Tiny Tina

by Ariel

Tiny Tina

I had a dream one night. It was one of those annoying dreams where I had a performance to give and I wasn’t prepared – I didn’t know a song or have a monologue memorized. You know the type.
We were sitting in a dark room with benches along the wall. Person after person performed and if I didn’t perform something I wouldn’t get a passing grade. Finally the instructor said, “So who hasn’t gone yet? I don’t want to leave anyone out.” A few of us raised our hands. I kept trying to think of a song I could sing that I knew all of the words for and “Happy Birthday” simply didn’t seem to be an appropriate choice. A friend of mine, Susan, who had just done a very quirky rendition of a piece from Shakespeare said, “You don’t have to memorize anything, you can read a poem. I know where there is a good book of poetry. Come on Ariel, let’s go out here,” she said, as she took me by the hand and led me to the adjacent room that was a glass gazebo filled with windows and sunlight.
Susan squatted on her heels in front of a clear glass cabinet. She slid open the door and took a slim volume out and handed it to me. I opened the book expecting to see poems and found that it was a picture book instead. Each page was a picture. There were no printed words in this book – there was nothing written down that I could perform. As I leafed through it, I eventually found a page that was an ostrich feather fan. As I came to the page that held the fan it became alive and I could see the barbules of the feather dancing with movement from the air currents caused by the turning of the page and from my breath. And I had an inspiration: I would go back inside to that dark room where everyone waited to perform and I would be myself. I would create a story rather than perform a piece. I would tell a children’s story because the people in my audience were all little children in big bodies with all of the fears and insecurities of a small child.
And so I told the story of Tiny Tina. Tina was a little girl who forgot who she was. She mistakenly thought she was tiny because of her size but what she had forgotten was how big and strong and powerful she actually was. And as I told the story I realized that I didn’t have to know how it ended. I could make it up as I went along – in the moment, in concert with those who were listening. I could dance on the breeze of the moment, responsive to my environment in the same way a feather’s tips will move with the slightest breath of air. As I spoke my audience leaned closer. They had been pulled into the moment and had forgotten the story of their inadequacies so caught up in Tina’s story they were.
And in my dream, I backed out of the performance room as my dream self wove her tale. When I awoke I realized that it didn’t matter where the story went or what happened to Tina. I didn’t need to know the end. Telling the tale was enough. It was satisfying and for once I woke up feeling a sense of well being for not having performed. I realized that being myself is enough.

 

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What a great story! Thank you, Ariel!