alpaca princess (renniekins) wrote,
alpaca princess

What will you BE?

Little kids are constantly asked what they want to "be" when they grow up. I went through all the usuals -- astronaut, writer, first female president of the united states, scientist, tv star.... same as all of us. I had one fairly unique obsession that stuck with me for quite some time though.

I wanted to be a stuntman.

I knew that was the wrong word, that since I was a girl it had to be stunt person or stunt actor. However I always saw them referred to on television as stuntmen. When the credits go by today, it just says "Stunts". Mostly I just said that I wanted to do stunts in movies, to keep it non-gender-specific.

I was always kind of a monkey and a daredevil as a kid. I didn't fear heights, I loved them. I was constantly climbing trees, walking on the tops of walls, scrambling over rocks and roofs, swinging from low-hanging branches, doing flips over railings. I loved watching the stuntmen tumble off the top of buildings, leap onto moving trains, pretend to fight, fall dramatically, and land unharmed.

Being a stunt actor looked like fun, and it looked like it'd fulfill my love of adrenaline. You'd get all the fun exciting jobs, all of the glamor of Hollywood, the money that comes from movies, and you wouldn't have to be as "in the spotlight" as the stars.

At eight years old I revealed my goal to my mother, and asked her how to pursue it. She suggested I enroll in gymnastics classes. I was probably the only kid in beginners gymnastics who planned on doing stunts, who pictured dive-rolling under streams of bullets, or somersaulting over the roofs of trains.

As time went on though, I found my daredevilry tempered with a bit of caution. I got hurt a few times and didn't like it. I still wanted to climb to the highest heights and swing and clamor around on them, but I was no longer as comfortable diving off them. Back-handsprings made me nervous.

At the same time, I found myself growing to like ice skating. Some of the speed and excitement, some physical challenge, plus music to move to. There weren't a lot of Hollywood stunt class opportunities in Michigan, but there were plenty of ice skating and gymnastic meets. I even tried tumbling off diving boards with the diving team for awhile -- which was fun, but showed no hope of turning into a movie career.

I never stopped wanting to be a stunt person, it just faded away, replaced with other concerns that seemed more relevant. Although I studied karate in college for awhile, I had stopped thinking of myself as a stunt actor in training. I was just somebody who liked to do cool things with her body.

....but I never stopped watching movie credits to read the list of stunt people (and look for girls' names). If I had had the determination and perseverance to become a stunt woman, this could have been me. I'd have rocked this role.

Tags: the past, thoughtful
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