I did what I said I wouldn’t: I got my hopes up.
Because, seriously? How amazing would it have been to sing with Ben Folds, with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, at the Meyerson Theater? How incredible would it have felt to sing the Regina Spektor part on the (self-proclaimed ‘disturbed and bouncy’) song “You Don’t Know Me” in front of 2,062 people?
Pretty amazing, I bet.
There is about a 99.5% chance I won’t get to find out how it feels, though, because I was not one of the three girls chosen. I am an alternate. It’s still cool to be an alternate, don’t get me wrong¹ — but what are the chances a girl will get sick or break her leg or whatever?
I’m trying, really trying, not to get more bent out of shape over this than I should. I should know from past experience that when I get passed over for something, which happens to me more often than not, it truly is for the best.
I’ve been thinking how my life would be different, had I gotten everything I ever wanted. That life, that person I would be, is not the same as the person I am today.
If I had gotten everything I tried for, I would have been a popular girl in high school, who got all the scholarships she applied for instead of none. With that scholarship money, I would have gone to a different university instead of moving to this place that has totally shaped me.
Let’s just say I ended up here, anyway, though. I would have married the 100% wrong guy for me, instead of the sweetest man on earth who popped into my life a few years later. I would have been working some corporate political job that is not me in the slightest. I would have been promoted to a manager at places like Chick-Fil-A and the bank and Starbucks. Then, I would have been tempted to stick around and be Important at places I didn’t want to be. Oh, yeah, and I would have made it onto American Idol, where I’d be the focus of television cameras for a year and sucked into a, well, sucky and consuming contract that works out not-so-much in my favor.
Looking at it that way, that is not the life I want. But, looking back, those are all things I was disappointed I didn’t get, when I got passed over in favor of someone else.
Flaws and failures and all, I’d rather be this person. This girl, who is married to a kind, thoughtful sweetheart who encourages me to pursue my passions. This girl, who knows she has something to offer the world even though – so far – the world has generally overlooked her. This girl, who is determined to write a novel that will, one day, change the world, even if it only changes the world of one person. This girl, who knows that when the time comes and someone notices, she’ll appreciate it a thousand times more than she would have if she always got every single thing she ever dreamed of attaining.
So, why do I still get bent out of shape when things don’t happen like I hope they will? Probably because they’re awesome opportunities like singing on stage with Ben Folds in front of thousands, and because it hurts my pride.
I think these experiences are part of why I love outcasts, why I root for the underdog, why I write about the people who have great things to offer, but need to stop believing what the world tells them is true. I write these things, because I know them all too well. I guess that’s the little bit of sweet that comes from bittersweet rejection – the ability to be where I’ve ended up, writing about things I know with truth and authority, hoping it will inspire people to believe in themselves despite discouraging circumstances.
¹Except the part where one girl who got a spot sang horrendously out of tune, and another girl sang the bass note (instead of the alto note…) on her entire audition. I’m a little bitter, because not only did I take the time to perfect my part, I got it in by the deadline, too. I will force myself to stop this rant before I cry again, like (most of) yesterday.