Written by: Christy Callahan
Owner of Passionate
Motivation Volleyball (PMV)
Growing up, I had a wild and hopeful imagination, and always believed that anything could be possible. I loved watching cartoons in the 80's of colorful characters including Rainbow Brite, Care Bears, and My Little Pony. Also, during my younger years, I collected as many Barbie's as I could. Pink was my favorite color, and I loved sparkles and shiny things. However, growing up with two super masculine brothers made it slightly difficult to feel accepted for loving my pretty pink, sparkly, shiny items. Everyone in my family loved the color blue, and I loved certain shades of blue, but all the pinks were my most favorite colors.
For my birthday, Grandma would take me shopping at her local mall in White Marsh, Maryland, and spoil me with lunch and ice cream, as well as brand new stylish clothes. Grandma would call me her Barbie, and around her, I felt like I could talk about pink, pick out pink clothes and dress girly. Mom also validated that pink looked pretty on me, and she loved the outfits grandma and I would pick out together.
Every year she would take me shopping, grandma reminded me that whenever I saw an ice skater, or an actress, or a dancer, that I would point and look up to her seriously and say "I'm going to do dat when I grow up." I believed that I could be or do anything. I had faith that anything was possible. I was a little girl who had big dreams. Unfortunately, I learned very young that when you tell the world this, many will shut down those dreams and those little girls can often lose their passion, energy and fight to pursue what they once thought was possible. They also learn to fear the world because being themselves gets them into situations of constant states of rejection.
My family was into football big time! Growing up, most of our family Summer and Fall night and days were spent hustling off to my older brother, T.D.'s, football games. I remember feeling miserable in my thick, hot, red and white, sweaty cheerleading uniform, and just whining the whole way to the scorching, hot, summer games. I had absolutely no passion for cheerleading nor did I have any excitement to attend the practices. However, I loved the football game atmosphere. Looking back, I remember feeling comfort in the family atmosphere. At first, being shy, I felt uncomfortable, but peace settled in my soul as the crowds began to cheer and I heard the sound of dad's coaching voice, as he'd enthusiastically yell for my brother or his teammates to score a touchdown. The smell of the campfire, crisp air during the Fall, and going to the concession stand and purchasing hot chocolate with marshmallows and green apple blowpops were also among some of my favorite memories from cheer during those football days. I also happily remember the time when my coach told me my team won first place because of my ability to perform an extension at our cheer competition. I was only eight years old.
Girls were crazy about my older brother who excelled at everything he did, especially being a football running back. Funny thing was, his name is T.D., which stands for Terence David, but also Mom and Dad named him that because it stood for touchdown, as he was born on the Super Bowl Sunday. The cheer captain would smile and call the cheer, "TD" and being shy and so modest as the girls would smile at me and giggle, cheering for my brother, I'd blush from embarrassment.
Truth is, I never felt any good at anything I tried. I looked up to my older brother who was loved by all the girls, great at every sport he played and was an A student, despite never studying for any test. I compared myself to him constantly, and as a child , I never felt good enough or smart enough to be accepted anywhere. I truly believed in my older brother and looked up to him, but he would mock me often and laugh at my intelligence. There is a light at the end of this tunnel story, which presented itself much later in life.
From ballet to soccer to Girl Scouts to cheerleading to basketball to softball, but always being super hard on myself, afraid of making mistakes, and stuck between loving the color pink and being around tomboys, I felt so unsettled. My family was big into sports, but I had a yearning to act and model. Telling grandpa my dreams, God bless him, but he would say to me, "eh Chris, that's a super hard industry to get into and not many make it." Inside, I'd choke with tears. If video, film and acting for fun was something I was personally passionate about, why are my dreams being shut down? I would wonder...
Stay Tuned for Parts 2-4 of When Little Girls Have Big Dreams.