I’m not sure how far back in life most people can remember, but I would say that five years old might be the earliest age from which I have stark memories— at least those that I can recall on my own.
Maybe if my parents reminded me of something I did when I was four, I might be able to reminisce with them, but I think five years old is about the extent to which I can remember. One of my earliest recollections is from the beginning of my schooling years when I was still learning what I was passionate about, at least for the age. This particular awakening ended up shaping a big part of my life, and who I’ve become since then. It was when I first realized that I love to perform.
I have always loved to sing for people.
My first performance which I fondly remember was in kindergarten. My class was putting on a show based on “The Three Little Pigs,” but since the cast was comprised entirely of six year olds, it was obviously made into a musical for maximum home video satisfaction. Thus, we presented “The Three Piggy Opera,” which totally ups the production value.
I was dressed in pink shorts, a pink tank top, and a hand-crafted construction paper forehead mask, and defended my straw house with every ounce of drama and pizzazz I could muster. It wasn’t hard because “The Big Bad Wolf” was the love of my young life, and I needed to show off a tad. I sang and acted my little heart out, and loved every second of it. After my theatric debut, I started doing other shows in my town for years and years, all the way through high school, and always jumped at the opportunity to perform in front of crowds.
My love for the stage ended up applying mostly to singing, with some acting as well, and even a tiny smidgen of dancing. I took one dance class in eighth grade to see if I had hidden potential that could take me to the Met Opera Ballet, but at the final and only performance, I stepped on a tack in the first step after the count-off and danced with it in my foot for the entire number. Regardless of how well or poorly I pulled it off, I never wanted to dance again after that unfortunate and painful turnout. However, I have always loved to sing for people. I sang in the theater, my school’s vocal ensemble, voice lesson recitals, and the national anthem at my swim meets as well as one minor league baseball game. My brother and I would even record CDs for my entire family each Christmas; I would sing covers of songs into a microphone hooked up to his computer, and he would accompany them on the guitar, keyboard, and harmonica, which you couldn’t hear unless you listened extra hard. So as not to give away the set list, we’d set up a makeshift recording studio in his room with our own soundproof methods, which included stuffing blankets under the doorway and hanging them on the walls; it was more of an “A for effort” attempt than actual execution.
The older I become, the less I come across opportunities to perform since I’m no longer involved in the acting or vocal communities I once was before college. However, I am adapting accordingly, because I now see public speaking as my new outlet. This is convenient because I have to make quite a few presentations and pitches for my advertising major. I’m not sure if I realized how much of that I’d be doing when I applied into the major, but I’m delighted that it ended up this way. Otherwise, I’d probably be out auditioning for infomercials on the weekends just for the thrill of it. I don’t know if “The Three Piggy Opera” taught me to love the stage, or if it just taught me to make one wherever I could, but I do know that it was my first taste of performing that I truly enjoyed. I’ve seen footage of myself running offstage in nervous tears when I was about three, right in the first moments of a toddler ballet version of “Snow White.” I think I just wasn’t ready for the exhilaration of performance adrenaline yet at that point in my life. Or maybe, I was just never meant to dance, and the tack in my foot that I experienced at my eighth-grade recital was life’s not-so-subtle reminder that I probably should have just run right off the stage again.
I think it’s cute that I had so much fun in my little kindergarten play, and still enjoy the same thrills 15 years later.
It’s a passion that I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of, especially since there are so many different ways to implement it into my life. If I’m telling you an animated story and there’s no one else around, it might be safe to assume that you’re my audience for the moment.