Someone linked to my blog and billed it as “Zen of A Cheerleader”… thanks, TechieIdiot. That’ll be the title of my next book. Complete with pictures.

The whole cheerleader thing is an interesting look at Who I Am. Yes, in general I’m a happy, cheerful, and dramatic person. And sure, flexible legs. But that’s not why I became a cheerleader. I didn’t have a great desire to lead a crowd of people in spelling out “Defense” or “Winton Woods Warriors” — Give me a W! Another one! And another one! I didn’t even like sports.

Sidenote: anyone ever seen “But I’m a Cheerleader”? Great movie, I highly recommend it. Clea Duval as a bitchy dyke and Ru Paul as a man. After watching it for the first time, I finally couldn’t deny my desire for women. And I was watching it with my boyfriend.

I became a cheerleader because I thought that’s what I was supposed to do. I thought that was what I was supposed to want. All through jr high and high school, my goal was to do it “right”, an ideal created from all the books I read (Sweet Valley High, VC Andrews, RL Stine, and hundreds more) and the television shows I watched (Growing Pains, Saved by the Bell, Full House, My So-Called Life — I realize these betray my age), and the movies and magazines blah blah blah. All that brainwash really got into my cerebral cortex and I believed that that’s what I needed to be in order to be… valid. Yes, in order to be a worthy human being, I needed to be that perfect teenager. Not perfect like a goody-two-shoes teacher’s pet, but perfect in the sense of being RIGHT. Not totally popular, because in the books the popular crowd was always snobby. Liked by the “popular people”, but not in their crowd. But not a nerd, definitely not a nerd. Effortlessly smart, not obsessed with grades but still in the honors classes. Complains about her parents. Always has a boyfriend. Activities and clubs every day after school. The one who listens to her friends’ problems with compassion, and never has any problems herself. And a Cheerleader.

So I sought out cheerleading not for the cheering itself, but for the image. And then I became the perfect cheerleader. I perfected my splits and herky jumps, the spirit sprinkles and the frozen smile (vaseline on the teeth so your lips don’t stick to them). The way I walked so the pleated skirt swished. The way my ponytail (long hair, meticulously curled before each game) swung as I hopped on my toes. It was all choreographed to perfection.

If someone tells me what to do, I can do it. And I can do it damn well. It’s one of my talents, following instructions. Smile big, be happy, jump here. It’s why I’m a great actress. It’s why I love acting. It’s all following directions. From the director. And of course there’s so much more to it, to really make it an art. But having the lines I need to say all scripted out is one of the key attractions for me. Because the right answer is right there. All I have to do is DO it, and then I’m “right”. Which was the obvious goal to the 14 year old TickledSpirit. And the 11 year old, and the 18 year old, and it wasn’t until about 20 that I started asking the questions of “Why?” Why is that the right answer? Why am I supposed to want this? Why do women wear makeup and shave their legs?

and now I’m an anarchist. Because it wasn’t fulfilling to me to live as if life were a coloring book, simply filling the space within a defined picture, or blindly connecting-the-dots. Anarchy for me is living creatively, as an act of continuous creation. Instead of a coloring book, it’s painting on a blank canvas with acrylic, watercolor, fingerpaint, motor oil, peanut butter, blood, shaving cream, mango juice, shit… And it’s vital to me, because I’m so drawn towards the other extreme, to be intentional that the choices I make are coming from me and not an instruction manual. Before, my existence was made valid by being right. Now my only validation is in being raw.