Middle-Grade Memories: The performance of a lifetime. Hah.

I’ve been thinking of middle-grade stories for you, readers. It’s a sobering, embarrassing, and oddly nostalgic journey. But hopefully, it’s an enjoyable one for you. Who doesn’t like laughing at someone else’s pain, after all? You don’t? Oh. Well, then. I guess I’m just a horrible person.

For today’s story, I called on my dad for some inspiration. And he sent me this photo.

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Take a good long look. At the details of this photo. From the feathery hat adorning my head to the matching bubble-gum-pink vest and skirt to the equally pink colors on my face. No, I did not dress this way in junior high. Thank. Goodness. But I did perform in the chorus of Hello, Dolly! 

For some reason, I auditioned. I wasn’t a singer. I wasn’t an actor. I wasn’t even close to being a drama kid. But there I stood, before a cafeteria of sixth- to eighth-graders, and sang some small number. Then performed a bit of drama on the stage. Unsurprisingly, I did not get a part. My acting skills–as they stand today–are dismal. Worse, is my singing. Thankfully, however, the director took on even the most pathetic of sixth graders when she cast the chorus. Because that is where I stood.

But I loved it. I’m an introvert, yes. However, I love to perform. Put me on a stage, give me some direction, and watch me go! Doesn’t mean I’m any good, (except maybe at dancing). But it means I’ve got heart. It’s my introvert’s way of saying, “Look at me!” without feeling overwhelmed. Then, when the performance is over, I step off the stage, hideaway in my bedroom, and draw for hours in my sketchbook.

Highlights of this performance? Two outfit changes. Stage makeup. Performing to a live audience. Hand-made pink vest and skirt (yes, a friend made them). After-school rehearsals with my friend Sarah. Singing. Dancing. White gloves. Witnessing the “maturity” of eighth-grade performers (they seemed uber cool). And forever showing this picture to people.

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