When I was little--maybe 7 or 8?--I decided that since I couldn't be in Mrs. Melville's performing group of children called "The Sunshine Generation," I would try out for a really posh and hoity-toity BYU children's choir instead. The details are all so fuzzy for me, though. For instance, I don't know what the posh BYU choir was called, or what is was for. I think it may have been to record some sort of church music album? I don't know when or how or where I heard about the auditions. All I remember is choosing "I Can't Smile Without You" by Barry Manilow as my audtion song, and making my mom leave work early to drive me to the try-outs. I remember going over the song once or twice before going to the Harris Fine Arts Center at the Brigham Young University. I didn't think I needed to practice, as I had been singing "I Can't Smile Without You" (in addition to many other Barry Manilow classics) from atop the piano while Kacy accompanied me since I was three.
My mom seemed a little worried, though. "Are you sure you want to do this?" she kept asking. "Are you ready? Have you practiced?" "What song will you sing? Do you have any back-up music?" The questions kept coming and coming, and I kept staying cool, saying "how hard can this be? I get up there, sing my song, and sit down." I was totally calm, positive that I would be chosen and then Mrs. Melville and her army of snotty "Sunshiners" would be really sorry that they thought they were better than me.
This confidence lasted through the entire car ride and the anxious questioning from my mother. It lasted through the walk in the parking lot. It lasted all the way up the maze of stairs leading to the building. I almost made it through the front door of the building, but then saw a child auditioning through a window. She was polished. We're talking better than even the "Sunshine Generation." Her hair was quaffed, her dress was frilly. She had choreography, for crying out loud. I was wearing a pair of jeans, most likely, and an old sweatshirt. When I saw her I realized just how unprepared I really was for this little gig. I turned and looked at my mother, who knew exactly what I was thinking. Without saying anything, we turned around and walked right back down the stairs of the HFAC, never looking back once. My mom may have run inside to take my name off the audition list. Like I said, the specific details have all left me. All I remember is the humiliation of thinking that I was up for such a cut-throat event, the embarrassment of making my mom take me all the way there only to turn around and leave.
Some people might think that I shouldn't have left the HFAC that day. Some would go on and on about never giving up, being brave, trying new things, etc. But those people are full of malarky. It was the right thing to do to walk away that day. My mother knew it before I did, and it wasn't because she had no faith in me. It was because she knew me better than I did. And she knew my strengths. And singing wasn't one of them. Still not convinced? Well, listen to this, then: when I did finally get up the nerve to audition for the high school musical (some ten years later), did I get a part? Even in the chorus? As an extra? A stage hand? NO. So the peeps who say to keep trying are wrong--when it comes to me and singing, that is. Now the only time I sing is in church, and Mike puts his ear really close to my face, pretending that he can't hear me. And he can't. Cause I give up.