Sunday, November 14, 2010

Portfolio 19 Autobiography: First of the Night

This was a school assignment from last year. We wrote one entry a week. Here's one of the better ones. This was written to be performed aloud, and I sang the appropriate line.

I’m backstage. The world is fading in and out of focus, but it’s there enough for me to hear John: “I’m so nervous.”

I give a shaky laugh, “You’re nervous.”

I can’t imagine him being nervous. How long had he spent on this? A few months? It can’t’ve been more than three. It was impossible for him to be as nervous as he seemed, shaking a little from stress and excitement. If he messed up, then he’s messed up once, and he’s lost a few months. A few months out of your whole life is nothing really, even at fourteen. If I mess up…

If I screw this up, I’ve wasted fourteen years.

This swims through my head, and John turns to me, surprised. “You’re nervous?” Something calls him away.

It takes half a second for that to sink in. I grin. He can’t imagine me being nervous. I have nothing to be nervous about. Him? He’s spent a couple months, tops, preparing for this. He might mess this up. He’s still learning, barely even started. Me? I have spent fourteen years of my life moving toward this moment. This is my time. I get to show everyone why I sought for so many years, why I have practiced and pushed and tried for so many after that, no matter what. I get to show them why it matters.

And, I can admit now that I’m out of it, I got to show them-—every friend, every acquaintance, every stranger, every bully, and especially every bully-—that I counted. That no matter what else may happen, this I can do. This I can be. Tell me there isn’t a person in this world who truly cares for me, tell me I’m worthless, tell me I’m not even human. I may even believe you. But no matter; I sing.

I stride out onto the stage, spirit high and smiling. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I know now why that song felt like mine, and why it was so important to sing that song to them. It was my story. It is my story.

It’s the story of a woman who learned to fly.

My cue hits: “Something has changed within me.” Everything. My world may twist and twirl and stagnate into whatever it may be, but I know that this has changed me.

And as I sing, I come to her—-our realization. You don’t need to work for that one. You never did. You need to work for you. You may leave some old friends behind, but you’ll be flying free. You will find all you need.

The audience cheers mid-song and I grin. The music swells and I soar. I am the song, and I am glorious. I am triumphant.

One day in eighth grade, in my little red dress, I changed my world. I wrote lines of fire across our souls. And even if the marks fade on some, the memories burn bright.

And I got the first standing ovation of the night.

A case where the story inspired the trope (TV Tropes is addictive): I Am Becoming Song

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