Since I’ve been living in the past lately, let me tell you about a recent Facebook mindfuck.
One of my high-school classmates posted a photo on Facebook. It was the group photo of the high school show choir in their performance outfits. (Costumes? Crimes against fashion?) As you might imagine, the pic featured lots of radar bangs, shoulder pads, and gold metallic fabric. I laughed. I pored over the photo, trying to remember names and playing that mental who’s who game.
We had this choir teacher who made kids cry on a regular basis. As a somewhat mentally healthy adult, I can now see that she had real Problems. She got involved in her students’ social lives and played mind games and was generally a walking billboard for Hot Mess.
She eventually got fired for hitting a kid. This surprised me, because I remembered her hitting kids. When I was in school, that wasn’t the sort of thing that got you fired. Reprimanded, maybe. It was a different time.
It was this choir teacher who called little sophomore me at home the night before the show choir list was going to be posted.
Of course I had auditioned. I was the strongest soprano in my grade. I had tons of musical theatre experience from our community theatre. I had been fantasizing about being in show choir since I had first seen the group perform at our local Miss America pageant when I was 4 years old. Of course I would be in show choir!
Except that I wasn’t. The choir teacher called to give me a heads-up that I didn’t make the cut, on account of some intricacies she explained to me which now escape my memory. I think it had something to do with holding a spot for a girl who was being treated for an eating disorder even though I was the better singer.
At any rate, it was not fair. And it was especially not fair how the teacher told me to be on my best behavior and maybe she’d change her mind in the middle of the school year – after all, she had a skirt in my size.
Yeah, I wore the same size skirt as the girl with the eating disorder. Keep in mind, too, that I had no idea that girl was being treated for an eating disorder, but the teacher told me alllll about it.
Anyway, she lorded this shit over me for the rest of the school year, and I was never “called up “ to show choir, except when they needed help hitting the high notes in the national anthem. So I stood with them, the only one not in a matchy-matchy outfit, and I sang, and then I had to leave. Later, the choir teacher would tell me I’d made them look bad because I’d worn a too-short dress.
By the time my junior year rolled around, I realized that I wanted to limit my exposure to the choir teacher as much as possible. Also, I decided that the show choir was lame in their gold lamé. So, screw you guys!
And I never looked back. Except for 22 years later, when I can admit that dammit, it hurt my feelings.
Also? That dress was really cute and it wasn’t too short. My mom bought it for me, and it was adorable.