*To the instrumental of Pretty Girl Rock by Keri Hilson
“My name is Rocky, I’m so foxy, fly oh my just a lil bit cocky”……ok clearly I shouldn’t quit my day job to become a singer, so I’ll stop now. But seriously, 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 involved in some of everything (thanks grandma and papa). It helped me easily adapt to any crowd and speak rather well without getting sweaty palms, stuttering or having to pretend that everyone in the room is naked. The congregation is always so full of encouragement (debatable).
So it’s no surprise that I signed up to be in the fourth grade talent show at my elementary school. This was my indeed 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 (rolls eyes at my childish foolishness). Of course I already had a boyfriend. He shall remain nameless for the purposes of this blog since we are still friends on Facebook. 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 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. My turn came. Showtime. The music started and I began to (or so it appears to the crowd) “sing”.
The worse case scenario unfolded before my very eyes. 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. Well now 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 self 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 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. That’s NOT what I said. For the record, I still can’t sing. However, I do sign 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.
*sidenote. If you or anyone you know was at that talent show at New Hope Elementary School that day in 2000 and participated in the “booing” activities, slap yourself. Please and thank you.