Ahhhhh. I’m afraid to be vulnerable. Raise your hand if you feel the same? For real, this blog is a giant pile of all my life dreams and I don’t want to share something and have everyone reading go, “ohhhhhh jeez, that’s enough of that kbyeeeeeee.” But we need to get real, you guys. Some days, people are shitty. Getting past that shit is hard.
I used to consistently perform as Disney princesses at birthday parties and events. I played Belle, Rapunzel, Sofia the First, Anna. Most popular at the time was Elsa–Frozen was still pretty new. Elsa appeared at the birthday party of seemingly every child in existence for at least a solid year. She was also a fixture at local Chick-fil-a restaurants, singing her hits and taking pictures with rockstar size crowds (no joke, you could hardly move through the swarms of screaming Frozen fans). Elsa costumes were hard to come by at the time. They’re mass produced now, but then you needed to buy a custom made adult-sized Elsa costume. The company I worked for had a few that were shared between performers–all different sizes, but all just the tiiiniest bit too small for me. I always made them work with strategic cape placement and safety pins, but I was frustrated. Some of the other girls were perfect slim Elsas, and I was an average bodied Elsa. It didn’t seem to bother the throngs of little kids who LOVED me, hugged me, colored me pictures, gave me party jewelry, told me they’d seen “my” movie 100 times, and generally went apeshit crazy when I walked in the room–but it DID bother some parents.
My heart is pounding as I type out this next bit of story. I’m still really embarrassed and sad that it happened at all. Remember, some days, people are shitty. What I don’t think shitty people realize is how long their garbage behavior sits with an anxious artist like myself. They use you to get attention for five minutes and then they forget about it. Well, I (and the internet) never forgot.
“Why did you say you ‘used to’ perform as Disney princesses, Katie?” Ahhh yes, here we go. Because a couple of bad seed parents decided to shame me on the internet. After the very last party I did before stopping, I found this review on Yelp:
Ouuccchhhh. That STINGS. And here’s why it stings more than this mom will ever know–the day of her party, I was assigned another party that morning. The locations of the two parties were located at (what felt like) opposite ends of the earth, and I had the bare minimum time to get from one to the other and make it on time. Not one other princess from the company was available to take this second party, so I was thrown into it, even after sharing my concerns with my boss. The first party of the day was AMAZING. From the moment I walked in their door, I was greeted as an old friend and made to feel at home. I was adored and asked to stay past the end time–but I told them Elsa had to go as she had another little girl to celebrate with today. I made my exit and rushed to the car where I had approximately 10 minutes to recharge and touch up my makeup and hair before hurtling to the next location (aka mean mom island). My own mom accompanied me on the drive so I was able to freshen up as much as possible while she drove. It was pouring rain as we hurried to location 2. I got there, made my final touches, and I looked good. I took pride in all my princess appearances, even if I wasn’t as effortlessly glam as the other girls. The rain stopped and the sun came out–I felt it was a good omen! I took a deep breath, my mom wished me luck, and I stepped out of the car and walked up the drive to the party.
WHAT I REMEMBER: I remember seeing excited and happy faces peeking out the door. I remember walking in to screams of excitement and happiness that ELSA WAS HERE! I remember being placed for storytime under a skylight in the living room, where it got very hot very quickly. (If you’re wondering, under the dress and wig and tights and makeup, it’s already warm. A skylight shining down on you like God’s spotlight will heat you up fast, and you might look like a melty mess in the photo someone posts of you on YELP.) I remember us joyously singing through all the singalong songs, having our “snowball fight” (loofahs!), and playing bubble tag. I remember being BEGGED to sing “Let It Go” many more times than one. I remember even the boys at the party wanting to play and sing.
Reading this mom’s review after the fact was very confusing–the way she told it, I was basically hanging out by myself under the heatlamp skylight and no one at the party was having any fun whatsoever. My ONLY goal for every single princess party was to make sure the birthday girl or boy was having the BEST TIME EVER. If that meant we sang “Let It Go” 100x in a row, then so be it, because that’s what put a smile on their face. Also confusing? This family gave me a rather large tip. SOMEONE must have had a good time. I don’t know many people who’d tip a performer if they hated her very guts. Her review broke my heart. And feeling so exposed and embarrassed that she’d post about me online like that (as well as a Facebook review from parent at a Chick-fil-a event that said I was “fat” and “scared her toddler”–nevermind that hundreds of other children loved me), I made the decision that I was done being a party princess.
Sometimes when you write something out, you can look at it and realize what you feared is more like a sad tiny shadow than a real monster. Was it really that bad? At the time, I would’ve said yes. It’s been almost 3 years since that party, and I’ve never really written about it until now. I let it get under my skin THAT much. A month ago, I decided no more! Because for the first time since that party, I put on my “I WILL BE BRAVE” princess pants and performed as Elsa again.
And you know what? IT WAS AWESOME. More details to come in Part 2…