Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Becoming a Buffy Fan

Last summer, a close friend took it upon herself to introduce me to some great TV shows, among them Arrested Development and How I Met Your Mother. The one that stuck with me, though, was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. 

I started watching Buffy about 9 years after it ended (thanks, Netflix), and I finished watching the show in less than 3 months. All it took for me to get hooked was the pilot, Welcome to the Hellmouth. 

While the ever-adorable Willow Rosenberg is far and away my favorite character, I think I like this show so much because I see a lot of myself in the title character, Buffy Summers. 

No, I'm not skinny or pretty or blonde or, well, a vampire slayer, but I am a little lonely, a little closed-off. Like Buffy, I have a small, but close, circle of friends. Also like Buffy, I sometimes run when things get tough. I'm a little snarky, I'm reasonably smart, but I don't try at school (Buffy did get a higher math+verbal SAT score than I did, but I like to think I would've beaten her in writing if she'd taken that portion). I was drawn to this show because I'm just like Buffy. 

Except I'm not. There are little nuances that separate us. She had a good relationship with her mother. She's been in love. She's a wholly and completely good person, even if she does make mistakes sometimes. 

I like that we have those differences, though, because it gives me someone to look up to. No, Buffy's not a real person, but she's real enough for me. 

She may not be Captain America, but that will never stop Buffy Summers from being my hero. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Very Potter Senior Year

I stayed up until 4AM to finish AVPSY tonight, and it was well worth it. I don't really have any eloquent words to describe my reaction to the musical (beautiful is really all that comes to mind), but I can say one thing:

I get it. I get it so very deep in my bones that it terrifies me.

AVPSY represents more than just an end the StarKid's Harry Potter musicals. It's the end of an era. It's the end of anything new for us kids in the Harry Potter generation. It's the end of the thing we grew up with, the books we love and cherish, the movies we gathered so eagerly to watch at midnight, the musicals we stayed up late to finish. It's the end of something so magical that it entranced a generation of children.

Yes, we will all remember Harry Potter. I know I will. Harry is the boy who taught me what love is. He taught me the values of loyalty and friendship. Most of the things I have, most of my better qualities, are there because I picked up a Harry Potter book when I was six, and it changed my life forever. For the rest of my life, Harry will be an ever-present figure. He's the boy who lived, after all, and he will live on in our hearts.

But, you know, I think AVPSY is even more than that. It's not just an end for us Harry Potter kids. It's a new beginning.

I am a senior in high school, and just like Harry, the big scary monster that is the future looms over me, watching my every move. I know what I want to do, what I want to be, but the boogie man is still there. The thought of losing my home and my family is terrifying.

But it's okay to be scared. There's more to life than high school, and everything must come to an end, even if it means big changes, scary changes.

AVPSY is all about accepting that fear and not letting it control you. It's about being brave and strong, conquering that big scary monster.

So I'll join Harry. I'll make the most of my own senior year. I'll graduate. I'll move on to new things, maybe bigger, maybe better. Who knows?

After all, "things come and go. Nothing lasts forever, kid. Nothing's built to."

Except Harry. He's someone I can always come home to. The boy who lived will always be in my soul.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

I Love You, McKayla Maroney (Olympic Women's Gymnastics - Vault Finals)

I've been a fan of gymnastics for years, ever since I watched Carly Patterson get the all-around gold in Athens. While I've never actually taken part in the sport, I've been following it nearly religiously for 8 years. Other than Rebecca Bross, I've never come across a gymnast I've loved as much as I love McKayla Maroney. This post just about sums up my feelings for her. She is above and beyond one of the coolest people in the sport.

So of course I was more than willing to wake up early to watch McKayla vault live. Her first vault- her amanar- was beautiful. The highest score of the day. But her second vault marks the only time I've ever seen her miss a vault in competition. After some very upsetting and confusing issues with the scoreboard, McKayla ended up in second place, looking just as upset as I felt. But you know what? She is one of the most gracious people I've ever seen in defeat. She hugged the girl who beat her, smiled as she accepted her silver medal, posed for pictures, and even tweeted that, while she was disappointed in how the day went, she's happy with her silver medal.

