It started with seeing this Jimmy Fallon video on Facebook. A lip sync-off that is perhaps my most favorite 10 minutes of television ever.
And then there was the dare to record my own from my friend Mccabe. And the decision to download Dolly's 16 Biggest Hits.
But the truth is, it really started with a moment that happened about 25 years ago.
That was the year my school took all the seventh graders on the special middle of the winter overnight trip that involved cross-country skiing + a team-building ropes course experience + talent show.
The first two, skiing and ropes course, were not so much my thing. But lip syncing to "Stop in the Name of Love" with two of my best friends?
We practiced our moves and took turns being Diana Ross and I had the middle stanza, the one that begins, "I've known of your, your secluded nights. I've even seen her, maybe one or twice."
And I was on it.
In that way you are on it when you're 12 and you've been waiting your whole life to show these kids you've known since kindergarten this side of you. And I'd been to theatre camp so I was pretty much still feeling the "oh I've got this" through the butterflies in my stomach that winter evening. (In case you missed it, this is my theatre camp "oh I've got this" self.)
So we did our lip sync routine. And I can still see the room and smell the popcorn and feel that glow of delight in my belly.
My friend's mom filmed it. About a week later this friend said some variation of this to me, "You've got to see the video. You look so serious. Like you are so mad. It's sooooo funny."
I was mortified. I'd been trying on sexy meets pissed that my boyfriend was cheating on me. I understood the lyrics. I'd seen "LA Law." I knew what that song was all about.
And I was in character. It was FUN. Not serious. I wasn't mad. I'd been full of joy!
I never watched the video. And I really never let those grade school friends see that silly side of me again.
Earlier this week, after Mccabe dared me to make my own video and I practiced "Jolene" about 10 times to try to memorize the one line I kept forgetting, and right before I made the decision to press record, this memory came up. Honestly, I hadn't thought about it in at least 20 years.
And I thought about how my 12-year-old self had really been practicing being "all in" with something she loved to do. And it made me question:
Could I press record and be that "all in" in this 37-year-old body full of curves and a double chin and flappy upper arms?
Could I let myself admit that I feel comfortable in this body and that being "in character" fits me like an old favorite Notre Dame sweatshirt?
Could I show you (who I might know or might never ever know) this silly, "all in" side of myself?
Could I really just not care if you didn't get it?
With fear in one hand and bravery in the other, I walked down the hall and changed out of my shapeless tunic + big sweater and put on something that actually showed those curves + added mascara and lipstick to my face and then moved all the clean laundry from the guest bed to our bed.
And I pressed record.
Because here's what I know: Being all in is where I want to live right now.
Next time, I think I want a microphone.
(Join me. Make your own video. I dare you.)