That one time my dreams came true (also known as the last 10 days of April): Part II

A note to the reader: I tried to write about everything that happened during April but realized early on that it would take half an hour to read just one post, which is why I’ve divided it up into 3 parts.

Part Two was that I crossed something off my bucket list (scroll to the bottom of this post to watch). People always talk about things they want to do in their lifetime, but how often do these aspirations actually get accomplished? It’s one thing to dream but a completely different thing to actually do. I realize now that the second aspect is equally as important as the first.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved making people laugh through my stories. My friends and family have always told me how gifted I am at comedy, but I’ve never done anything with it except be a really funny person (or so I’d like to think).

On April 17th, it was announced that the actors Dave Franco, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Jerrod Carmichael were coming to A&M to promote their new movie, Neighbors. There would be an advanced screening of the film, as well as an opportunity to get pictures and autographs with the stars. I, along with hundreds of other Aggies, raced to get tickets to the advanced screening, however it was in such high demand that they ran out within five minutes. In order to reach more people, Universal decided to host a talent show using students at A&M that would be judged by the stars.

Living the dream

The following day after the announcement, I had a bit of an epiphany: I could tell my funny stories and call it stand-up comedy, thus meeting these awesome actors and doing something I’ve always wanted. After consulting with my biggest critics (sisters that keep me humble), I decided to submit an audition video. I was almost certain I wouldn’t be chosen based on the sheer number of applicants they probably received (and the fact that I didn’t think my video was all that good). The thing is, I always have these grand schemes in mind, but somehow I find a way to talk myself out of it. By taking this risk, I knew that, even though the likelihood that I would actually participate was slim, at least I wouldn’t have any regrets; I wouldn’t have to ask the ever-depressing question of, “What if?”

Little did I know, my what-if question was actually answered: That Monday, I got an email informing me that I had been selected and was going to perform in front of these actors and 800 of my peers. In 2 days. Immediately, I had to sit down because I honestly thought I was going to throw up right then and there. After regaining some composure, I called my mom and asked if she was busy on Wednesday.

The day came and I couldn’t eat. I kept reassuring myself that — worst case scenario — I could always say I was sick and not go through with it. My mom drove up to College Station, and she, along with some awesome friends, sat in the audience and waited nervously while I recited my monologue over and over in my mind.* The show began, and the actors came on stage to ear-piercing squeals and applause. There were only five of us performing, and one by one they called each of us to the stage.

If you can’t tell, I had a really, really fun time

I honestly don’t know what I was thinking when I got up there, but I do know that as soon as I opened my mouth, all my worries went away. It was just me with a microphone, telling the same stories I’ve told a thousand times… just to a theater full of people. I don’t think I’ve ever done anything more exhilarating in my life. And the most amazing part was that PEOPLE ACTUALLY LAUGHED!!!! I begged my friends before the show to cackle obnoxiously at everything so there would’t be any crickets indicating failure…but their loyal support wasn’t needed to salvage me from embarrassment! Even Dave, Chris and Jerrod were laughing. My dream had come true.

My autographed poster

As I sat down, I couldn’t help but beam with happiness. “Did that really just happen?!” I thought to myself. The mix of adrenaline, pride and joy was such a rush. The show continued and, while I didn’t win, I was elated. (The guy who won free-handedly drew a map of the USA, which is way cooler than anything I could ever do.)

Talking to the guys afterward was fantastic; they were so sweet and down-to-earth and very supportive. I got to chat with them about acting and comedy, and they all really enjoyed my act! I kept my cool, but inside I was freaking out (and subsequently jumped up and down after I left).

Dave understands me.

When I met up with my mom after the meet-and-greet, I collapsed on a bench and confirmed the question I had asked myself a mere half-hour ago: yes, that did just happen. One week ago, I assumed that Wednesday, April 23rd was going to be a normal, ordinary day. And there I was, having just LEAPT outside my comfort-zone to manifest a story I will tell people for the rest of my life.

The reason I’ve written about this grand scheme is not to brag about how cool I am (because I’m not) or how fearless I am (because I’m not). I’m telling my story to urge your bravery to speak louder than your fear.

Throughout this post, I’ve mentioned the many questions that I painstakingly asked myself during this whole process. But the most important question posed was “Why not?”. What could possibly go so wrong that you shy away from living to your full potential? Yes, there is the risk of embarrassment. Yes, you could fail. But isn’t life about taking chances? Shouldn’t the opportunity to grow entice you more than it scares you? I know I’ve missed countless chances for greatness because I let the fear of the unknown outweigh the possibility of something new. But life is meant to be lived. The only way to grow is to change, and that only occurs when we turn our passions and our hopes (which can also disguise themselves as fears) into actions.

I encourage you to take a step back when you’re faced with a daunting challenge, and ask yourself “Why not?”. It is so easy to play it safe: to continually do the same things that are predictably pleasant instead of going out on a limb and plunging head-first into the unknown.  But as someone who’s come out on the other side of experiencing an incredible, crazy memory, I pray that you’ll fight for your dreams. Because it’s worth choosing bravery.

Me and the boys of Neighbors

*I would like to mention that as I am typing this up a month and a half later, my palms are sweating and my stomach is churning. Nerves are nasty little beasts.

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