I had waited for months, trying not to think of the World of Wearable Art, and wether I would pass the final stage of judging and move on to be a finalist. One morning, however, I awoke to find that overnight a knot had formed in my stomach. Every day from then on, the knot tightened just a little bit tighter.
I have no idea when the knot finally clenched, leaving me to feel constant nausea. I couldn’t tell you when the slight nervous twinge took its home in my day to day thoughts, but what was becoming clear was that the closer July 16th got, the more on edge I felt inside. July 16th was the day! The day the judges would send out the verdict on which contestants would move on to be a finalist in the World of Wearable Art. That day might change the course of my life, and the pressure was closing in.
A week before July 16th, my sleep started tapering off. I found myself restless at night, my mind full of wonder, too busy to be bothered with sleep. I had trouble talking about what was going on inside me with friends or family, because talking about it forced me to put into words the potential uncertainty. Three days before July 16th, I actually ducked out of a family event, knowing people would ask about the competition, and finding the knot in my stomach unbearable to deal with even without saying the words that plagued my sleepless nights out loud.
Somehow, the day finally came. Because of the time difference in New Zealand, I knew the judging results wouldn’t come in until about 2am. I found that during the majority of that day the world moved in slow motion. Finally 9pm rolled around and I KNEW, this would not be an easy night. Thankfully I had planned for such an occasion, taking an all natural sleep aid called Melatonin so that I could fall asleep for a few hours instead of sitting up refreshing my email in a OCD manor.
At 2:20am I awoke on my own, got my computer out and bravely logged into my email. My inbox page was open, there was an email from WOW, I clicked it, closing my eyes and holding my breath. I was still holding my breath as I opened one eye and saw the word “congratulations.” Not believing it I scanned for key words in the email to make sure it was really true. FINALLY I let out my breath, because after re-reading it 4 times there was no mistaking it, I was officially a finalist! Better yet, I was going to New Zealand to the Awards Ceremony to sit among the best of the best in the WORLD and be recognized.
It was all a happy blur but initially I must have let out some high pitched sound, and then I was dancing on my bed in total celebration. The sensation of being rewarded after such anticipation was comparable to a 5 year old waiting for Christmas morning, and when it came opening the bright paper to find EVERYTHING they wanted. This was my Christmas morning, and I was loving every minute.
After the dancing stopped, I looked around wildly repeating “I did it? I did it! I DID IT!” The empty apartment did not respond to this insanity, but I didn’t care. I was on top of the world. I had spent every penny I had on that costume, gone through pain, done it all on top of school. It had been a HUGE gamble really, but I had gladly taken it, only seeing one outcome. And that outcome had just become the real thing. Suddenly, I took out my phone. Only hesitating a minute, I called first my dad, then my mom, and finally my brother. It was the middle of the night, and everyone probably thought there was some emergency when they answered, but I was wide awake and I needed to share it with the world.
That night, I didn’t sleep at all. I was too excited, too relieved, and not the least bit abel to sit down or calm my mind. There were flights the needed to be booked, a trip that needed planning, but in that current time, all I concerned myself with was turning up my music and dancing, laughing out loud, and feeling great, truly amazing for the first time in months.
Reflecting on the situation, I have come to the realization that I couldn’t fall asleep because I couldn’t close my eyes and let such a beautiful moment disappear into the past. There are a few moments in life that are SO good, SO rare, that you are afraid to close your eyes because when you open them again, it might all be over. That night, I was going to party like a 5 year old and live that moment until I literally collapsed from exhaustion.