That’s me at age eight, the year I got really serious about writing.
Once in a while people ask about childhood goals. Well, not very often. But I used to ask the kids I taught to write about their goals. When asked, here’s what I say about my childhood goals, which I remember vividly. (The vividness is partly due to the fact that I began a diary I made myself, in order to remember what it was like to be a kid, because I realized two digits were coming up soon, and it was all downhills from there.)
First I wanted to be a boy, preferably with wings. Because boys had much more fun in adventures, and when they grew up, they did not have to wear ugly red lipstick, they did not have to go to the hairdresser and come out with helmet hair that smelled like nothing on earth, they did not have to wear girdles. They did not have to wash dishes, or hang the laundry out to dry and then pull it in and iron every item, did not have to wear hair curlers to bed, did not have to cook, or clean up after everybody else besides themselves. They did not have to be told to act like a little lady when they wanted to run and play and climb trees. They were not scolded with warnings that the only future they could hope for was to “catch” a husband, and being themselves was guaranteed to drive those husbands away. Men wanted to marry little ladies.
By the time I was eight, I wanted to stay a girl because boys were idiots. They didn’t seem to realize all the freedom they had, all they wanted to do was play baseball and boring stuff. They were always spitting, which was disgusting, and they were mean. Why didn’t they want to go off and have adventures, since they were allowed to? I wanted to be an adventuring girl, with long hair and ball gowns. And since it was clear that the world was not going to cooperate, then I was going to have it by drawing out the stories in my head, and later, by writing them down. And that was that–I never wanted to be anything else, though I had brief flirtations with various things, like dancer, artist, and of course the practical things that teachers tried to shepherd us toward. It was always writer.
How about you? What did you want to be, and did you achieve it, or are you on your way? Did your goals change–or did the world change around you?