I have been on the stage since the age of six, when my parents foolishly dished out thousands per year to allow their baby girl to parade around stage in tap shoes with my summer sausage of a torso stuffed into a sequin onesie. I took acrobatics, and was so abysmal that when everyone was performing cartwheels and somersaults across the stage, the other fat girl and I posed on opposite sides and stayed totally still, smiling towards the audience with one knee popped. And I fucking loved it. I’ve performed at hundreds of venues, including a 3,000 seat house. I’ve been in an acclaimed American premiere of a Wagner opera where I played pregnant Catholic school girl chained up by a puritanical megalomaniac for all of Act III. What I’m saying, readers, is that I can handle the spotlight. What I cannot handle, apparently, is law school orientation.
I’m nervous, and I’m annoyed about it. I feel like I’m back on the first day of primary school, and because I’m a creepy wierdo I remember what my mom told me before I stepped out of the car: “Don’t act too much like yourself.” I remember this because she tended to dispense this little nugget of advice before every big event: high school, my first real job, college orientation. What she meant in the first grade however, when she crushed my spirit with a few choice words, referred to my communication skills. Well, more like my lack of them. I didn’t speak for the first ten years of school out of sheer horror. Horror I would say something wrong. And do you know where silence lands you at parochial school? It lands you in speech therapy. And speech therapy, in our case, was a tiny room with no windows and a creaky plywood floor where Sister Jeanette would force you to recite the Our Father and Hail Mary over and over again. That was our fucking speech therapy. I remember one kid didn’t know the Our Father OR the Hail Mary and was forced to leave speech. The last I heard of him, he was in juvie and had knocked a girl up. THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW YOUR PRAYERS. Speech therapy didn’t really work and since we didn’t have much of a music program, the only place to meet people besides lunch (when I was very busy keeping up my rotund physique) was gym.
I hated gym. When I did all of my chores on the weekend, instead of paying me, my dad would write me a note to get out of gym class. I would save it and then carefully write the date in when I knew that gym was in rotation. He would right “stomach ache” or “sore ankle”. So I would sit and watch our misogynistic tool of a gym teacher explain the rules. “For every basket a boy scores, he gets 1 point. If a girl scores, it’s 2.” Well, when I was playing, that wasn’t a bad rule, but I never seemed to get in the game. Weak Ankles.
Voice lessons brought me out of my shell finally and I started to talk in school. And I, stupid as I am, called my mom last night to prep me for the next two days of meeting my peers, colleagues, and professors while dressed like a Bible salesman. She said, “Just remember to cool it and don’t act too much like-” I cut her off and fibbed, telling her I just remembered I had teach a spinning class. Then I poured myself a nightcap and laughed. Maybe I’ll wear a sequin onesie today. That’ll show ’em who I really am.