Five Minute Friday: BETTER
I had a conversation on Twitter a few days ago that has given me an earworm of “Rainbow Connection,” the Muppet song. (The person tweeting said they had failed their child because their kid had not heard the song.)
The conversation got pretty amusing (to me at least), because it sent me down memory lane. “Rainbow Connection” was the song we walked to as contestants in the Miss Union County High pageant in 1981. Is there a less pageant-y song anywhere? It was cute in context, though. The whole theme was essentially rainbows and happiness.
I am not pageant material. However, participating in Miss U-Co-High and a pageant I did in college are things I think about frequently. It’s not that those times in my life were better times (not at all), but that being in those contests helped me be a better person. They also give me a better understanding of pageant culture and a certain angle on what pageants have become in our society.
I remember clearly my talent at Miss U-Co-High (I played “The Entertainer” on my flute and created a “jazz” kind of feel — I had on a vest-type thing and brought out an old gas lantern I had borrowed from my aunt.) I also remember Mary Annette Shadd’s talent (she won! congrats!) — she sang “The Rose” and clinched the deal by accompanying herself on the piano, something she ended up deciding to do somewhat spontaneously. I’ve always felt that addition of accompanying herself gave her an edge (can you tell I was first runner up?!).
For the other pageant I did, it was one of the scads of for-profit pageants that are around, the kinds featured in reality shows. I had no clue what I was doing. I got a dress with a hoop skirt (in a situation where most women aim, to an extent, to demonstrate that they are in good physical shape — I obscured all that). What I remember most clearly is how hard it is to smile CONSTANTLY. My lips were quivering. My knees were knocking. It was nerve wracking.
Despite the nerves, I am still glad I took a stab at sharing my better self with the world. It taught me a few lessons that stay with me decades later.
Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)
Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many. My pronouns are she/her/hers.
Sabrina Houser says
this is such a cute post and all of the songs you mentioned brought me back to childhood in a flash!
Paula Kiger says
Thank you, Sabrina!
It was fun to read about your pageant experience. I’m over in the 30 spot this week.
Paula Kiger says
Thanks, Tara. I’ll visit!
No parents for this gal! A ball of curls o my head was not deemed pageant material back in the day when Marcia Brady long locks were the thing! So, I’ll just live vicariously through your accounts here! Sharing our better selves is always the way to go and you do that through your words here! Thanks!
Paula Kiger says
HA! It is so interesting to see how our entire society (for the most part) is evolving and changing its views about pageants. I’m sure your hair was perfect!
*pagents not parents…..for heaven’s sake!!!
Tara Ross says
what a sweet insider take on the pagent world from a few years back. Loved this song as a kid too!
Paula Kiger (Big Green Pen) says
It definitely has timeless qualities!