The Way I See It

A reflection on my first ever choir concert

1187221_stage_is_yoursIs this a safe space? I feel like maybe it is. I'm just going to bet that it is.

I have this deepish, darkish secret belief that I could be on American Idol. And that sounds super overconfident, so let me clarify by saying that I am overconfident about most things on this planet.

Again, this is a safe space. Hear me out.

It's not that I'm a narcissist. I don't even really think I'm particularly fantastic at any one thing, except maybe wearing denim shirts. But when I start to think about [literally any activity], I always conclude that if I am not already one of the greatest [literally any activity-doer] on this planet, I probably could be.

"But Kelly," you're thinking, "you just defined narcissism." But I don't overstate my talents because I actually think i'm fantastic, it's usually because I am dreadful at comparing talents in any quantitative way and also I have a lot of motivation. And if I don't support myself, who will? No one. On a scale of dreadful to fantastic  I am definitely a solid "alright" every time. But why not choose to think I am fantastic? Someone should.

Of course I can't be on American Idol. Do I rationally think I am as talented as Kelly Clarkson? Of course not. But maybe I could hang? Probably. I definitely could hang. And win. I should be on American Idol because why the hell not, right? I am fantastic!

See? So now that I've made myself sound like a self-obsessed ass, I'll just continue along that road.

Growing up, I was a competitive cheerleader and I really liked playing soccer. I was either fantastic or dreadful at these things. (Know that while I will always believe I was fantastic, I was objectively dreadful at both of those things.)

I think I was okay at musical theater, though. I really liked being on stage and singing and wearing character shoes, and while I never got any leads (dreadful) I was usually cast as more than just a chorus member (fantastic.) I think during this phase of my life I was in 15ish musicals, some of which I performed a few times as different parts at different theaters because I have crippling ADHD and my parents liked to keep me busy.

As soon as I was old enough, I joined the choir and the show choir at my middle school and started singing The Supremes' songs for everyone. I was that girl. I was in choir all throughout high school, minus my senior year, when I quit because I had an unfortunate relationship with the choir directors that ended in one physically slamming the choir room doors in my face. I'd like to believe that this was because the directors were crazy, and that probably was part of it, but I also was extremely negative and probably kind of annoying to be around. Also, I was fantastic.

"Enough, Kelly," you're thinking. "Why am I still reading this? This is unending."

I was setting the scene. Now you know that I was really into choir and really into myself. Now rewind some. The year is 2001. I am 10 years old. I probably look something like this:Image

It is the night of my first ever choir concert. My elementary school had a choir for the 4th and 5th graders, and because I was fantastic, I had a solo. I distinctly remember knowing  I would rock it.

I didn't. I was not fantastic.

The stage lights were bright. The Haggar Elementary School gym was packed with parents and disgruntled teenage siblings. I was probably wearing overalls and my hair was probably in a knotted, giant ponytail because no one has ever really been able to figure out just what to do with my afro.

I wasn't nervous. Why would I be nervous? I was born to be fantastic at this solo. The song was about tongue twisters or something; I don't remember all the chorus parts because I was elite, obviously. Before long, it was my turn. I walked to the microphone and waited and then right on cue, forgot everything I was supposed to sing. Every word. I just stood there like a tiny, 10-year-old idiot, and right as I was supposed to turn back and return to the group, I burst into tears.

The show must go on, though, so everyone kept singing and I guess I must have eventually walked away from the microphone. But I kept crying. I remember the music teacher mouthing "it's okay," because what else do you tell a sobbing child that just ruined the single most important musical event of the season?

There isn't any really deep reason why I suddenly felt like sharing this story, except the other night as I was laying in bed contemplating what combination of yogurt-bagel-waffle-apple I would eat for breakfast, those forgotten words popped into my head. 11 years late, but clear as day:

If a dog chews shoes, what shoes does he choose to chew?

So, my friends, I am redeemed. I am fantastic. Bring it on, Kelly Clarkson.