A couple weeks ago, I sent in an application to be part of JackRabbit‘s Run for the Rabbit Campaign. I got a promotional email about it in January that described the Campaign:
JackRabbit is kicking off the “Run for the Rabbit” campaign on April 22nd. This is not just a marketing campaign, it’s also a major fundraiser! We will choose six people of different backgrounds and abilities to star in the campaign while training to run the Hamptons Marathon in September. Each participant will also select a cause that they believe in deeply and raise money for a charity of their choice throughout their training. The competition is not for who can run the fastest, but for who can raise the most money.
As soon as I read about it, I knew I wanted to apply. I’ve been trying to think of ways to do some fundraising for the National Eating Disorders Association, and this would be a perfect way to do it. Of course, applying for things like this always makes me nervous. I don’t handle things like excitement all that well because I’m always afraid that the more excited I get about something, the worse it will be when it doesn’t pan out (and I never expect that it will pan out, so I always end up telling myself that nothing is worth getting excited for–it’s kind of a cyclical thing, you see). My slightly kooky feelings about excitement aside, though, I knew I would really regret it if I didn’t apply, and it is follow through February, the point of which is to push myself to do things that I might normally give up on. I ended up sending in an application. And of course since it’s me, I figured that would be the last I heard about that.
So as you can probably imagine, I was stunned when, last week, I got an email inviting me to come in for a screen test. At that point, I tried to contain my excitement as much as possible, while telling myself that this was a) an error; b) a practical joke; OR c) standard procedure for every applicant (yes, I told myself that there were probably only like 50 applicants). It’s fun being in my head, right? As it turns out, there were about 325 applicants (for 6 positions), and I guess about 50 people were contacted to participate in the casting call. The lesson here: I should probably give myself a little bit of credit. I have to say, though, I am definitely in much better shape when it comes to things like that now than I ever have been before.
My screen test was today at 5 pm, which gave me the entire day to fret and contemplate just how much I felt like my nerves were going to make me throw up. I was a wreck, and probably not all that pleasant to be around. To make matters worse, I thought we were going to be late and almost started crying when we were waiting to catch the train that would take us to the store in Union Square. We got there at about 4:58, and then we waited and waited. It turns out they were running a bit behind. I ended up going in for my screen test around 6:15. In a way I didn’t mind sitting and waiting because it gave me time to calm down a little bit. Things probably wouldn’t have gone all that well if I’d gone directly in to the test after being so worked up on the train. But at the same time, having all that time to kill was difficult–I spent most of the time psyching myself out and then trying to stop myself from psyching myself out. At one point I thought maybe I should just leave. I saw some of the other contestants as I was waiting for my test, and couldn’t stop thinking about all the ways in which they were probably more appealing than I was. All my insecurities started bubbling to the surface: I don’t look like a runner; I don’t run enough; I make weird expressions without knowing it; I look weird on camera; my voice sounds like a kid’s voice; I don’t say the right thing; etc. I mean, you name it, and I will beat myself up about it, so I had no shortage of ammo this afternoon. I also couldn’t stop thinking about what the test entailed–would I have to read lines? Dance around? Tell a story about myself on the spot?
In the end, things turned out fine. I think. The screen test wasn’t unlike an interview, and I talked a lot about how running helped me get through my ED: how it helps me to beat stress, gives me time to sort out my thoughts, and puts me in touch with my body in a way that makes it easier for me to treat myself well and actually EAT. I also talked about why I chose NEDA as my organization, how treatment for EDs is difficult to come by and expensive, how scary it can be to end up a prisoner in your body, and how being able to publicly train for a marathon while also being able to say that I am in recovery from an ED could potentially be really inspiring to others who are still suffering and may not be able to see a way out.
Obviously, I want to be chosen to be part of the Campaign, and have a chance to do this fundraising. I’ll be really disappointed if I don’t get chosen, and I’m sure I won’t be able to resist beating up on myself a little bit. But regardless of the outcome, I can feel good about the fact that I had a chance to go in for a screen test at all, and I can also know that the Campaign is not the only change I’ll have to raise money for NEDA. Maybe, if I continue working on following through, I’ll see that there are opportunities all over the place and that it’s a question of finding them.
I’ll keep you posted.