Story on Finding Your Dreams
City: Los Angeles
When there aren’t women to look up to.
When I was fourteen, I woke up every morning at 5:00 am to ride my road bike for two hours before school started. Lance Armstrong was my idol (I know!! Yikes!!). I could rattle off the names of half the professional riding circuit. I was a great cyclist who had my heart set on Lance's claim to fame, the Tour de France, and I had no reason to think it wasn't in my future.
The summer after ninth grade, I was watching The Tour (that's what we aficionados called it) when it hit me like a block of pavement. "Oh shit," I realized. "I am a girl, and girls don't ride in The Tour." There isn't even a women's version of the race. Apparently, the French didn't think anyone wanted to spend 21 days watching roided-up ladies slowly make their way up a hill in Provence. In retrospect, they were definitely right about that, but in 2004 cycling was the biggest sport in the world, Lance Armstrong was a God, and I was crushed. I never rode my bike again. It wasn't a solid start to my career as a feminist.
But this story has a coda! In 2010, I was curled up on the floor, watching Kathryn Bigelow as she became the first (and still the only) woman to win the Academy Award for Best Director. While she was walking to pick up her trophy, as her presenter Barbara Streisand snarked, "Well, the time has come," I thought, "Oh, maybe I could do that."
I'm a full-grown adult now and, while I am not trying to presume there is a surefire Oscar in my near or distant future, I am currently directing my first feature film. My job makes me want to puke with anxiety literally every day. But it is the most fun and exciting thing I've done maybe ever, and I know one thing for sure: I am a lucky little shit that Kathryn Bigelow didn't go do something else when she realized that there weren't any other female directors to look up to.