The following story was submitted by Emma G. from CYT Lafayette for our 2017 My CYT Story Contest.
I had this dream once. I was standing alone on a stage and had to entertain a crowded auditorium by telling them a story. The dream seemed simple enough, but it got me thinking. If I had a microphone and a chance to say whatever I wanted – what story would I tell?
Well, my choice would be simple. I would begin to share a story I had become all too familiar with and could recite at any moment – the one that I called my own. I’d begin by explaining how I’ve moved twelve times in my life. With each new house came a new set of memories, new feelings, a whole new world to be explored; but there was one thing I always valued the most. It was something that came with me through every move and every new direction in my life – my family.
Since change was a common theme within my household, I always clung to the one thing that would never leave. In doing so, I developed a personality trait that is most commonly referred to as “clinginess.” I avoided any and all places that did not involve or welcome my mother, I couldn’t survive a sleepover until the age of fourteen, and needless to say, I was definitely not begging to get involved in any sort of after-school activities. During this time, I also found myself without any friends to call my own. Being in a place like this was unexpected and unwanted, and I felt as though I had no way to change it.
This is the saddest part of my story. Though it was summarized in just a few sentences, it lingered on for what seemed like an eternity. Then things began to look up.
The year is now 2015, I’ve met friends at a church youth group and am happier than I’ve ever been. At this point in my story, I would begin to share the next chapter, starting with my 13th birthday party. It was here that a friend asked if she could bring her cousin from out of state along. This girl, who I never expected to see again after that night, ended up being a huge turning point in my life.
A few weeks prior, I had gotten involved in an after-school theater program called CYT. My friend’s cousin, who ended up moving across the country to a house right down the street from mine, heard about the program I was in and wanted to get involved as well.
Over the months we were in classes together, we formed a bond like I’d never experienced before. She was the one who pushed me to do my first show, Footloose. Something I’m embarrassed and ashamed to admit is that I almost turned down doing the show because I was afraid. It was odd feeling this way again. This form of nervousness was something I hadn’t felt since the days before CYT; it had become unfamiliar. Although I was an entirely new person compared to when I was little, pieces of the old still remained. Though I was afraid to do the show, I was also determined to never fall back into the pit I had been in – so I went through with it.
It was the greatest experience of my life. I formed relationships with people I had assumed were unaware of my existence, made memories I would treasure forever, and found a place that I could truly call my second home. So this story I was sharing began to look up. After a few “aww’s” from the fictitious audience and some teary-eyed nods of recognition, I would then continue to the next part, where all the loose ends were finally tied together.
It was my second show week; a spring show, which, unbenounced to me at the time, is notorious for its emotional goodbyes. It was on the final day of shows when all the graduating seniors stood at the center of a giant circle formed by the cast members. Tears rolled down our cheeks as “You’ll Be In My Heart” played over the speakers. I was holding hands with those around me and crying over people I had never even met.
And that’s when it all clicked. I realized that the tears streaming down my cheeks weren’t because of the people or the sad music. It wasn’t because the show was ending or because I wouldn’t see my friends until the fall. No, I was crying because I was home. All of the searching, all of the times when I turned down big opportunities, all of the times I feared that maybe I would never find anyone, had all led up to this.
It was in that moment I realized that all the years I clung to my family were only leading me to the place where I would truly find them. And here they were. They didn’t look like how I pictured them. I wasn’t related to them. They didn’t look like my mom and dad, but instead more like me, all decked out in heavy stage makeup and unitards. They weren’t found within the walls of my house, but in a place that would soon become just as familiar.
CYT was something I never saw coming. But now that I look back on the days before it, I see how every second of my life had led me to this place where I was meant to be. My life had turned out to be one big story, full of plot twists, intricately connecting details, characters that were always there but had to await their cue to enter. It was a story that I’d imagined happened to other people but would always stay a work of fiction to me.
It’s a story that unfolded right before me and is one that continues to be written to this day. It contains some chapters I wish were never there, but I know that without them, it wouldn’t be the same. It’s one that I had tried to write in the past but was never able to quite figure out. It’s one that could only be written by the ultimate Author,
who knows the beginning, middle, and end before He even picks up a pen.
This story has become one that I’m proud of, one that still astonishes me every time I read it, and one that I will always treasure.
It was during my fourth show week that I was given a microphone and an empty stage, and had the task of sharing a story with every audience member that walked through the doors. It was something that came easily to me, for this elaborate story had already been written. It was mine, and now I just had to tell it.
*NOTE: DEADLINE for the 2017 My CYT Story Competition has passed. All submissions received after this point will be held for the 2018 My CYT Story Competition.
DISCLAIMER: Though, all complete stories submitted will be forwarded to their respective area’s leadership for judging as part of the 2017 My CYT Story Competition, not all stories will be published on this blog. Likewise, having your story published on the blog does not guarantee that your story has been selected as a Regional Winner.