I'm damn proud of her. She can miss her vaults 100 more times and I'll still be proud to call her a member of team USA. She is above and beyond the best vaulter in the world. I know it. She knows it. The rest of the Fierce Five knows it. And I'm sure she'll prove it again soon. She will get that vault named for her. She will always be one of the most inspirational people I've ever known. In fact, I'd support her going to Rio in 2016 to anchor the US team with her amazing vaults once again.

McKayla Maroney, be proud of yourself. You deserve it. You've inspired millions of children and teens across the country. Maybe not all of them will go into gymnastics, but they'll be gracious winners, gracious losers. They'll know that dreams do come true. They'll believe in themselves, just like you believe in yourself. And for that, thank you.

Follow her on twitter. 

PS: I will add pictures (not only is McKayla made of awesome, she's also incredibly photogenic) when I can get on a non-mobile website.

Friday, June 22, 2012

So I almost drowned...

I was floating down the river lazily with a few friends, hoping to get some color in my skin. It was our second trip down the river, and we were bantering back and forth with each other, just enjoying the good company. The most eventful thing that had happened so far was a (rather large) bug landing on Lilly's tube. That was memorable.

"Kyle! Getitoff getitoff getitoff!"

"Relax Lilly, 's just a bug."

"Oh my god Kyle! She didn't mean to throw it at me!"

"I'm sorry, Mere! Where is it?"

"I dunno, it's in my tube!"

"Is it gone?"

"I can't find it!"

"Oh god, it's on my hand!"

"Kyle, kill it!"


Kyle killed it, and we went back to just floating,conversing about school (dear god, did the teachers really expect us to read another boring Dickens book?), summer plans (camp for Lilly and me, work for Kyle), upcoming movies (Spider-Man), and whatever else came to mind ("Tell us more about that StarKid thing, Meredith!).

Occasionally, we'd drift to the banks of the river, get caught up in the moss and trees and leaves. Lilly screamed every time ("This is so gross! I don't want it to touch me!") while Kyle and I just laughed at her. We let Kyle paddle us out. He was, after all, the big strong boy of the group.

We approached the chute for the second time, and Lilly gripped tight to the rope on my tube. She was afraid of flipping out. I was, too, but I put Lilly's fear before my own and reassured her. She and Kyle went down before me, smoothly and quickly.

I was anything but smooth and quick for me. My tube went down and stayed there, stuck in the rapids unmoving. I waited a moment, hoping it'd move. The group of children standing on the rocks above me pointed and laughed, while some jumped down the chute and under me, over me, around me. Not one of them helped. Minutes that felt like hours passed, and tears began welling in my eyes. I didn't want to flip my tube, but I couldn't move and I didn't know what else to do. No one was helping me. No one was doing anything. Without warning, the tube flipped and I was in the water, under the water. I took a breath and gagged as water filled my lungs. I opened my eyes, felt a burn of water and god only knows what else. I could feel myself moving with the strong current and, oh god, my feet couldn't touch the bottom. I kicked and struggled to no avail. I suddenly felt fatigued and took another breath, only to feel more water enter my lungs. I tried to cough it out, but my mouth filled again. By some miracle, I got my head above water. I looked around wildly for my tube only to see it floating quickly in a different direction. I choked back a sob, and then I was dragged under again at the second chute, all the way this time. My feet touched the bottom, but my head was no where near the top. I bent my knees in an effort to kick myself up, but I was dragged further down. My knees and shins scraped along the rocky bottom.

This is it. I'm going to die this time, all alone and under the water because no one here is helping me and I don't know how to get back up. Oh, God. 

Then I managed to unbend my legs. I could feel the rocks under my feet, so I pushed up with all my remaining strength. My head was above the water again. I could breathe. There was air coming into my lungs and water coming out. I coughed and stood up next to the third chute, my legs shaky, unsure. I looked around, turning my head slowly and hoping to see Lilly and Kyle.

Oh god, they left me. I don't see them. They're gone and I'm alone. 

Then, "Meredith!"

