently my love of the female superhero has not died. I LOVED the television shows 'Dark Angel' and 'Buffy'. I also loved Rogue in X men and Trinity in The Matrix. I am glad you talked about your acting. I always wanted to hear more. I bet you are terrific!

4:08 PM  
Blogger kate said...

i too am a theatre nerd. i discovered it in comm. college when my mom "forced" me to go to school--any school. i will never forget my first experience seeing a play go from rehearsal to performance. it was pure magic. . . just (as you said) like wonderwoman.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Dawnyel said...

I think I had the same thing going on as a child. I often imagined I was someone else..doing other things! I love the wonderwoman neat! :D

8:28 PM  

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