When I was about fifteen and entering high school, I was
trying to find my place there. I asked about the cheerleader squad and numerous other popular groups and I would get the same
reaction. “You have got to be kidding!” I was starting to feel like a misfit so I approached the “cool misfits”
group. As I tried to join in, everyone became silent. I felt like a stray cat and sensed that everyone was thinking “if
we ignore her, maybe she will go away.”
One day a girl named Nina approached me about trying out
for the Guard which was an all girl marching band that played at the football games. I couldn’t believe it! This was
the most prestigious group on campus and I didn’t have the nerve to approach them and now I was invited to join their
When I went to the try out, I had to admit, I wasn’t
that great. I was use to ballet, modern dance and yoga. Marching did not come naturally to me. I could perfectly understand
not making the Guard but what followed was a humiliating experience. The captain made a big deal about how The Guard would
never accept someone like me and I had some nerve to even show up. I realized that I had been set up as the butt of a joke.
I felt like Sissy Spacek in the “Carrie” movie. I came home and went to my room to cry. When my mother came in,
I told her what happened. She said “Well it’s obvious no one will have you”. “What?” “Now
you are free to be you”. My mother could be painfully straight forward but oddly comforting. She explained to me that
this was just a stepping stone in my life to better things. Because I was not confined to a group, I could do whatever I pleased
and there were far more interesting people for me to meet beyond that silly campus. I suddenly felt a burden lifted from my
I went back to school and met another girl who was a misfit
like me. We decided that we wanted to take drama. When we went to talk to Mrs. Blount the drama teacher, she said the class
was full. We were both in tears and begged her to let us in. I think she felt sorry for us and agreed to let us in her class.
One day in Mrs. Blount’s class, I was sitting on the
front row when she pulled me onto the stage to explain stage positions. I was painfully shy and I am not exaggerating when
I tell you that my knees were literally knocking and my teeth were chattering. I thought I was going to faint and I think
Mrs. Blount thought the same thing too. She carefully returned me to my seat. After I regained my composure, I suddenly realized
that I would never be afraid of the public again. I went on to do a few plays while in school and later joined a theater group
after graduation. I never caught the acting bug but my experience helped me greatly in my sales career. I learned stage presence,
memorization, speech diction, projection, body language and confidence.
Instead of going to after school practice with the Guard
or hanging out with the cool kids at the local hamburger joint, I got a job at an upscale department store. I found my niche
in sales and made some life changing contacts. I learned from experience all about business, sales, marketing and publicity.
I also learned how to deal with people. I could not have bought a better education and I was poised perfectly when women started
entering the market place for the first time. As always, mom was right about that stepping stone.
Next time you desperately want to be a part of a group or
trying to keep up the Joneses and things are not working out like you hoped for, maybe it’s your stepping stone to something
much better for your life.