I swung around quickly to see Kyle and the bottom of the chute. I breathed a sigh of relief, tears filling my eyes. He pointed, and I turned to see Lilly in the water (Lilly hates the water), pulling her tube along toward me. She pushed it to me, mouthed, "You okay?" I nodded, and she gave me a pointed look. I wanted to be okay. She turned, scaled along the banks of the river (Lilly hates it there, too. All the grass and bugs and moss...) toward my chute. She turned to look at me, pointed to Kyle. I looked at him, he waved me over. I nodded, but didn't move. To get to Kyle, I had to go down another chute. No, not again. Not again. I was paralyzed. I shook my head at him, then turned back to Lilly. She had retrieved the tube and was making her way back to me.

"Here's your tube, Meredith. I'll take mine, and we can go."

I nodded.

"Are you okay?"

I nodded.


She got back in her tube and slid down the chute. I pushed mine down, then then slid down it like a slide, praying that I didn't go back under. We reached Kyle together, and he just stared at me, eyes wide in shock and concern.

"You're okay?"

Tearfully, "Yeah." I bit my lip to keep down a sob as he turned back around.

Lilly and Kyle slid out of their tubes, and we made our way back to the stairs that led to the path to the parking lot. Kyle grabbed my tube, then Lilly's, then helped us up the slippery steps. He handed us our tubes back, and we made our way down the path. I walked behind them, stopping to put my sandals on and to keep myself from crying. 

I'm alive. I'm okay. My legs are scraped up, but I didn't drown. I'm okay.

Lilly stopped a ways up to wait for me, and I jogged a little to catch up with them. Kyle still looked a little concerned, and Lilly looked shaken up. I could only imagine how I looked. It felt like I'd been dragged through hell and back.

"Did you hit your head?" he asked.

I shook my head, then looked down at my legs. My knees were a bloody mess, and my shins were already turning purple with dozens of bruises.

"Do you hurt at all?"

I shook my head again. Had I said yes, I would've cried. I didn't want to cry.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Just a little creative writing...


She gets her first "boyfriend" at four, but he's not really a boyfriend. He's just a friend, a sweet kid with the biggest crush on her. They hold hands at recess during pre-k, and he sometimes brings her presents. He's the only one who notices that she's always sad, and she thinks that maybe she loves him for that.

They're in the same class the next year in kindergarten, so she continues to be his girlfriend. He kisses her once, just after her sixth birthday. She was upset about something or another,crying against him under the jungle gym at recess, so he reached over and pecked her on the lips. She thinks she loves him for that, too.

When kindergarten is over, she moves to another town, and they are both devastated. She can't keep the sobs from bubbling up on the last day of school, and neither can her. He hugs her gently when she gets picked up from school, and she prays to God that he'll always be there for her. She never sees him again.

In her new town, she becomes very close with a neighbor girl, Heather. They do everything together, and they are seldom seen apart in the neighborhood. They spend the summer swimming and going to Heather's little brother's baseball games. Heather notices that she's sad, and she knows she loves her for that.

First grade comes around, and they are in the same class. They stick together through it all. Lunchtime is always spent at the very end of their class's table, gossiping and giggling about the cute new boy or whatever weird thing their teacher has done. Heather falls of the jungle gym and recess and breaks her arm. She is the one who takes her to the teacher, and she goes to the hospital and holds Heather's hand. Field days come around, and Heather is her partner in the three-legged race. They beat all the other kids. The next day, Heather tells her that she is moving at the beginning of the summer. She cries on Heather's shoulder, then pulls herself together. She's handled this before, after all. Next comes the talent show. Heather sings the Star-Spangled Banner and smiles at her the whole time. The spend their few remaining days together at Heather's house, just sitting on the porch and talking. Heather leaves early one morning without saying good-bye. She never sees her again.

Second grade brings a new best friend in Anna. She loves Anna, but Anna doesn't love her. Anna doesn't notice that she's sad, but that's okay. She misses Heather so much that she needs Anna. They aren't in the same class, but they live across the street from each other. Afternoons are spent at Anna's, playing in her pool or pretending to be Sailor Moon characters. Anna is always Sailors Moon and Jupiter because they're the coolest. Anna's sister takes most of the other characters, leaving her with only Sailor Mercury. That's okay, though. Sailor Mercury is the smartest. Summer comes around, and Anna is preparing to go visit her father in New York. They play in the pool one last time, and Anna's sister takes a picture of them laughing and hugging. She gives Anna a copy, and her heart is broken when Anna says, "I won't show this to my dad. He might think we're best friends." She still misses Anna all summer.

