While watching the amazingly talented Justin Timberlake on the VMA’s recently I realised that as a child I had 2 clear dreams I wanted to fulfil- 1 was to work in a hotel in some capacity. I’ve always loved everything about hotels- from the concierge, to the hotel lobbies to the extremely overpriced club sandwiches. I even applied to do Hotel Management at University but quickly ran the other way when I realised how much maths was involved. Numbers and I have never been friends.
My second dream was to become a back up dancer. Very different to the current day Video Hoes. I’m talking about real dancing, choreography and jazz hands! Remember I grew up at a time when artists like Janet Jackson, Madonna and MC Hammer (the reason for my love of happy pants) had the most amazing dance routines with dozens of back up dancers all dancing in unison. I wanted to be one of them. I started on my road to that dream as a young child. I signed up to jazz ballet at around the age of 8 and I quickly acquired a love of dance. I couldn’t wait to don my blue leotards that I wore with a piece of elastic around my waist to define it. My hair would be pulled up into a bun so tight and sprayed with enough hair spray that it seemed to freeze my face as well. My ballet teacher was called Cheryl and we would always greet her with a curtsey and farewelled her at the end of each class with a round of applause and a unified sing-song of “thank-you Che-ryl”.
My friend and I were the token wog girls in a sea of willowy, blonde hair and blue eyes. For years we attended these classes with such an obsession and passion because we were convinced it would lead us to bigger and better things. We did concerts, and exams and rehearsals. We wore ridiculous costumes, sewed sequins onto caps and twirled and leaped our little hearts out. Everything was looking great in dance world.
Then something happened that bought my blossoming dancing career to a screeching halt. PUBERTY. Or should I say tits and arse?! Seemingly overnight my body blew up in all the (some would say right) wrong places. I grew hips, an arse and breasts all in the one go. My ballet body suddenly looked all sorts of awkward in my leotard. My body went from Kate Moss (remember I was 8yo) to Samantha Fox in the blink of an eye. Which would’ve been perfect if I was looking for a career as a singing Page 3 girl! But no, I wanted to be a dancer with no curves. A dancer that could wear her leotard without wearing a bra. A dancer that could jump around the room without fear of giving herself a black eye.
I really wish I had some curvy role models back then that I could’ve looked up to, that could’ve helped me persevere with my dancing – but it was too late. I didn’t like what I saw in the mirrored dance hall so my dancing career and dream of becoming a back up dancer was over at the ripe old age of 13. I hung up my leotards and leg warmers and haven’t picked them up since.
What was your childhood dream growing up? Are you living it? X