Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Day 541: A Dream Come True

The ability to have a dream actually come true is, sadly, often far from reality. Things like fairy tales may tell of happy endings, but those don't always happen either. What's important though is that we keep hope, and we never stop chasing after those dreams, despite the fact that they seem as far away as the moon (and often further).

But every once and a while, a dream does come true. I like to think that maybe some weird, mysterious force of the universe decided that after all the hard work I had put in that maybe my dream should come true. I probably don't deserve it. I mean, there are tons of people out there much more worthy of something like their lifelong dream becoming a reality, and I'm sure there are people with better dreams out there too, like curing cancer or world peace. But fate chose me, and I couldn't be more thankful.

It's kind of difficult trying to figure out how to word this blog post because just how do you take 18 years of your life and stick it into a few words? How do you describe something that you spent your whole life dreaming of and make it understandable how much it means to you when you actually get to a point where you can do it? It's really, truly difficult. So I'll start with a story, since I'm writing this long after even the actual event happened.

I'm currently in the process of just beginning the actual editing of the band trip video, and that means going through a lot of files on my computer to find everything I need. Yesterday it just so happened that I stumbled across a video I made almost a year ago, back on the night we found out we were accepted to Disney Performing Arts for a workshop and marching experience in one of the Walt Disney World theme parks. I don't really remember much about that night, other than I cried a lot. And there are most certainly some pictures out there that I hope hide for eternity because I look absolutely awful in them. Granted, you can imagine my emotional state when they were taken.

Anyways, in this video, I talk a bit about how proud I am of the band for achieving something like this before I launch into a story about my own life, and how spectacular this is simply for me. It's funny though, because what I said in that video is almost exactly what our cast member, Nick, said backstage after our parade.

When I was a little girl, visiting Walt Disney World with my family, I spent a good amount of time listening to the music in the parks too. The music of the Millennium Celebration at Epcot will forever be my inspiration for my own music, but there's more to it than that. When we would be at the Magic Kingdom, I would watch the parades go by, often times with marching bands, and I said to myself "I want to do that." I wanted to march down Main Street U.S.A. with a band, and as many of you well know, just about the only way to do that is through Disney Performing Arts. So when I entered my senior year, not expecting to be able to return on another trip of the size and scale that Disney would be, my dreams were pretty much dead. I had tried for years to get our director to go, and then something clicked. And we were accepted.

And on June 25, 2014, I got to march down Main Street U.S.A. at the Magic Kingdom, just like I always dreamed of. And better yet? I had the incredible honor of standing as a second drum major, leading the band past thousands of people. This is one of those times when I'm kind of just speechless. I don't know what else to say.

I do know that, somehow, I managed to keep myself from crying through the parade, a smile on my face the whole way through, although I honestly don't remember ever even hearing the band play a note. I was so off in my own little world for those ten minutes that I just don't remember anything else.

But afterwards, once we were all out of uniform and standing around waiting for Nick to take us back into the park, he gave us this speech, and God it changed my life.

I wish I had that speech on video, I really do, although it was difficult to think about doing something like that when I was crying like no other. And while I don't really remember everything he said in that speech, I do remember one portion. He told us that, as inspiring as the parade had been for us, we have to remember that we, as honorary Disney cast members, were inspiring other people too. There could have been a little kid out on the parade route that watched us march by and suddenly thought to themselves "I want to do that. I want to play the flute, or the trumpet or be the drum major," and he pointed directly at me, standing clear in front of him balling my eyes out. But he's right. As much as I know there are people in the group angry that he pointed at me instead of the other drum major, I don't care. I WAS THAT KID. That was me, once upon a time, and if anyone has a problem with that parade, or me being in it or being drum major, I challenge them to find someone that parade meant more to than it did for me. I bet they wouldn't be able to find anyone.

In the end, the whole thing is still sort of a blur, and a good part of me still doesn't believe it happened. I have this feeling that I'll return in January and just stand at the end of Main Street and cry, but at least my friends will be there with me. Magic Kingdom will never be the same for me, because for just a few minutes, I was an honorary Disney cast member, and I hope to god that my journey, with all its trials and tribulations, inspired someone just like me to go out and reach for that goal too. Some little boy or girl that watched ME march by, deciding that they wanted to look ridiculous walking in front of a band waving their arms around in the middle of the ridiculous Florida summer sun and heat. Because there's nothing I've experienced in my life that's as rewarding as that parade was for me.

So thank you to everyone involved, especially the powers that be in Disney Performing Arts, and our spectacular cast member, Nick. I wish I could have thanked you before we left. And to the members of the SHS Band that helped me achieve my dream, especially the 2013-14 drum major, Gail, for letting me share her big parade. And to our director, Mr. Alban. Thanks for letting me come along, thanks for inspiring me, thanks for everything.

Now, having heard my story, I want to encourage each and every one of you to go after your own dream, whether it seems possible or not, because as difficult as it may sound, it could still happen. All you have to do is have a little faith, a little trust and maybe a little bit of pixie dust.

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on August 1).