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Glorious Gilbert High School Choir
My head was fuming, and my insides felt constricted like I had breathed in too deeply and the air would not go back out. If I had been a cartoon character, steam would have been coming out of my ears and through the top of my head. I felt like screaming, and had I been alone as I stomped to the schoolbus after school, I'm sure I would have given some scream queen a run for her money. I was angry, but I was also incredibly hurt. The anger was a mask for my heart as it tried to keep from completely shattering.

At good old Gilbert High School, I sang in the choir. As a freshman, I sang in the chorale with all of the other freshman, and I was singing in Advanced Women's Ensemble as a sophomore. I never considered myself a particularly good singer. I did have a genuine love for music, though. At the end of sophomore year, I tried out for Concert Choir, which is my school's Big and Gifted Choir. I figured I was probably good enough to make it in, and I was glad when I read the results that I had. This made me eligible to try out for my school's Small and Gifted Choir, Advanced Vocal Ensemble.

I had contemplated not even trying out, because I didn't think I was good enough to make it in. I finally did try out, but it was more of a "what the heck" kind of thing than an "I really hope I'll make it" frame of mind. I figured I would try out for the experience, and maybe I would make it in as a senior. When the results were posted, I did not anxiously worm my way to the front to see the results. In fact, I didn't even go to the results at all. One of my friends told me that I had made it in. Later, I verified this information by viewing the list. To say that I was surprised... there could not be a greater understatement. I was shocked to my bones. In a good way.

For the next two years, I sang in both choirs. I was singing with people that I have been with since freshman year. I had stuck it out even when our favorite choir teacher, Mr. Craig Peterson, left us for a position at a community college, even though some did not. I never considered myself "great." I considered myself lucky. The students I was singing with had incredible voices, and they were not afraid of exhibiting that at any given moment.

I had sacrificed my scholastic schedule because I was taking music classes, and I gave up early release my senior year because my choirs were the last two hours of the day. I never pretended I was good, although I knew that my choir was. Even though the students in my choir were sometimes pretentious and snobby, I had always given them the benefit of the doubt, even if they made me feel like an inferior singer.

Then, the end of senior year was finally upon me. I was happy because I wanted to leave that place, and all the people, politics and pretentiousness that seemed particularly abundant. One day, after our choir had finished practicing and school was almost over, I asked my fellow choir members if they would sign my yearbook. You know, it seemed like such a reasonable request. It wasn't like I was asking them for money, or to cheat on a science test, or to give me their firstborn. Well, my "reasonable request" was met with a reaction that I was not prepared to handle.

It was like I was invisible.

I thought, at first, "maybe, they just didn't hear me." So, I asked again. I knew that they had heard me. Some of them even looked at me directly, but did not otherwise acknowledge me. The bell rang, giving them further freedom to escape a request I thought was so "reasonable."

As I stomped through the gravel to get on the bus, I did not see anything or anyone. I did not even see the bus, just a yellow shape, and the numbers "426" which meant I was getting on the right vehicle. My eyes stung, and my heart and chest started to feel heavy. I rode home with my head in my lap, ignoring everyone in an attempt to hide the tears that would not stop coming out of my eyes.

I hated the way that they made me feel about myself. From time to time, I will say that I love myself, and it is true. I love myself. Everyone should feel happy about being who they are, and I always tried my hardest to feel happy about who I was. That they could damage a part of me so deeply made me livid beyond the proper telling of it. How dare they! How dare they cause me to feel so insecure, and it had just driven home the point that I had always suspected throughout my choir years -- that I did not belong -- socially or talent-wise. It hurt me so much that I still remember it like it was yesterday even though it was over 6 1/2 years ago.

I never felt like I belonged in that choir, and I thought that maybe, maybe I could stop feeling like the outcast that I clearly was that day. I realize that I was wrong to expect them to suddenly forget how awesome they were, and how much I sucked.

All I wanted was for them to sign my yearbook. And they made me feel like a leper.