Sunday, October 3, 2010
Leaving the Little Purple Bear
I have had a love/hate relationship with Disney in the past, working for The Mouse off and on. Wanting to become a performer at Disneyland again always felt like wanting to get back together with an ex boyfriend - against my better judgment.
The last time I had tried was almost a decade ago. I had already been through rehearsals for the stage show, "Animazement," which had been performed on stage at the Fantasyland Theatre (formerly known as Videopolis in the 80's). In addition to being cast as a dancing utensil for the "Be Our Guest" number, and as a gazelle in the Lion King section, I was also a dancing starfish in "Under the Sea." I was thrilled to be back at the park as a union dancer.
I had been through my clearance shows but whatever politics that were in place at the time kept me from being scheduled for actual shifts.
A few months later I was told that I would have to audition again.
I wasn't very optimistic. I had a feeling that I was being made to audition just as a formality, so that I could be officially dismissed from the show, once and for all.
I was almost 35, at the time, and trying to accept the fact that I was getting too old to dance at Disneyland anymore. I had enjoyed an Extended Adolescence way beyond my due date. I needed to figure out a way to leave my happy childhood and fantasy life, even if just a little bit.
Paul Zindel wrote about performing a "symbolic act" in his novel, Pardon Me, You're Stepping on My Eyeball. A main character had trouble accepting the death of his father. I felt I had to do the same, figure out a symbolic act to perform in order to help me accept the death of that part of my childhood.
I had a little purple bear, not much bigger than my thumb. It had been given to me along with a birthday card from Domestic Partner, after I had first met him. I had worn purple clothing for twenty years, so this little purple bear was the perfect symbol for my Inner Child.
I had to leave him behind. That decided it. If I didn't get back in the show I would leave the little purple bear at the dance studio after auditioning. I would symbolically leave that part of my youth behind me. And yet, I still really hoped that I would get back into the show.
I did not get back in. Disney did not recast me in the show.
And I couldn't do it. I tried. I actually placed the little purple bear behind one of the stereo speakers before walking out of the dance studio. But it felt too much like abandoning him. It almost felt like just dumping my pug, Caesar, on the side of the road, and I couldn't do it.
I grabbed my little purple bear and put him into my pocket. I walked quickly out of the studio without looking back.
I could never leave my little purple bear, my baby pug, Caesar - my Inner Child - behind. I love that guy, and I cherish him too much to abandon him completely.