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Pagkakalat sa Stage

I have just consistently broken my 8th New Year’s resolution.  But the year is young and my time is insesantly booked by handful of events and friends.  And people who knows me, knows that in my set of construed priorites, friends come first.

So for now, I leave you with an old old old article I wrote for school folio.  Cute story actually, but not my best written work.


When I was five, The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints held various activities for Sunday school. Eat Bulaga’s Little Miss Philippines was very popular back then. Every mother of a young girl wanted her child to participate in similar pageants. So the Church held a pageant for the Sunday School students. Since I’m a girl, my mother excitedly entered me, to have something to brag about.

      They prepared me weeks in advance.

They bought an exceedingly uncomfortable pink lace gown from Baclaran.  It was an off-shoulder gown.  It had ruffles everywhere and its skirt looked like a big bell that swayed with my every move.  It itched as I wore it.  But boy, did I look good in that gown.

They picked a Madonna song for me to dance.  Material Girl to be specific. They taught me each step holding my fists up high. It seemed to me I was just marching back and forth, and of course, with my fist held up high. My not liking Madonna did not help. I’m a weird girl with a weird taste and liked weird artists. I liked Cindy Lauper then and her “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”. But they told me, girls dancing in Madonna’s songs were cuter, judges preferred them better. I just wanna have fun. But they were taking this beauty contest way too seriously.

They told me to put both of my hands on the left side of my hips, the way little girls do in Eat Bulaga. I have to flash them my biggest smile and show them my priceless dimples I inherited from my father. I had to memorize my line to introduce myself. “My name is Desiree Ann Samson, I am five years old. I live in 49, Tahimik Street, Imus Cavite. I am in kindergarten Sunday school”. That was all I had to remember. And my dance step with my fists held up high.

After all these, I realized I didn’t want to enter the pageant. I was extremely insecure about myself. Who was I kidding? I knew very well that I have a physical abnormality and that I would never be beautiful enough to win such an event. Even if I looked pretty damn good in my pink-itchy-ruffled-gown. Plus the fact that I didn’t want to dance, I wanted to sing.

On the pageant day itself, I told everybody that I had everything under control. I was getting really annoyed at the fact that everybody was reminding me what to say, how to dance, to hold up my fists as I march back and forth on the stage, and even how to walk in when my name was called. I was too arrogant to listen to anybody. When I was finally called, I walked in with my hands on the side and waving with a smile. I introduced myself, “Good evening everybody. My name is Desiree Ann Samson. I am five years old.” And then I noticed all the people watching. I started to shudder at the sight of all the people in the audience, not to mention my brothers’ friends whom I had a crush on. I forgot what I was supposed to say, “I live in…I live in…I live in…Thank you.” I took a bow and quickly went off the stage.

My brothers were laughing their heads off. My mother just shook her head. She wasn’t able to get something to brag about, instead got a joke to tell her friends. That pageant became my family’s favorite laughing matter for years. To make matters worst, my brothers would put in the betamax video tape of the pageant every time they wanted to taunt me. I swore I would never enter another beauty pageant again.

But I did join another contest when I was ten. A singing contest in our town. I love singing but I also know that I’m always out of tune. I didn’t dare to sign up, and my family wasn’t friendly enough with the neighbors to know that there was a contest. But the organizers wanted one more contestant. The contest was going to be held in two hours and they asked me if I could join. I was too arrogant to say no. I thought I could do it. I got one of my Whitney Houston multiplex cassette tape and started practicing.  I chose All at Once.

      Within the two hours, I practiced with all my heart.  This was my time, my moment.  Now, I could show them that I was meant to sing and not to dance Madonna. I imagined how I would look like. I took a chair in my make-believe stage. Took it out, I sang better when I’m standing up. Held a hairbrush, pretended it was a microphone. I sang on the top of my lungs. Who wouldn’t? It’s a Whitney Houston song.

After two hours, I sat among the contestants in the basketball court where they put up a stage for the performers. One of the judges happened to be my brother’s ex-girlfriend. I became too confident just by knowing that I had an edge against my competitors. I was too arrogant.

      When the other contestant sang, I compared myself to them.  I’m better than these people, I told myself.  I look better than these people, I convinced myself.  I have more star quality (more of star complex) than these people, I kept on telling myself.  I was too preoccupied in comparing myself to the other contestants that I forgot to be nervous.  When I heard my name being called up on the stage, I ran up quickly and took the microphone.

I heard my tape start. I was actually doing good. I wasn’t making up the lyrics, like the other contestant did. My voice had force, power, and rhythm. I wasn’t even out of tune. With so much confidence I sang. But I should have never looked at the audience. My knees started to shake. My mind seemed like a chalk board being erased slowly. I forgot the lyrics of my song.

I panicked and forgot what I was supposed to sing. Instead, I sang on the microphone, “All at once…Ay Sus-Maria-Josep!” and hit my forehead. That ended my singing career.

I never entered any other contest that involved stages ever again. The trauma just would not let me, and my brothers too. They would always use the “Thank You” and “Sus-Maria-Josep” incidents whenever they wanted something to laugh about. The betamax is long gone, and Whitney Houston can’t be remembered anymore. But every Christmas reunion, these contest follies were a sure fire hit to all of them.

I wish I could laugh about it, too. It’s just that, I don’t find it funny.

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