Noelle Santiago looked on in panic at the trail of exquisitely lined up beautiful women for the cheer leading try-outs. She at once felt less than as she judged herself by their standards. All these college women in and around her age seemed to have it all, put together from top to bottom. To add insult to injury, their cart-wheels, stamina and acrobatic displays were excellent. They were pros from the looks of it. She on the other hand had been practising in her family's less to be desired somewhat garden, somewhat shrub in downtown New York. She knew deep down that her ensemble could do with many more months of refinement but this was her last chance at her childhood dream before she focused on her senior year. Moreover, she was sure the recent public festivals with the pinadas and chorizos had caused her to gain some extra pounds. Her mini- skirt tight at her waist confirmed it.
She knew it was a long short to be in the final line up. Why couldn't she have a faster metabolism? She had suffered like a pendulum with her body weight never quite making it to her ideal weight. To add to it, every life event seemed to revolve around food. Take her break-up with Paulo. She binged on sugar candy three weeks in a row. She thought about her little sister's school recital last year. She was so proud of her baby for remembering all the words that she ate more than her fair share in celebration and then take work, that God forsaken boss had stressed her to the point that food was her escape route. Now at 14 stones she wasn't even sure if she could climb the pyramid let alone the girls at the bottom able to hold her up.
"Noelle you are next", she heard her name called. She took her place and started her routine. Everyone in the gym was silent. She wasn't sure if it was because she was holding her own or because she seemed to be the most heaviest cheerleader. She finished her routine, thankfully but without a single applause. She waited for the dreaded announcement. Noelle was number 83. The lineup would be by numbers. "Numbers 12, 20, 11 and 10 got selected. There were only two more slots. Should she still hope against hope. Her heart sank as she heard the final lineup, "number 77, and, number 41, congratulations". She couldn't breath. Why had she put herself through this torture. She would never be chosen because let's face it she was fat.
She tried to stay strong as she slid past the celebrations by those chosen. And how did she deal with it, she went to Smarty Doughnuts to dunk her sorrows down.
Two weeks later and a day before the local league played a friendly, she got stopped by the head cheerleader. "Noelle, get ready, although you were not part of the final lineup, the
judges and I have been thinking and we have now included you. You have a strong torso to undergird the others.". See you bright and early for practise after class. Noelle was speechless. Not only has she been chosen but she had been specially selected. She was perfect as she was. She was fit for purpose. The body she'd despised all her teens into young adulthood would now be an anchor for a team she didn't have to push her way to belong.
You are quintessentially special,
= Welcome to Authentically Penned. The contents produced here have been in part plucked from pages in my life. I am all the more richer in my experience and thankful for all I have been through and to come.