I’m doing something big next week… big for me right now anyway, and I feel like I’m about 15 years old again.

I feel like I did when I thought I was dating that guy from speech camp. The guy who was so smooth and so cute. My classmates were unsurprised by me liking a tall, crazy-skinny pale guy from out of town… it kind of became my M.O. after a while. He was a real actor. He was convincing and vibrant and I was disgustingly smitten with him.

I asked him to go to my homecoming dance with me. I don’t remember what year it was, but I know that it was on October 8th. I remember counting down the days every morning in band. I remember being so nervous and so hopeful and I remember being utterly appalled that it actually happened. He actually came to my dance, and he actually kissed me. In front of everybody who thought I was a crazy dork.

I’m sure it looked awful. I mean, most 15 and 16 year olds look awful when they kiss each other, and there is no way I landed in that small percentage of divinely expert teenage kissers. Imagine a cocky giraffe kissing an over-enthusiastic penguin and you’re probably pretty close to the actual image.

It doesn’t matter, though, because it felt like I had just hit the mythical jackpot. Like I had just kicked the relationship leprechaun off the top of his marshmallow-filled cast-iron pot and started dancing a jig in my dark-denim Faded Glories. Like I had just gotten cast in the newest Brad Pitt movie, and was somehow magically the leading vampire. It felt like a Goo Goo Dolls song had just come true in my school’s multi-purpose room, and I both vividly remember it and feel a bit like I blacked out.

All of these past feelings are the best way for me to describe my current feelings about auditioning for a play next week. It’s for a series of one-acts, and it’s essentially a class project directed by students in their senior year of college… and I am pretty much scared crapless.

Theatre was my major in college. Theatre helped me feel like I belonged somewhere in High School. I use Theatre in my writing career… but I haven’t actually acted in a theater since 2008.

I’m sure the experience is different for everyone, but for me, being in a play feels a lot like homecoming on October 8th. You’re so nervous and excited, you count down the days. You prepare and prepare and prepare, and then, suddenly, it’s here. The seconds before it happens are blisteringly exciting: it could be incredible and it could go so horribly wrong…

In front of everyone.

And then… and then when it does go well… it just happens, and it feels like it’s never going to stop, and like you could go on doing this forever and ever amen.

And then when it’s over, you can barely remember it. You remember the feelings, but those details (that you desperately search your brain for when you’re writing about it) are just on the edges of your mind… and just barely visible. Just enough to remind you that they’re there, and that the only way to access them is to do it all over again.

Currently, I’m counting down to homecoming. Trying to distract myself with the everyday details that I can somehow always remember. Make lunches in the morning, check your email, meet Jamie by her locker after 8th period.

Will it go well? Will I try to dance to Tootsie Roll and look like a hopeless fool? I don’t know… but what I do know is that those details will be forever locked on the outside of my mind and never-again experienced by me if I don’t give it another shot. So, I’m doing it.

We’ll see how it goes.

Lauren Bonk

Lauren Bonk is a freelance copywriter out of Omaha who's been wrangling family life and words since 2010. She always shows up with a healthy dose of optimism, a mug of coffee in her hand, and a solid high five. (But not too solid, because coffee is hot and that would be painful.)