Abbey Curran is the reigning Miss Iowa and she recently competed in the Miss USA pageant as well. A beauty contest wouldn’t be the first place I’d look for a Rare Rock. Don’t misunderstand me, my sister and I relished watching these contests as a kid. It didn’t matter if it was a small-town festival or the big night on TV when all the fifty states were represented by some perky 20-year old in sequins. We loved it all. But now I’m trying to look for a standard beyond outward beauty to determine winners in this visually driven world.
Our country is obsessed with image and it is affecting the youngest of our girls. (I love Hannah Montanna, but you DO NOT want me to get into a discussion concerning her behavior at the Idol Gives Back show – seriously, don’t make me do it.) You may think I’m prudish about this, but it really is more than that.
One of my beautiful daughters has Cerebral Palsy. Just a few weeks ago Claire begged us to let her quit dance class. I cried when she said, “It’s too hard for me.” Last year she was twirling on the stage without a care in the world and this year she understands that her body is not moving in the same patterns as the little girls around her, including her younger sister. Claire’s left side has high tone, meaning the quad and calf muscles in that leg don’t relax the way they should. It gives Claire a little catch in her step and, until this year, kept her from running.
I’m not one to let my kids quit something just because it gets hard, but this was different. My husband and I had always talked about the fact that someday Claire would realize that dancing is a body-centric sport and even girls without disabilities find it difficult. We knew eventually she would find a hobby that challenged her but didn’t subject her to the prying eyes of an audience that didn’t understand. We didn’t expect it to happen when she was 5!
So we let her quit. She still dances at home with her sister and sometimes just on her own. She is at peace with this and so are we, but you can imagine my trauma for several days. I cried and I was pretty sure we should go out and buy her a fluffy puppy.
Yesterday Serenity told me about Abbey Curran, who also has cerebral palsy, and I watched her appearance on Ellen.
This is a Rare Rock. She is fighting a stereotype and going after her dreams. She has to fight her own insecurities every time she takes the stage, every time she goes to the mall. I showed Claire the video thinking it would be great inspiration, but since Claire really doesn’t comprehend that she has CP, and because it comes in so many different forms, the moment was kind of lost on her.
But I got it. Thank you, Abbey Curran!