I grew up watching musicals, it was something my mother and I enjoyed doing together. I have always loved musicals, even Xanadu! The Music Man, Singin’ in the Rain, The Sound of Music, and many, many more. None of them quite caught my imagination the way that “Bye Bye Birdie” did. Sure, it is a trite comedy with little in the way of plot and a bit silly. But from the very beginning, where Ann-Margret is walking at the camera, I was caught in a web of jealousy/desire/longing.
I wanted so badly to be her, to be this beautiful girl. I wanted to be the one singing with joyful abandon, “how lovely to be a woman” and to move like she does. The lyrics cut me deeply, I wanted so badly to be this girl who wanted to be a woman. Even today this is my goto musical, the one where for a moment I’m this beautiful girl.
It’s easy to become jaded and angry, to think of the life I have as one I was cheated out of by a chromosomal mistake. I don’t deny I have railed against God for being a jerk, for being fallible. I have also wished on falling stars, every eyelash and a penny in every well. I have prayed, wished, hoped and nothing changed. It was all I had (that I was aware of), the wish, to dream and hope.
I won’t stop wishing I am that girl, the one who dreams of becoming a woman.