I can’t recall a time where I was afraid to be the center of attention.
I’ve been in the church most of my life, so naturally I’ve always been actively involved in everything from being the emcee for anniversaries, church pageants and leading Sunday School.
It helped me easily adapt to any crowd and speak well without getting sweaty palms, stuttering or having to pretend that everyone in the room is naked. If you know nothing else about the black church, you know that the congregation is always going to hype up anyone with the mic, especially children.
So it’s no surprise that I signed up to be in my fourth grade talent show at my elementary school. I was sure that this was my shot at fame. I was geeked. This was around 2000, back when “passing notes” was the thing and you got your first real shot at love via paper letters. Of course I already had a boyfriend. He shall remain nameless for the purpose of this blog. He was in the process of moving away so I decided to dedicate my performance to him. I was going to “sang” my heart out.
The song that I selected was “Never Let You Go” by Faith Evans. It was okayed by the talent committee and I was even encouraged to add to the dramatic effect of the performance by having him onstage while I sang to him. How romantic right?
The day of the talent show came. All of the universe was conspiring for us to have this moment………..everyone except his mom who randomly picked him up from school early that day. I was left prepared to sing to an empty chair.
I was up next.
The music started and I began to “sing.”
Singing for me meant lip synching because in real life I cannot sing.
The worse case scenario unfolded.
Someone in the back yelled
hey, we can’t hear you
You know what happened next right?
Backstage turned down the music and turned up my mic.
The secret was out that I’d been lip-synching the entire performance.
Til this day I don’t think I’ve ever been booed so much in my life!
They went in.
I mean Apollo style and the only person missing was the Sandman to sweep my non-singing ass off stage. Looking into the sea of students, the only thing I thought was “who raised you little monsters? You don’t boo children!” I continued my performance until the song went off, took my bow and exited stage left. I can’t remember if I cried in the back. I doubt it.
I later went on to be in additional performances and pageants and so on and so forth. Here it is seventeen years later and deep down I’m still the girl that got booed. Over the years I didn’t get better. I still can’t sing. It’s never stopped me from signing up and howl to the high heavens at karaoke. This talent show clearly should have broken my confidence.
Instead, it instilled a seed in me that still continues to grow. Be you with confidence. Do you with confidence, even when you don’t have support, for there will always be little monsters in the crowd.