Third grade comes, and Anna suddenly has other friends that she likes better. She still can't help but love Anna. She meets Haley when she asks to borrow a book and Haley says no. They become best friends quickly. They're both avid readers, and they both love animals. They pretend to be wolves every day at recess, and Haley lets her be the pack leader. They win the science fair together with a project about wolves, too. They share chocolate pudding and chocolate-chip cookies every day at snack time, and they read to each other through quiet time. She thinks she loves Haley now, too.

Fourth grade hits, and she and Haley are separated by the long hallway occupied by the fourth grade teachers. They still stay best friends. Haley comes over every other weekend, and they play at the park or at her house. Then she meets Lilly. Lilly is impossibly cool, ridiculously smart, and difficult to befriend. Lilly is closed off and sad, just like she is. She starts spending time with Lilly, and soon, they are very close. She's already lost a few close friends, and Lilly knows that. Lilly doesn't mind when she pours her heart and soul into their friendship. In fact, Lilly does the same. She loves her for that.

Fifth grade and sixth grade and seventh come and go without much incident. Lilly and Haley meet, and they all become close friends - the golden trio. She doesn't lose anyone she loves for three years, and that surprises her. She finds she quite likes having people she can count on.

Then eighth grade comes, and her world is shaken terribly. She has all her classes with either Lilly or Haley, and one with both of them. They make up nick names for each other, and the pass notes that talk about nothing all through the day. One day, though, she accidentally intercepts a note from Haley meant for someone else. She cries for hours with Lilly after they read the contents.

"Can you believe how stupid she and Lilly are? I can't believe they're in gifted classes."

"Her mom hits her? Did you know that? She told me. I can't believe she thought I'd keep that secret."

"She has a crush on Tyler. We should tell him. He'd laugh."

"Lilly is ridiculous. She thinks she's so cool, but everyone hates her."

"I wonder how easy it'll be to make them cry. She cries all the time, but Lilly doesn't. It'd be funny if we could get her to."

"I wonder if they'll realize they have no friends. They just have each other. The two losers are stuck together. Ha."

She never says anything to Haley about it, and Haley never says anything to her or Lilly. But they know she knows. They just know. Haley still tries to play best friend, passing her notes in class with their nicknames. Laughing at the stupid student teacher in math class, gossiping about whoever just broke up and who just go together, whatever it is, it's all one-sided. She stops putting up with Haley, and she's surprised that Haley keeps trying so hard. She clings to Lilly like her last lifeline, and Lilly lets her. Lilly knows she's the stronger one in the friendship, knows how fragile she can be. The notes the pass now center around serious things - their friendship, Haley.

"I know she hurt us, Lilly, but I miss Haley."

"I feel like it's wrong to want her back."

"I hate her a lot of the time."

"I still love her some of the time."

They stop talking to Haley soon after that, and by the academic contests at the end of the year, it's just her and Lilly against the world. The contests are on the weekends, so she and Lilly have sleepovers to prepare. She giggles when she realizes that Lilly talks in her sleep. They go to the first contest, and she and Lilly both win their events. It's the same at the second contest, and the third. At the fourth contest, she wins again, but Lilly doesn't place. Lilly cries. She feels guilty. At the fifth and final contest, Lilly is nervous and panicky, doesn't want to fail again. So she prays, she prays that Lilly place in her event, even if it means that she has to lose. Her prayers are answered. She doesn't place, but Lilly wins. She's not the least bit upset. She's all smiles, hugging Lilly and going on and on about how proud she is, how happy she is. Lilly gives her a watery smile. She doesn't think she can ever stop loving Lilly.

