We all know the saying “time heals all”. And this might be true with, say, a broken heart or a busted leg. But have you ever been so embarrassed that changed who you are as a person? That shit stays with you, man.
While I was at work earlier, the radio was playing – innocently enough – the 2002 Matchbox 20 classic “Unwell”. Let me tell you, that song was my jam. This is saying a lot as we all know that 2002-2004 had some of the best music of all time (okay, I may be the only one who thinks that). Unfortunately now, it makes me think back to one of the most ill advised decisions I’ve ever made – joining a singing competition.
Back in 2003, my hometown hosted an American Idol style singing competition. We were a small town, so it goes without saying that there wasn’t much by way of participants. But, you got a new outfit from Reitman’s (which was our one clothing store), and the opportunity to sing in front of a crowd! (I’m sure there was a prize – but I definitely didn’t make it far enough to find that out). What more could a 12 year old want, really?
Now, this was 16 years ago so I can’t speak to what on planet earth possessed my friends and I to join this competition. I don’t remember any of us having aspirations of becoming a singer. All I know, is my two best friends – who both had very large personalities, and had no trouble being in the spotlight – signed us up. Peer pressure is a real bitch sometimes.
I remember telling my mom that we were going to do this, and she just about passed out. To say this was out of character for me is a massive understatement. Especially in my tween/teen years – I was cripplingly quiet and impossibly shy (I also had a unibrow at this point. Fun bonus fact). So I’m certain she thought I had turned to drugs or something. Nope. It was just time for me to shine, baby!
So off we went, we got our sweet new outfits from Reitman’s and we were ready for our moment. Of course, I had selected my jam Unwell as my song of choice. I stepped on stage… and that’s when I, along with a good chunk of my hometown, learned that I cannot sing.
I’m not exaggerating when I say it was really, really bad. I may have been the reason why this was the first and last iteration of the competition.
Do I think anyone else has thought about this performance since? No, for sure not (hopefully). But I sure do. Whenever the song comes on, or I feel tempted to do karaoke. And boy, do I cringe. I’m not saying that this is the sole reason why I have a hard time with public speaking, but I really think it might be a factor. I mean, this was the first time I presented in any form in front of people and holy guacamole it was bad.
They say time heals all, but here I am, 16 years later, still suffering from that embarrassment.
And this certainly isn’t the only moment like this for me either – I sometimes lose sleep over a time when I sassed my 6th grade teacher because she asked if I was okay. Or, a time in university when a girl was itching her arm and I asked her if it was a flea bite (I meant mosquito. She was really offended).
I think some embarrassing memories are made so they stick with you forever – making up a little blooper reel that the universe likes to remind us of every once and a while. And while I can safely say time will not heal the embarrassment of these moments, I’ve learned that I need to take that feeling and laugh along with the universe about it.
And, you know, live in constant fear that my mom will bring this up at my wedding. That too.