Sometimes a crushed dream can actually lead you to something better that helps shape you into the person you’re meant to be.
Even when you’re dressed like Elvis.
When I was driving home from the gym the other day, I still had my headphones in, and a song from High School Musical 3: Senior Year came on, so I had to start belting it. Obviously. After a while, it occurred to me that my voice was the only thing resonating in my car, so I took out one earbud to hear what my singing sounded like. It wasn’t too awful, and I decided I still contend that Mariah and I are soul sistas.
Then I had a flashback to fifth grade.
I had joined choir at school that year, because I figured it would be useful to me in my pursuit of becoming a professional singer. My choir teacher, however, didn’t really seem to have the same belief in my talent as I did. Open House was fast-approaching, where the entire school would be showcasing various work from throughout the year for all of the parents. This included a performance of a television theme and commercial song medley sung by the fifth-grade choir. I was so excited to audition for a solo and really thought I nailed it. I hadn’t gotten a solo in the Christmas concert, but I knew my teacher would give me one for this performance–I just knew it.
Oh, I got a solo, indeed. It was certainly not what I desired, though, because there was truly no actual singing involved. It was more of a talking part, as my job was to provide a portion of the theme from Beverly Hillbillies: “Then one day he was shootin’ at some food, and up through the ground came a bubblin’ crude. Oil, that is, black gold, Texas tea.” This was not going to help my career.
The night of Open House, I walked the halls of my elementary school with my Elvis costume on and my head held high. You see, for my actual classroom assignment, all of the students had to dress up as famous historical figures and recite brief biographies when anyone came up to them and asked them about their characters. Somehow I had wound up with Elvis. I headed for the cafeteria–I was ready to use my best hillbilly accent and say that line as theatrically as I possibly could. I like to think the people appreciated it.
After the performance, I went to my classroom so that I could spend the rest of the night talking about what it was like to be Elvis. I was still a little disappointed about not being able to sing, and something in me snapped. I was in the middle of talking about something significant in the King’s life, when I stopped mid-sentence and just busted into “Hound Dog.” I started both dancing and singing, and a crowd started to come toward me. So, for the rest of Open House, I didn’t talk about Elvis at all. In fact, all of my research was rendered useless as I just continued to sing and dance for people. It was a lot of fun, actually.
I guess I got my solo after all.
I know my music teacher wasn’t trying to ruin my life and shoot down a young girl’s hopes of surpassing Janet Jackson (she was the first concert I ever attended), but I experienced a brief period of discouragement when I didn’t get the solo I had originally sought. (I had really wanted the part singing the “Chaquita Banana” jingle.)
We are definitely all going to face moments in life where things we thought were going to happen don’t. But maybe it’s not just so you have to undergo some form of torture–maybe it’s because God actually has something bigger and so much better prepared for you. Maybe you didn’t get the job you wanted, because there’s one that pays better and is more suitable for you that just isn’t quite available yet; maybe you didn’t get accepted into that leadership organization, because you needed to have Monday nights open so that you could bump into your future husband in the library that night, instead; maybe you didn’t get invited to that party you thought you’d be going to, because you were supposed to go skating with your sister and end up having one of the most fun and memorable nights of your life.
Maybe you didn’t get the solo, because you were supposed to have some private concert that essentially made you become a more confident person who is comfortable in her own skin.
Don’t let a disappointment lead to discouragement. The moment hope gets lost, quite a bit gets lost with it. And there’s a difference between losing yourself like Eminem tells you to do and losing yourself completely because of things not going the way you pictured in your mind.
So snap back to reality, and make it a worthwhile reality.