Confidence Is a Trap

Or: Why I’m Grateful My Parents Didn’t Give Me to Carnival Folk When I Was a Child

When I was a little girl, I was, to put it politely, pesky.* To help keep my parents on their toes, I balanced out my charming, well-behaved, thoughtful older brother by instigating mischievous mayhem and bringing home all sorts of tiny wild animals.
*I have yet to grow out of this phase.

Because bugs are more evil than snakes are snuggley

And then I put him back.

By the time I was 10, we lived in a little bungalow house in California.

In the middle of my street....

Everything was “mine” when I was 10. And also now.

The house was so little, there was no proper entrance to the attic. Instead, there was a conspicuous strange opening, covered with a plank of wood, in the roof of my closet.

There be monsters inside

See? All the things are mine.

Like many other suburban Bay Area homes, our house had a drop-tile attic entrance that you needed a ladder to access. We kept our ladder permanently in place, because we went up to the attic a lot.

It was a good attic

Even people who read my blog are mine. My readers. Hi, Mine Reader-Person!

Like any child with immediate, constant access to a very tall and dangerous ladder, I played on it as much as humanly possible. I sat on the rungs and read books. I climbed up it to get to my Barbies. I staged elaborate imaginary sea-battles from the top of the ladder, because, well, that was safe.

If I know you, I will draw a stick figure of you

My mom always has cool hair. This was her cool hair when we lived in California.

My mother would warn me to be careful and bribe me to stay off the ladder. But I was confident.

This is foolish confidence

I was definitely not born on a ladder. I’m sure that would have been super awkward for my mom. In hindsight, telling your mother you were “born” on or around anything other than a hospital is generally pretty dumb.

But I had a tendency to climb the ladder in socks. And, as it happens, parents tend to be right about a lot more things than 10-year-olds.

Dangerous confidence is dangerous


And one day I fell off of the top of the ladder. I smacked into the floor at terminal 10-year-old velocity. It wasn’t a very high fall, but it was enough that I thought I was paralyzed. As I lay on the ground squeaking out pathetic noises, my parents came rushing in.

I totally was not dead or hurt

I am perhaps translating what I think my father was thinking, instead of actually transcribing the thoughtful things he said to comfort my mother after making sure I wasn’t dead or really damaged.

This happened more than one time**. But it never once deterred my mental stance of confidence. I was filled with a strange survival-detrimental confidence that I was really good at being on ladders.
**At least sixteen before I even hit high school.

I totally am the Pirate Empress, though

It was probably all of the times I smacked my head on the floor that proves my father right here.

If I were my parents, I probably would have sold me to the circus.

24 thoughts on “Confidence Is a Trap

      • Ok, seriously, this made me spit out my drink. I am laughing so hard right now. I am quite sure its not as funny as I am portraying, but Its late, I’m tired, whatever. Either way—so much appreciation for your sense of humor!!! You are one of my favorite bloggers ever! Grassy ass a million times over! (notice the grassy ass. I said that in honor of the outside. Teehee)

  1. I was afraid of heights (ok, fine, still am) and hated it when my mother would make me climb the ladder to the attic to drag down the Christmas decorations. I am surprised the ladder didn’t snap in half, it was so old and probably termite fodder.

    • I think you should have just decorated the attic in all the Christmas decorations and abjectly refused to come down, on the logic that the attic is technically closer to santa and he would clearly bring you more presents because you were so thoughtful.

      • That sounds like the plot to some horrible 80s novel series, recently made into a Lifetime movie…

        (if you don’t know, don’t tell me because then that just shows my age more 🙂 )

  2. When I started reading this and saw “attic” it reminded me that my girls were convinced in one of the houses we lived in (there have been oodles) there was a man in the attic. They referred to him as “attic-man” (obviously) and still to this day (they are 24 and 23) SWEAR there was someone living up there. It’s pretty funny, although instead of giving them to the circus, I’ve always been convinced that, at least my eldest daughter was switched at birth by gypsies…

  3. Man, girl, you make me laugh so much! I loved climbing trees when I was little. I would get to the very top to get a cherry. Now thinking back, I don’t know how I’m still alive since thin branches never scared me away, they were my preferred ones 😀 Good to know that we are yours! Okay, that totally didn’t sound right! Hahaha! Anyhow, you know I’ve got a hubby 😀 ❤

  4. I used to play tag with my brothers in my rather woodsy backyard when I was little(er). It’s got a creek and some serious drops to jump off of (roughly 8 to 10 feet, not to mention some horizontal distance)), and I’d lunge across them over and over because I knew my brothers/friends would go around down the nice easy slope.

    Looking back, I’m kind of lucky I didn’t break any limbs XD.

    On the other hand! I can now pointlessly brag that I won 4 against 1 by evading them for a whole half an hour before they conceded! Petty Victory Ho!

    Love the story! Oddly enough, my favorite part was *Merp*!

    • Ha! That sounds like the yard where i used to play with my cousins when we were growing up. The more horribly dangerous spots, the better. Winning 4 against 1 pretty much means you deserve a giant, living-room-sized trophy and eternal bragging rights.

      Thanks for reading! 🙂

  5. I love your stories and I’m sure now more than every my parents wish they could sell me to the circus, but I’ve made it clear on many occasions to their dismay, I know very well where our is and I will always come back 😀

  6. And now you have a totally valid reason whenever you do something lightly batty — you were dropped on your head as a child. A LOT. And there’s no need to specify who did the dropping.

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