Case in point, while vacationing in the Wisconsin Dells last week, my 10-year-old daughter and her best friend and I were running from ride to ride in an amusement park on a chilly, rainy evening. Because of the weather, and it being close to closing time, there was no line on any of the roller coasters. We started with the smallest roller coaster, and worked our way up to the more challenging ones. As we rolled into the coaster station after surviving the Cyclops, which left me reeling and ready to lose my lunch, we were nonetheless, alive with terror and excitement. We exited the ride and at the fork in the path, I instinctively suggested that we ride again, simply because we could. We raced back into line in time to get on the very next roller coaster. As I sat in the front row with daughter awaiting the thrill of the first hill, I was reminded of being an 8 year old kid in line for The Racer at Kings Island, running through the maze of metal bars and jumping over the turnstiles, trying to fit in as many rides as I could on the super fast and hilly coaster, before a crowd overtook and created a wait.
I am the same thrill-seeker today as I was 35 years ago. Even though I haven’t been able to withstand the jerks and jostles or roller coasters without getting sick for at least a decade now, so have kept away from them, on this day I realized there’s no point in trying to fight it, but instead I should just lean into what’s at my core. My daughter inherited the trait as well, and the three of us worked through the fear to get to the buzz over and over again for the next 30 minutes.
Why do we fight our naturally inherent attributes…those things that inspire and drive us to be who we are? Why do we instead say we’ve “changed” and that we’re someone else now? As I think through my life, I’ve spent a lot of time selling shit. From ideas and concepts, to products and services, I’ve got both a natural talent and predisposed need for competition that is easy to fulfill with sales. While I refuse to this day to call myself a salesperson, in actuality, it’s my schtick. I won a Girl Scout horseback-riding camp at age 10 for selling 2000 boxes of cookies. I sold ad spaces in the yearbook at 16, ad time for the radio station I DJ’d for at 24, and lesbian dating services at 28, even though I didn’t have a single woman in the pool of existing clients to match up! I won a trip to Maui in my mid-30’s for selling new construction homes and a Caribbean cruise a few years later for selling jewelry fashion jewelry. Yet here I sit, calling myself a stay-at-home mom and a writer. Ha.
As Annie argued in Bridesmaids with her arch enemy Helen, “We stay the same but grow, I guess, a little bit….but I mean we’re changing who we are, which we always stay as.”
Like she said. We are who we are. We can change the way we act, the way we look, what we say, and add new things to the mix, but inside, we still think the same and have the same desires as we did at age 5, which was when we grew into ourselves.
Who are you and have you changed or are you still the same?