By Megan Wirts
One night, late in the evening when everyone in my house was asleep, I was sitting alone in front of my laptop. As I sat there staring at the bright screen shining in my darkened living room, I was contemplating what I want to do with the rest of my life. Because that’s what you do sometimes in the middle of the night at the age of almost 40 years old, living with a disability and you still feel like you have so much more to do in this world. You also google photos of cheesecake, watch youtube videos of animals being unlikely friends (There is a dog and a duck that are best friends and it’s the best thing in the world), and you look at old photos of yourself when you were young, healthy and able to ride a rollercoaster without regretting it the very second you stepped off of one. In my case, you also send out video clips of yourself performing stand up comedy to an NBC talent search program (http://www.nbcunitips.com/stand-up-nbc/), because why not?
Fast forward a few weeks later, I have an email in my inbox that says NBC wants me to come for a call back to North Carolina in person to perform 2 minutes of comedy for NBC casting agents and talent bookers. That seems like kind of a big deal for this small town girl from a town with a population of less than 900 people, where probably 400 of them are her family. I immediately hopped on my Airbnb app and booked a cute little bungalow in Charlotte, North Carolina, a city with a population closer to 900,000, just a 'little' bigger than Grant.
Then I convinced my mom and my aunt Kim to drive me the 13 hours there and back. It wasn’t hard, they both jumped at the chance for an adventurous road trip with little old me. I also promised snacks, drinks, jokes and excellent parking wherever we went. Hello, perks of having a disability!
To say I was anxious about the trip is an understatement. I was nervous about how my dystonia would affect me on the car ride. This was the longest trip I have taken since my diagnosis in 2015 and I didn’t know if my body was going to be able to handle it. Thankfully, I handled it like a champ. A few stops to stretch, extra medication and my zebra print neck pillow, I didn’t feel too bad.
I was also nervous about my audition. Would my voice hold up? Would I get a throat spasm in the middle of it? Would I forget what I wanted to say? Will I be what they are looking for? What if they do choose me? Then what? Am I ready for that? I had so many questions and worries.
I was going to keep this all to myself and only share with a select few, but if you have been following along with me for the past couple of years you know that I am not a good secret keeper and I am an oversharer. So, a couple of days before we set off on our trip I shared the news with all of my social media friends and I am so happy that I did. The words of support and encouragement were wonderful and meant so much to me. Knowing that so many people were cheering me on and rooting for me was priceless. I also sat down and wrote myself a pep talk that went something like this:
You got this.You are good enough. You are funny! You are worthy and I believe in you. No matter what happens the people that truly love you, will always love you, including me. You deserve all the greatness in the world. You are smart, resilient and what you have to say is important. You matter. Your story matters. You have a voice. Use it! Now go out there and inspire people with your spasming body!
I’ll admit there were a few swear words in this when I wrote it privately.You can use your imagination.
I went to my audition and I did my best with the 2 minutes I was given. The crowd laughed, the judges gave me positive feedback and I felt pretty good about it all. It was now in their hands. After what felt like the longest 3 hours ever, I found out that I was not chosen to move on to the next round. While I was disappointed, I was not sad about it. I knew that I had done my best and I just wasn’t what they were looking for right then and that’s okay. I still believe every word of that pep talk I wrote for myself. I still believe that I can have a life full of greatness even while having dystonia. I still believe in myself and even though I am nearing 40 years old, (I know, shut up 40 isn’t old, but it’s older than I used to be!) it’s never too late to try something new. It’s never too late to do something that terrifies you, like audition for NBC or whatever it is that make you go out of your comfort zone.
So, I didn’t get chosen to go to LA and get a talent holding deal with NBC, but I did get to say the word “dystonia” in front of many new people and share a part of my story with them. I did get to see mountains for the first time in my life. I visited a beautiful city that I probably never would have otherwise. I got to spend three days bonding with my mom and my aunt, two of the most influential and important women in my life. I got to laugh until I cried listening to my aunt tell stories that made my mom scream and laugh hysterically, and that right there made the entire trip worth it.
We are already planning our next road trip together.
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