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Heard it Through the Grape Vine

Updated: Jan 24

We were going into our freshman year of high school and a group of us girls decided to try out for the dance team. We practiced for weeks. At school and on the weekends. For the first time, I realized I could dance as well as some of the girls who had been dancing for years.


Two years prior, my 6th grade teacher encouraged me to try out for our talent show. I mustered up the courage to tryout for the lead role of California Raisin. By a class vote, I won over the most popular boy in our class and was completely shocked.


I played and rewound my recorded tape of Marvin Gaye's 'Heard it Through The Grape Vine' for a week straight and choreographed an epic dance. During the show, the rest of the students were my back-up singers and dancers - all raisins. I loved every minute of it and from that point on, I knew I wanted back on that stage.


Regardless, two years later, I was terrified to tryout for the actual high school dance team.


The night before tryouts came and I was an emotional mess. I remember missing my mom terribly. She had been out gallivanting around for weeks at that point and after hours of worrying, I let my anxiety slowly take over. I convinced myself I wasn't good enough and there was no way I'd make the team. I hardly slept that night and in the morning, watched the minutes pass by until tryouts had ended. My mother also hadn't returned home. I got ready for the day in silence, it was nauseating. The weeks to follow were gutwrenching, seeing all of my friends on their new journey together.


Without a doubt, I was 100% capable of making the team, but told myself otherwise. Reflecting on this, it seems ridiculous, but it's a theme that has showed up perodically throughout my life. In times of hardship, we sometimes perceive ourselves as less capable than we are in reality.


Going into our Sophomore year, I decided that I would try out for Cheerleading. I was determined and I executed my goal like a champ! Just like that, the regret that I had transformed into empowerment. I learned from a mistake and refused to make it again. This mindset has helped me achieve many goals since.


This post is dedicated to Mr. Adams, my 6th grade teacher. Your encouragement has had a butterfly effect throughout my life. You truly are the greatest, and I will forever be part California Raisin because of you.





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