Carol Bontekoe

This blog has been keeping track of my adventures since 2004. The stories and the adventures have come from my college dorm room to Uganda, Peace Corps Kyrgyzstan, learning Dutch in the Netherlands to living in the wilds of Homer, Alaska. I went back to school in Amsterdam to study Theaterwetenschap (Theatre Science) at University of Amsterdam. And now my adventures as a Fruit Fly, a Sexy Unicorn, and creating a movement with Team Sparkle in Chicago.

Monday, July 16, 2012

I'm Coming Out (of the back row)

"Carol, move to the back so we can see Claire."

"NO! I'm not being forced into the back row anymore!"

My boss had hit a nerve with the instruction for me to move to the back row so we could make room for everyone's favorite Claire to be front and center. Heck. Claire is even one of my favorite people in Chicago; however I had made the decision just days before that I'm not going to keep getting forced into the background, sidelined, or silenced anymore.

There have been a lot of decisions made through out the years to minimize my impact and make it so favorites can be brought to the foreground while I quietly slink out of the picture. As a tall, large, loud child there was always a place for me in a back corner at the Christmas concert. Team photos from high school where I can be found in a shadow in the back corner. Going un-mic'd while all the other leads in the play got microphones. As an adult I started self placing myself in the back. At the gym I would be in the far back corner where I couldn't see the instructor, and where no one else would be forced to see my awkward burpees.

I even moved to Friesland (the land of my forefathers) in hopes that I would not stand out just once in my life. If you don't stand out as being different no one feels the need to hide you right? However, in a land of tall, extremely blond hair, blue eyed beauties I didn't blend in with the crowd as much as I had hoped.

As I struggle to take control over my own life, my future, and my body I realized I was only hurting myself by agreeing to relinquish myself to the background. This agreement had made a once bold child grow into an adult with crippling stage freight. Where I had once taken pride in my height and size I now struggle to accept my oddness with the same joy it once brought me.  Also, always being told to go to the background makes it so eventually you become suspicious of any positive attention you receive. If out with my girlfriends and guy decides to chat me up over my decidedly more beautiful friends I get creeped out and become convinced that we'll have a Silence of the Lambs- lotion in the basket type situation happening before we know it.

I naturally stand out in a crowd and I am learning to accept and embrace that fact. Anyone who has ever heard me try to whisper knows I'm going to be heard from a mile away whether I like it or not. I'm always going to be tall, even when I'm an old lady and I start to shrink I'll still be taller than most people I know. I'm not always going to be as big as I am now, I'm working too hard to stay here forever. However, slender and waify will not be terms used for me in the future. And while I'll never be a favorite I'm taking my spot front and center, because that's what I deserve.

So, no Mark I'm not moving to the back. Me and my big hat will stay right here. Front and Center.