One time in my life, I was the best in the country at something.
Granted, it was something incredibly nerdy and gay, but nonetheless, it was something.
When I was in 9th grade, my art teacher introduced me to Calligraphy. It was the first art form that I excelled at besides photography, probably because it’s a very technical skill with defined rules. I’m not so good at art forms that require abstract thought (just ask my college art teachers).
In 9th grade, I submitted a piece to a regional art show for 7th – 9th grade students. I placed third, and trust me when I tell you the judges were being generous. The concept behind the piece was interesting, but the actual calligraphy was horrible. Fortunately the competition in junior high calligraphy isn’t that stiff.
I progressed over the next year and in 10th grade submitted a piece to the regional show for 10th – 12th grade students. This time, I placed 1st in the region. Encouraged by this result, I went on to comIncredipete at the national competition in South Carolina. I managed to pull out a second place award at nationals. I knew who all the national players were in high school calligraphy. I hated the girl who had beaten me that year, and swore to slaughter her the following year.
In 11th grade, I submitted a humongous piece to regionals, where I placed first again. This time I also got the regional “Best of Show” award, which was given to the judges favorite piece of the competition regardless the medium used (the competition spanned all forms of visual arts). Definitely feeling my cheerios, I went back to nationals in South Carolina, where those dirty SOB’s gave that SAME girl first place again, sending me back to 2nd place for the second year in a row.
Now it was on. One of the hardest techniques in calligraphy involves using graduated color as you work through the piece (in other words, starting in one color and gradually changing it to another color). I figured that was my best hope of beating the calligraphy prodigy at nationals. I only had one more opportunity to beat her, and she and I were both seniors now…
At regionals, I took 1st place in calligraphy again, as well as Best of Show for the second time. All of this regional success was really frustrating since it wasn’t translating into the big win at nationals. Stupid prodigy chick from the East Coast region kept making me settle for 2nd and I wasn’t enjoying it.
My senior year piece was not only done in graduated colors, but it was also a poem written by one of the founders of the university where the national competition was hosted each year. I knew the judges would know that and be swayed by my blatant sucking up.
And as they announced 2nd place, I giggled with evil glee, because it was my nemesis, Beth from New York. Yes, I finally captured 1st at nationals… senior year. Best of all, I made Beth cry. 🙂
As I walked down in front of the 7,000 people at the awards ceremony, I knew that I’d ruined her day, and possibly her entire year. Sweet revenge was finally mine.
And now, without further eloquence, here is the national 1st place calligraphy piece from 1996: