I was a band kid. While I know band kids don’t get the “coolest” rep, there was one group of kids associated with the marching band who were notoriously cool: the drill team.
They had these amazing sequin leotards, knee high white boots, and (so it appeared to the commoners) the confidence of a thousand queens. They waved their gigantic flags, high-kicked their legs, and danced while the rest of us marched begin with our borrowed band costumes (yes, hats included).
OMG DID I WANT TO BE ON DRILL TEAM.
I wanted the sequins. I wanted to throw a flag into the air! And I reaaaallllllyyy wanted that confidence.
Despite my fears that the boots might not fit my legs (team calves-too-big-for-knee-high-boots over here 🙋🏻♀️), I decided to audition. I went to all the practices. I spent nights alone in my room refining my moves. I even stretched! I was all in.
The audition song was “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” by Eiffel 65 and I shit you not, whenever that song comes on I still remember the choreography from that day.
They broke us into the small groups we would audition with. Side by side, we walked in front of the long card table where the judges sat and watched us. Someone clicked play on the CD player… “y’all listen up, it’s a story…”
My pits were sweating from nerves but I gave it my all. I kicked my heart out. My right groin still hurts thinking about those fan kicks.
At the end, I caught a friend’s eye and instantly burst out laughing. I often laugh uncontrollably in the midst of discomfort but, as it happened often in high school, my laughter led to me peeing my pants a bit. WHYYYYYYYYY!! I just prayed that the pee didn’t soak my soffe shorts (which yes, I bought exclusively for this audition) as I scurried off the basketball court so the next group could go.
After the longest hour of my life they announced the new drill team. I was NOT on that list.
Heartbroken, I rode home in the car with my mom. I remember feeling so sad, embarrassed (you know, because I peed my pants), ashamed that I didn’t “have what it takes” to be on the drill team, and like a failure.
I can literally remember thinking “I’m so average. I wish I were spectacular like one of those cool girls on drill team.”
Since that audition, I’m thrilled to share that I’ve had a very wonderful life (with many “failures” along the way, of course).
While I’m not sure anyone has ever used the word “cool” to describe me, I have done so many things that bring me joy. I am confident in who I am as a person. And, I dance A LOT (namely in my kitchen with my kids, but there are sometimes high kicks!!). Band ended up being something I look back on with so much nostalgia and gratitude. And, I don’t remember the last time someone even cared to ask about what extracurriculars I did in high school.
Not making the drill team did not ruin me!
In fact, I had almost forgotten about this moment until last week, when I got a message from a wonderful UNMEASURED member sharing how awesome it is to take classes from someone who is a “regular person.” Not an olympic athlete or a prima ballerina… just a regular human.
And she’s right. I’m a regular person who loves moving my body with joy + intention… and who loves helping others do the same.
As I listened to her words, it made me feel warm inside. I felt so much gratitude for the part of myself who is regular.
It was the same part that showed up to the drill team audition but didn’t make it (and I felt shame and failure about). Only now, I see her through different eyes. This part of who I am helps me to connect with people and encourage them in a really fulfilling way.
The same person, the same part of myself, but viewed through different experiences and lenses.
If you’re seeing a part of yourself through the lens of shame or embarrassment or failure, I’m sending you a huge hug. Drill team auditions weren’t the first or last time I felt (or will feel) that way. We are only human!!
But, today, I want to invite you to look at that part of yourself through a different experience or lens. Sometimes this is all we need to feel warmth and gratitude for who we truly are!