This photo is not just exhibit A that my head has always been roughly the size of a regulation 10 pin bowling ball (I had to specify because as a New Englander, candle pin is our bowling method of choice, and my head hasn’t been that size ball since the beginning of my mother’s second trimester). This 3rd grade dance recital picture is also a painful reminder of the childhood trauma that resulted from not having the ability to do a cartwheel. Did you think that I was about to tell you my dance teacher molested me?
No, no, just some upper-middle class problems where my parents could afford to send me to weekly dance classes that were segregated by which girls could or could not do cartwheels. So, I wasn’t abused, but it felt kinda like, a race thing, almost.
No? Well, not being able to do a cartwheel was embarrassing. And look how big my head was! I couldn’t catch a break after I was born into a stable family in a first world nation! For one, while the other girls were doing a step-ball-change, sashay, sashay, cartwheel, pose! I was doing a sashay, sashay, summersault, slowly get up, pose a half-count late!
Or the time my older cousin tried to teach me how to do a cartwheel at my brother’s baseball game and all I accomplished was throwing up a Dole popsicle and spaghetti.
The worst cartwheel experience of all was when I was in middle school and wanted to be a cheerleader. During the first practice leading up to try-outs we were separated into groups: girls who did back hand springs, girls who did cartwheels, and girls they would humor for two hours. There ended my cheerleading career.
I don’t know what it is about cartwheels that always eluded me. I think it was a combination of my lack of upper body strength and my fear of my feet being where my head should be. It’s just amazing what a huge stress cartwheels used to be for me. It’s like algebra (to theatre majors), except with cartwheels no one ever lets you know that you practically never need them in adulthood. I guess people just assume you know that.
Assuming makes an ass out of you and me because I was horrified that this was going to be my life forever.
Look! This is me as a Rorschach test!