May you be with the . . .

Call it narcissism. Or lack of creativity. Or stubbornness. But, instead of wanting to be the character in a movie or book like most kids, and donning the cape as Batman, I wrote my real self into the story as me. While other kids were arguing over who got to be Luke vs. who got to be Han in their make believe, I avoided the scuffle and was simply Cherri, the previously unmentioned yet equally important heroine of saga-du-jour.

Probably the main reasons for this had to do with spending many hours alone obsessing about story—whatever story it happened to be at the time—and I never quite saw characters I identified with in these stories. I saw lots of people I wouldn’t mind being more like. I wanted to be as hopeful and earnest as Mikey in The Goonies and as loose with the rules as Bill Murray’s Trip in Meatballs (yeah baby!), but I wasn’t. I was uptight and nervous during the years I remember doing this, and getting lost in some other character suggested a sense of abandon I couldn’t fathom or afford.

I obsessed and could only think about the stories of Star Wars or The Belgariad, but I was firmly planted in reality and couldn’t fantasize my way into another character’s shoes. I could be me though. Certainly a braver, saucier me with bigger biceps and clearer skin, but me still.

I didn’t really write then. No one gave me permission and I still needed that. So these scripts I wrote were all in my head, long and weaving through the day while I rode the bus, walked home, wandered the halls, and didn’t sleep at night. I was a supporting player; the story arc was already written. But, I kicked some droid ass, saved the goondocks and amused all the counselors in training with my antics, though. ("We are the CITs so pity us / the kids are brats the food is hideous.")

Imagine me as just another counselor, singing along below.


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