Then the hour of judgment came. My heart started beating at about 100kbps;faster than the speed of light such that my feet got so cold and heavy.
So to begin this story which led to my longest walk home ever, I must state frankly that I’ve never been more nervous about anything in my entire life. I mean, I’ve never been one to seek the spotlight and public speaking just wasn’t my thing. The only time I’ve actually stood in front of judges was during my Project defense in school and it wasn’t as nerve-racking as this because I knew what to expect and I had familiar faces in front of me. I guess that was what made this case different coupled with the fact that it was my very first time auditioning for anything ever.
I was in a BRT bus one sunny day returning from CMS where I had gone for my routine small chops shopping and sightseeing when this radio commercial came up calling for peeps who knew how to cook. “This is a sign from above”(I thought to myself) and immediately I got home, I got Online and applied. I didn’t really expect to get a feedback so I was amazed when two days before the actual audition I received a text message saying I had been short-listed for the screening. I was so excited and looked forward to it. In fact, I took it as a second sign from above.
On the ‘D-day’, I got up early, ironed one of my nicest tops, slipped on one of my finest jeans and polished my shoe. Then I set out for the audition venue like a hot babe on a mission to conquer. The audition venue was packed with nervous but excited people like me. Women and men of all ages in native attires, jeans and shirts and corporate wears were present. I actually felt like the youngest and oddest there (but no shaking, this babe wasn’t going to go down without a fight; or so I thought). What calmed my nerves a little was the fact that I sat between two wonderful ladies. We got talking and tried quizzing ourselves with possible questions the judges might ask because to tell you the truth, we were all totally clueless.
Then the hour of judgment came. My heart started beating at about 100kbps;faster than the speed of light such that my feet got so cold and heavy. I was ushered into a hall and was asked to stand on the stage where a black spot was marked. Camera’s were all around and the lights shone so brightly. I could barely see anything. Finally when the imaginary haze cleared, I saw the three judges in front of me with several other people behind them . That was when a wire in my head snapped (I think it had started burning right from the moment I saw people being bounced right in front of me) and I felt my bones turning to ‘jello’.
In fact, “the kyne fear wey catch me for that stage sef I no fit describe am”. The reality of the fact that it was going to be aired on live TV didn’t help matters at all. Then the judges started bombarding me with questions. With failed nerves and my voice meek as a mouse ready to be eaten by cats, I answered the questions steadily and just when I thought I had scaled through, the final question which was supposed to put me out of my misery gave me a knockout. This was something I knew so well yet I somewhat blurted out the WRONG answer due to stage fright.
To cut the long story short, I didn’t make the cut and to be sincere, I was totally bummed. Did I beat myself up for not making the cut? Most definitely I did at first, but in the end when the tension had eased off, I was glad I learnt vital lessons from that experience.
Lesson 1: Public speaking ‘no be beans’. Never take it for granted.
Lesson 2: Confidence even in adversity is an accessory. Wear it always.
Lesson 3: Playing it safe never got anyone anywhere. If you are ready to go somewhere, be ready to take risks.
After that first Audition, I went for other auditions which weren’t related to the first audition in order to build my public speaking skills. The more I stepped out of my cocoon, the bolder and better I got at public speaking. Yes, I think I’m a good cook but that wasn’t all that was required. When I left the venue, I left inspired and motivated. That experience toughened and taught me so much about confidence, stepping out of my comfort zone and reality and I’m glad I’ve come a long way from my first epic experience .
Adaobi Okonkwo popularly known as Dobby is a Biochemist by profession, a culinary enthusiast, pastry chef and food blogger with a flair for any form of creative art. She blogs at dobbyssignature.blogspot.com
30 Days 30 Voices series is an opportunity for young Nigerians to share their stories and experiences with other young Nigerians, within our borders and beyond, to inspire and motivate them.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.