Picture it. An eight-year-old girl stands alone on a well-lit stage in front of a crowd of about 400. Her thin frame is draped in a pale pink satin gown that gently touches the floor as she moves her feet around anxiously. Her light brown hair is partially tied back in a beautiful genuine pearl barrette. Her hair falls to the middle of her shoulder. Despite the nervous look on her face, she stands completely still. The microphone makes an obnoxious noise that lets the audience know that it has been turned on.
She begins, hesitant at first but slowly becoming more confident.
If I should stay, I would only be in your way, so I’ll go but I know, I’ll think of you every step of the waaaaa-y
This eight-year-old girl was me and I was competing in the Miss American Pre-teen Pageant. I was in third grade at this point and had never sung in front of a crowd of people this large-but it excited me.
It was at this point the background music was supposed to begin playing but someone in the technical crew screwed up and it never did. Still, I kept going.
And I will always love you, I will always love you, I will always love you
As I sang to my audience my hands became sweaty and often shook. I clasped the microphone entirely too close to my face and made my way through Whitney Houston s I will always love you archipelago, but not by choice.
Bittersweet memories, that is all I m taking with me, so goodbye, please don t cry-we both know I m not what you-you need
It was her that the music would have paused for a dramatic BOOM! And
And I will always love you, I will always love you, I will always love you, I will always love you!
| glanced around the audience one last time, smiled at my mother, and proudly finished what I had started.
My darling you Exhilarating-That was one experience that won t fade.