About four months ago, I received a call from a big name casting company who was looking for somebody to star in a new reality show on one of the big networks. Due to privacy clauses of a contract I had to sign, that’s about as much as I can tell you.
I’ve seen the show they would be directly competing with, and to be more than 100% honest, I would never consider myself to be a candidate for such a show. And, when the casting producer first called me, my response was exactly that. “Have you seen pictures of me? I’m a little chubby. I’m not ripped and toned. Oh, and I’m covered in hair.” Her response was that they wouldn’t be shooting the show until summer and that they wanted somebody who was “real” anyway. They weren’t looking to mimic the other show that way.
I wish I could divulge more details about it because it would make this post more meaningful, but it suffices me to say that the entire thing threw me for a serious loop. At first I turned her down. Flat. I didn’t even think about it. Then she started selling me on the idea that I would be able to share my message and my true voice on the show, and that it could be a great opportunity to do some good. A couple days later I told her I’d go through the screening process and see what happened.
From there it was a flurry of activity. They asked for information, contracts, background, and a bazillion essay questions from me. They did interviews with me. “We’re moving fast on this,” the casting producer kept telling me every time she asked for something new. And for some reason every time I sent something, they replied that they loved it and needed whatever was next in the process. Eventually they wanted a video of a day in my life that they could give to the show’s executive producer.
I started panicking somewhere in the middle of it all. Why would they want me on this show? Why me? Memories of being shoved against lockers, pummeled on the playground, and picked last in dodge ball all taunted me with wild abandon. I definitely wasn’t that kind of guy. Not one that millions of people would want to watch and hopefully fall in love with.
It was an extremely pivotal moment in time for me. I was forced to look deep inside myself in ways that I never had, and honestly ask myself if I am worthy of such want by others. I had to ask if I am confident enough. Attractive enough. And desirable enough.
And, because it couldn’t possibly work for me or them if I couldn’t answer yes to all of that, I was forced to let go of the ghosts of my past and believe in the person that I am right now. I was forced to let go of what I still believed defined the person I am today, and believe instead that I am something more. I had to learn to believe that I was just as good a candidate as the best of them, and that nothing made any other man better than me for the job.
I don’t know when that mental transformation took place, but somewhere in the middle of it all, it did. My thoughts went from why would they want me to why wouldn’t they want me. It’s the first time in my life I’ve ever actually had sincere thoughts like that.
So there I was, in the middle of the process. The more I sent them, the more it seemed like they actually did want me on their show. And, the more it seemed like they did want me on their show, the more I started planning out what I would do if they did actually choose me for their show. “The first thing I’m going to do,” I told the few people who knew about it, “is hire a personal trainer and get into the best shape of my life.” I would have four months to do it, and I figured I may not be ready for the cover of GQ, but I could definitely look a lot better than I did then.
And then, after I sent them the “day in the life of” video… nothing. The moving-quick part of the process suddenly ground to a halt and for weeks I was left having no idea what was going on, whether or not they still wanted me, or anything else.
I had no reason to think they had changed their minds, especially with the occasional email from the casting producer saying they were still working on it. So, I started putting plans into place that would get me to the right place by the right time. I started turning my life upside down and inside out looking for ghosts that I needed to get rid of. I started looking for my bigger flaws and working on those. And, I lined things up to start with my personal trainer.
The excuse to get my life into as perfect order as possible was finally there for me. I didn’t want to be fat anymore. I didn’t want to be weak. I didn’t want certain habits hanging around. And the funny thing is, I started making some big changes so that I’d be ready for this show, but before long the show didn’t really matter to me at all.