Monday, April 18, 2011

Shirley Sunday: My foray into child pageantry...FAIL.

Ok, first, I apologize for this post being late, as I saw many people stopped by hoping to see this weeks funny Shirley story. Well, due to my untimely surprise nap, it is now Monday, and I dropped the ball. I hope you, my faithful readers will forgive me for my slip-up.

Ok, enough butt-kissing...let's get to the meat and potatoes of Shirley Sunday! On with today's story, "Child pageants almost killed me." Also known as "Shirley, judge, jury and executioner."

Sometime around my 10th year, someone gave my mom the bright idea to enter me in child pageants. Now I know you've all seen those shows about toddler pageants, and that is normally how it goes. At least most of the time, unless your mother is so determined for you to win that she sabotages the other contestants. I am NOT kidding. Shirley sabotaged 10 year old girls to improve my chances at winning the crown. It wasn't until much later, when I was 15 and in my last pageant that I heard the pageant moms talking about my mom. I asked the girls what was going on, and they said, "Nothing against you, you are really nice, but your mom ripped the seam of my dress when she stepped on it. I think she did it on purpose." I went on to ask the other girls, and found 5 that had been sabotaged in one way or another by my mom. Some of the stellar shows of integrity I learned of were: switching a girl's hairspray with clear gloss spray paint, "tripping" over a girl and breaking the heel off one shoe, spilling peroxide all over another girl's dress, "losing" a girl's music CD 5 minutes before she went on, and melting a girls lipstick with a hairdryer while "warming it up" for my hair.

One or two of these things happening may have sounded like a clumsy oaf, but all of those things equaled one seriously twisted mother. She didn't take it any easier on me either. I was brushed, hair sprayed, shellacked, and made up to within an inch of my life. I probably could have made a decent living selling myself on the day of pageants. You see, my mother is fascinated with makeup...only one problem...she doesn't wear any, so has no idea how it goes with skin tone, or how much to put on, or what colors to use on a child. I have several pictures of myself "tarted up" and ready for the runway.  Somehow a 10 year old in bright blue eyeshadow, orange blusher, and florescent red lips looked like a mini-hooker. I always won the consolation prizes because they felt sorry for me. I was not an unattractive child, but in that much makeup I looked like a badly disguised midget trying out for Striptease.

It wasn't just the makeup, or even the absurdly ugly dresses my mother picked. My mother was known for one other thing, besides her ungodly taste and sabotage. She has a temper that, when provoked, would explode. Anywhere, including in the judging room. I was drilled day and night for the month before the pageant and if I slipped up, there was no question what was going to happen when I stepped off the stage. Once I fell going up the stairs in my overlong dress and over high heels. Face first on the stage. I think even the judges winced at how hard I fell. I got up and did my piece, and left the stage. Before we hit the hallway I was under attack. "What kind of stupid move was that? We may as well just go home because you can't pay attention!" (Ironically, this pageant was my best showing- 8th out of 43.)

It was during child pageants I finally realized my life was not my own. My mother had found a way to live through me and was elated to receive accolades for any successes I had. Failures however, were mine to keep.  Child pageantry is a cut throat world, and had I not put my foot down I would probably have been miserable for another 4 years.  Luckily my mom got the message when I told her if she entered me in another pageant I would burn my dress in effigy. She didn't take me seriously until I started a fire in the trash can and went inside to get my dress. At that point I may have out crazied my mother just enough for her to back off...all I remember was standing by the trashcan sobbing "I don't want to look like a hooker anymore!" The neighbors started looking out their windows, and as they were the pastor and his family she promised me no more pageants. It was only then that I put the fire out.

I ran into the Pastor and his family not long ago, and he remembered that incident, and finally got up the courage to ask about it. When I finished the story he was laughing so loud that people were staring.

Now don't get me wrong...if a kid wants to be in a pageant, by all means let them. Let them decide when, and how long they want to do it. I know there are others out there who condemn the pageant system, but lets be's the parents who determine what a kid will get out of a pageant. What did I get? A complex. But that's ok, I'm in therapy....

To winning and bi-winning,

Love and Laughter,
-Kat Lady