Theater camp started a few days ago. This week is Jr. Camp, which is comprised entirely of middle schools kids. The camp is sponsored through a university, allowing us to stay in the dorms and eat in the cafeterias on campus. Being as this is theater camp, we don’t do typical camp things, like going canoeing or learning to build fires.
No, theater camp is all about being an attention hog.
Surrounding myself with 12 years has an odd effect on me. What you see on the first day of our Jr. Camp is that these poor kids are utterly terrified of looking foolish. A lot of our campers are the weird kids at school, the smelly kids or the awkward, lanky kids. As a result, they come to camp expecting to be judged harshly. Remembering my own days as the fat kid in my middle school, I sympathize with them greatly. And as a result, I begin to act how I would have at twelve years old if I had been able to muster up the courage to just be myself.
This year was a particularly rough year for the guardedness because we didn’t have that many returners to get the “be whomever you are” attitude rolling. Wanting to lighten the mood, I pulled my hair into a side ponytail.
Side ponytails are suddenly chic (I spelled it right!) again. But only when pulled nice and low at the base of the neck. When I was younger though, a side pony meant above the ear, parted on the opposite side with hair wrapping around the back of the head. Nothing short of ridiculous.
We were playing games the first night and as the night wore on, I completely forgot I was wearing it. We were walking across campus, running into the other camps and I’ve got this floppy pony bouncing against my shoulder.
It was awesome. And damn if I didn’t look like a fool. I loved every minute of it.