Note: this is the fourth post in my Fat Camp Follies series. To see them all, visit here.
I went to Fat Camp during the pre-American Idol days. Hansen were still tiny boys singing “MMM Bop” and Britney Spears and N’Sync were just about the biggest things in the universe to a teenager. Growing up, I had visions of being a pop idol. I blame it on being raised on Tiffany and Debbie Gibson. In any case, Fat Camp brought these desires out in me for some odd reason.
Every year, there was a talent show where any camper could enter and then show off their skillz to the entire camp. There was instrument playing, comedy, dance and of course, singing. The great thing about Fat Camp is that through your time there, confidence shoots through the roof. In the Fat Camp World, you’re no longer judged on your weight, but a lot by your personality and how you treat people. Performing in talent shows with a bunch of fat kids are a lot less scary than those like you’d encounter at your local middle or high school.
The first year of Fat Camp, I decided I wanted to channel my inner diva. I chose to partner with this guy friend of mine to sing a duet. If you did a *facepalm* just now, you had the right direction. In addition to building confidence, you also build a lot of sentimenal feelings. We chose a sentimental song. “I’ll Be There” ala Mariah Carey and Trey Lorenz. Yes, another *facepalm* should have just occurred. I, my friends, am no Mariah Carey. And this guy, by far, did not have the vocal chops of Trey Lorenz. We were both nervous, voices warbly, and I’m sure we both looked miserable. But we did it. No one booed.
The second year of Fat Camp, I attemped a song all by myself. I blame all the song selection on the very few karaoke tracks that were avialable in the San Diego music shop we had to go to get our stuff. No one knew the song. Birmingham, by Amanda Marshall. Yes, I sang an upbeat song about domestic violence. *facepalm* But I had the confidence to sing all by myself, and again, no one booed. And I remember vividly, I felt like I looked good. I had a short orange/red plaid skirt on, and a red tank top. Not Britney, but oh well.
The third year of fat camp is when things all went crazy. I came to camp early to train with the counseling staff and such, as I was assisting with them. Britney was huge at this point. “Baby One More Time” was just THE song. One of the counselors, a collegiate blonde cheerleader with a knack for choreography decided that I would be Britney and she would gather 2 other counselors to be background dancers and she would choreograph. We ended up with me, blonde cheerleader/choreographer, another blonde-yet-not-so-coordinated gal and a very attractive tall, dark and handsome male counselor. We practiced for 3 days, and I seriously can STILL remember the moves. I did miniature moves while the dancers danced around me and did the full moves. The emcee of welcoming night for the campers (ironically, the guy who did the duet with me in year one- turned out to be a snarky gossipy guy, but whatever), teased to the campers that someone famous was going to perform for them. The music started blaring and on came me as Britney, and these counselors doing these crazy dances to my sub-par singing. I am just so thankful that this was pre-digital cameras and Flip Videos. Oy. We had tons of fun though.
Later in the year, a group of returning campers and I decided that we would perform at the talent show as N’Sync. We wore oversized t-shirts, baggy shorts and/or pants we borrowed from some of the guy campers, pulled our hair back, and taped on pictures of which N’Sync’er we were on the front of our shirts. Thankfully, we didn’t sing. We just lip-synched and did a display of what we thought were incredibly complex choreographic feats (also known as amateur dancing). As was requisite for boy bands at the time, we had to act out what we were saying. So “tearing up my heart” looked like us ripping our hearts out of our shirts. We imitated moves from the music video. It was crazy. And fun. And no one booed.
I can’t embed the video, but if you want shits and giggles, see some of the N’Sync moves we tried to imitate from the music video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luRC9Uisc80
What is the point of this post, other than to talk about how as teenage I had a penchant for performing in fat camp talent shows? The point is that each year, confidence grew and I had more fun. I learned quickly that singing a duet with some random other camper dude was just boring for other people. But lip synching to N’Sync and dancing like fools? Good times.
I face severe insecurities every day related to my weight. What if I could live every day like I did in these goofy talent show moments? No inhibitions of what people would think, just doing something because A) I wanted to, and B) There was no fear.
I can’t wait until my Skinny Emmie is more well refined and I can start letting go of these protectionist layers I’ve got right now.
This does all get me thinking though… karaoke anyone?!?