Thursday, October 1, 2009

Yes, I was a Beauty Pageant Drop-out

I was about seventeen or eighteen when I decided it would be a good idea to be in a beauty pageant. My mom drove me to the orientation where a gorgeous tanned, skinny, blond gal came out in a beaded gown (the tan was fake and the hair was dyed – at least that’s what I kept telling myself).

She began to tell us the wonderful benefits of being in a pageant, including scholarships and travel. But there was a catch.

“You need to be prepared with your talent,” the shiny toothed girl said as she smoothed her beaded dress with the palms of her hand. She flipped her hair to the side of her head as she looked directly at me. Her eyes burned into mine. I tried to glare back, but she suspected someting about me I didn’t want anyone to know. I had no talent.

I mean, didn’t they know who I was? I was no talent girl.

I scanned the room looking for any other girls with no talent. There was a girl in the corner clutching onto a tap shoes, another with some kind of large, brass hoops and a small poodle near her feet. I was doomed.

Needless to say, I never went back to the pageant pre-Vaseline- tooth shining (yes, they really do put Vaseline on their teeth. At least they did back then. Maybe they use something different now like wood floor vanish. I’m not certain).

For years I had been told that everyone had a talent, but I couldn’t figure out what mine was. I tried voice lessons, dance classes, public speaking (not my favorite), but I didn’t enjoy most of them or was told I was terrible at what I was trying (that’s right voice lesson teacher, I’m talking to you - “class was interesting.” Whatever).

Then a magical thing happened, I started writing. I wasn’t good, but I was having fun. I worked and worked on my craft and suddenly I realized, “Hey, I have a talent.” But that wasn’t all I realized.

As I worked with others around me, I could see the hidden talents they had, not in extravagant display, but talents that came from them just being them.

I have a very good friend who makes friends easily (and keeps them) she is sincere with every word she says and is always complementing others.
I have another friend who helps others without a second thought (things I would be too afraid of doing). She is not afraid to stop by and see how you are doing, just because she had a whim.
Another good friend can make anyone around them feel at ease (not many people can do that). She is a pro at laughing easy and not judging stupid things that come out of one’s mouth (yeah, that happens to me all the time – the stupid things coming out of my mouth thing. I need my mouth and brain to meet sometime and work that one out). Yes, these are all hidden talents.

Talents don’t have to be something that is set on an easel or displayed on stage, sometimes they are quiet talents that are less noticeable, but talents nonetheless.

So when people tell me they don’t have a talent I laugh and say, “Ha ha! But you do, you just don’t see it yet my friend.”
And then I try to sing to them. That usually changes their hearts to believe... or they run away with strange frightened looks on their faces. I think its from the change of heart.


L.T. Elliot said...

You have so many talents it's ridiculous. (yes, that's the jealousy speaking right alongside the truth roaring.)
You are an excellent writer, a superb mother, a hilarious comdedian, and an exemplary friend. You are thoughtful, wise, smart, funny, and beautiful. You lift people without knowing it. You make them feel lighthearted and hopeful. You make me feel hopeful all the time--and that is no small feat.

In short, you're a great person.

And I don't believe that vocal teacher. You have a gorgeous voice. Yes, our toilet pasttime singing proves it. ;)

Melanie J said...

I know I used to always bemoan the lack of a "performing" talent. But you know what's kind of cool? With a writing talent, I can end up holding people in thrall for hours at a time. Awesome.

Peay Family said...

Hidden talents are awesome. Sometimes I like to just make stuff up to myself and claim it as a hidden talent :)
Love your writing, every day, all of it :)

Allyson Condie said...

Oh my goodness, Carolyn! I have a draft of a very similar blog post in my folder. I have a friend who always says, "I'm a really good reader," when people ask what her talent is. I love that.

And you have a wonderful talent for writing. I love reading your work!

Carolyn V. said...

L.T. You're awesome! I'm totally going to sing in the bathroom at our next conference.

Melanie, It's so cool! I won't lie. mwa ha ha

Rachel. I think I'm going to have to make up some good hidden talents of my own. That's a great idea.

Allyson, Thanks! =) I love reading your work too, you are an excellent writer. =)