So, I need some prayers, but I want to tell you a story first.
I could be considered a try-out queen. I have been to my fair share of try-outs for cheerleading and drill team, not recently, mind you, but in my teens. I think there was also a smattering of theatre auditions mixed in there and countless job interviews. Now job interviews I’ve got. I hate to toot my own horn, but if I got to a face to face interview I usually always got the job. Again, I have only had five jobs (not counting part-time gigs) in my life so it is a little easier for the ratio to be high.
**I am writing this at a coffee shop and there is a man who just sat next to me who is waiting for a date. Possibly blind - maybe online. He is wearing about three too many squirts of cologne and is nervous and all kinds of fidgeting. If he didn’t drive up in a really nice car I would think he was going to run off with my laptop. Okay, judging over.**
Back to trying out. I grew up in a small town which had a small, small high school (very, very small, like 45 people in a graduating class). You either were in band, played football, were a cheerleader, in drill team or you were in the crowd that I hung out with - you’ve read the story, you know the crowd. As you can probably assume I didn’t want to be where I was - does anyone want to be who they are in high school? I wanted so badly to be on the field at a football games and not in the stands.
**his date is here…she’s wearing as much perfume as he is cologne…great they are staying right next to me. That’s what I get for coming to a trendy coffee shop on a Friday night. I wasn’t expecting outside to be busy, as well. I’ll keep you updated.**
Spring of my Sophomore year (ah, the same age as Shelby right now) I tried-out to be one of the Silver Belles (the school drill team). I attended all of the rehearsals and did my best to learn the dance. I am quite sure it was similar to me in Zumba today - hanging out on the back row slightly off beat probably 55% of the time (or 75%), you know.
**Earbuds are now in - I was hearing too much of their conversation and becoming very thankful that I am not facing dating in my forties.**
Being a part of the drill team was something I wanted so badly and I tried very hard to keep up - I even had extra help to get the moves down. To be honest I was letting the voices in my head throw everything off. You know those things we say to ourself like, “what are you thinking? You can’t do this. You are not as talented as these girls.” I tried my best to stuff the voices and I envisioned myself in the uniform with the white cowboy boots and big hat with silver sequins. Those voices, though, they were the driving force in me watching tv instead of practicing at home. I thought I had done enough and the night before I had song on repeat.
Tryout day had arrived. I had a friend give me an awesome fishtail braid and was wearing a full-body black spandex body suit - never I again have I worn anything like that. I was nervous, but still knew I had this because I just wanted so bad. We tried out in groups of three and that day our third bailed so it was me and a veteran.
We did our step routine to Wild Women Do by Natalie Cole - if you watched Pretty Woman you know the song. Today, I can still do the first three sets of eight probably because that evening those three sets were on point, then things fell apart. I was off, I knocked my partner off - it was sad. After that valiant effort I had to do a kick routine to the 80s song, Cars by Gary Numan (go ahead and click on it, have yourself a listen). It’s playing in my ear buds now and I can visualize every kick - imagine a Dallas Cowboys’ Cheerleader kick routine complete with the ending splits. As you might guess, I was off. I was wobbly. I about took my partner’s shoulder out of the socket and I ended with a horrible not really splits, but hurt like hell move. As I am typing this I am having flashbacks from eighth grade cheering leading try-outs where I completely forgot to say “ready, okay” before each cheer and gave then, gave the judges the absolute worst round-off ever imaginable. I told you I was a try-out queen.
Even though I clearly choked, I just knew the judges would see my passion (you know in all my failed dance steps) and would think I just had try-out anxiety then give me a spot anyway. I knew they would have pity on me. When they posted the numbers that were attached to our spandex get-ups, I searched the blue poster boards twice and then I cried. I hotness, ugly cried all over that school cafeteria.
I wanted it so badly, I could picture it, but i let me head get in the way of the actual practice that I needed to succeed. This is the story of my life when it comes to try-outs.
Twenty-three years later, I feel like I am in those same try-outs. I have been given an awesome opportunity and if I make through the “try-out” phase so many years of daydreams will begin to come true. I can’t give you the details, but you may be guessing and you are probably right (or should I say write? wink wink). I just don’t want to get my hopes up, I don’t want anyone else to be disappointed with me if disappointments are meant to happen.
Lately I am back in that gym - wanting it so badly, but not putting in the practices, not honing the skills - turning in half hearted work and hoping that my passion will show through my crapy dance moves. That’s where I need prayers. I can do this, I have practiced for this - I just need to finish well. I know this is going to be a long process, but I need to make it through try-outs. I don’t want to choke, again.
And that my friends is why I am freezing my hind end off sitting outside a busier than I ever expected coffee shop (ugh the hipsters, the teenagers and the late forties couple on their date), I am determined not to choke this time.