*This was written as part of Mama Kat’s writer’s workshop.
Have you ever been jilted or just plain mistreated? Yeah, I know, we’ve all been there. The one time that I’m thinking about today happened when I was in high school. I think I was no more than a sophomore when a friend asked me if I wanted to be in a pageant. I think someone in her family had something to do with it. I was nervous about the whole situation because I’ve never been a pageant type girl. Since my friend had asked me and another friend of ours was on board, I said yes. I thought it would be fun. Famous.freaking.last.words. And so it begins…
We had rehearsal after rehearsal. There was a dance number to “Material Girl”. That part was actually fun. We also had to go over everything that would happen in the pageant. The opening number, the interview portion, the modeling portion and the talent. I was cool with everything but the talent. My heart is racing as I type this. It still makes me nervous. For my talent, I had chosen to sing. Never mind that I hadn’t really sang in front of an audience – you know, one with opinions. My church audience doesn’t count. Every time anyone sang there it was all “bless her heart”. You can’t be mean in church. It’s against the rules! So, I had bravely signed up to sing. I boldly chose a song by none other than R&B powerhouse Regina Belle. Stoopid! Word to the wise – never choose to sing a big ballad when you are terrified!!!
Anywho, I was able to skim over the song in rehearsals. I kept trying to think of things to change my talent to as the pageant date grew closer. No dice. I had to sing! To make matters worse, people from my high school would be in the audience. If I sucked, I would NEVER hear the end of it. My next thought, drop out of the stoopid pageant! I think my mother gave me some pep talk and convinced me to stick it out.
So here we were on pageant day. I’m faking my excitement. I’ve rehearsed my song. I’m nervous and about to throw up. Things are not looking good. Before the pageant begins, we are all assigned numbers. I was given number thirteen. I shimmied my way through “Material Girl”, I breezed through the interview, I modeled my outfit and then the talent. Oh my gosh. I tried not to focus on what was about to happen. I knew I had to sing this song and I had to sing it A Capella. There was no music available to accompany me or cover up where I may suck! Yeah, this was going to be awesome. When my turn came up, I did it. I sang my song. Probably lower than it should have been because I was terrified. But I got through it. I didn’t pass out. I didn’t vomit. I didn’t die. Yes, I thought I might die. I was beyond happy when that was over.
I should also mention that midway through the pageant me and another girl were asked to switch numbers for reasons I’m still not aware of. I was given a different number and another girl was now thirteen. When we all strolled on stage to find out who would be crowned “Miss Janky Pageant”, the winner was announced by number. Wouldn’t you know the winner was number THIRTEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No, I’m not joking. No, I’m not still bitter. Much. This other girl who had my number was now the winner of this lame pageant and I got nada! Butkus. Zilch. Unless you count the dime store trophy they gave to all who competed. Did I mention I was jilted?! Sorry no pictures. The horror in my head is enough of a reminder!
I should also mention that a guy from my high school approached me after the pageant saying, “I didn’t know you could sing.” I guess I didn’t do as bad as I’d thought.