High school comes. She finds journalism. Lilly finds boys. She hates that she is forced to sit idly by while Lilly is hurt time after time by boy after boy. She is happy for the first time in awhile, though. Journalist is a good look for her. She meets Paige and Nikki, newspaper girls older than her by two years and one year, respectively. She learns everything she knows about newspaper from leaning over Nikki's shoulder, and she soon sits high (third) on the chain of command of the staff. She comes to love Nikki, too. Paige is a completely different story. They clash. Badly. She thinks Paige hates her. The paper gets better and better with each issue, though, and Paige takes her out to dinner to celebrate. Paige, she realizes, adores her. They're so alike. They love all the same thing, have similar personalities. Paige sees so much potential in her, and she pushes her harder than anyone else. She loves Paige for that.

It's in her closeness with Nikki and Paige that she realizes she's losing Lilly. Lilly becomes distant, stops telling her everything. Of course, she goes to Paige in her sadness, and Paige comforts her, encourages her to talk to Lilly. She does, and they have it out.

"You left me for those newspaper girls!"

"Yeah? Well you left me for one bad boyfriend after another."

"How can you claim to be my best friend if you're never there for me? I'm always there for you."

"You know what Lilly? I can't be there for you if you refuse to talk to me. You're there for me because I let you in."

They crumble. They needed to have it out. They cry together, and renew their friendship. They go back to weekly sleepovers and movie nights. She puts up with Lilly's weird rap music, and Lilly puts up with her ridiculous affinity for showtunes. They eat twizzlers and watch horror movies and go bowling. Lilly does her hair and tells her all about each and every boy. She still doesn't think she can ever stop loving Lilly.

Newspaper becomes her life. Well, newspaper and Lilly. She stays after school until 8PM on deadline days, but she loves it. She thrives on the work, on writing the stories and designing the pages and interviewing the random strangers. She thrives with Paige and Nikki at her side, eating pizza and making up stupid headlines when they're tired, playing showtunes from Pandora as loud as they can because no one else is in the school. They talk about Glee and StarKid while they work. They giggle and gossip about the other staff members.

Then Paige graduates, and it's down to two. She finds that she clashes with Nikki without Paige as a buffer. They fight, and she always, always lets Nikki win. She loves Nikki too much to do otherwise. Paige listens to her after every fight, comforts her, tells her to stand up for herself. She never does. Instead, she throws herself into the paper, determined to make it the best it could possibly be. She goes out with Paige at least once a month. They chat about nothing and everything, and that's her saving grace. She loves Paige almost as much as she loves Lilly.

Nikki graduates, and she's suddenly a senior in high school. She's the editor of the paper now, and it's a very defining thing to her. She sees herself as the newspaper editor: that girl who loves StarKid and showtunes, Lilly's best friend. The last part is because everyone loves Lilly, but no one really knows who she is until she interviews them. She throws all her passion into the paper, giving it her all, not caring about anything or anyone (except Lilly and Paige). Paige visits her one day and sees the paper. She squeals and hugs her, goes on and on about how "I knew you could do it. You're great, you're so talented. You're just like me. You're my mini-me, my little sister." Paige knows she needs that, and she is eternally grateful.

Senior year comes to an end, and it is met with a few tears, but not many. The only things left at the school that she cares about are the newspaper and Lilly. She's leaving the paper behind, and she's not sure the new editor can do it, but she's taking Lilly with her. That makes it okay. Paige is at her graduation, smiling proudly the whole time. She plans to attend the same university as Paige in the fall, taking on the big bad world on journalism together. When Lilly and Paige hug her at the end, full of smiles and exclamations of pride and joy, she realizes that the sadness she felt as a child is gone. She's found her home.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Happy Birthday Team StarKid!

Now I know I wrote about Team StarKid yesterday, but today is the third anniversary of them opening their YouTube channel, StarKidPotter, so I feel like this post is warranted, considering how much they've affected my life.

I feel like this song, Holiday Club by Jim and the Povolos, perfectly sums up how far they've come.

Because, guys, look how much they've done! They've toured the country twice to sold out shows. They have five ridiculously successful musicals. Darren Criss is on Glee. Joey Richter is on Jessie. Lauren Lopez is in a movie. Meredith Stepien does successful stand-up. Some of them started a band, Jim and the Povolos. In the three years StarKid has been a viral success, the group has helped so many people.

I've only been a StarKid for about a year and a half, but in all that time, they've managed to change my life dramatically. I'm happier. I sing more. I laugh more. StarKid taught me that being me is okay, and I'm glad for that.

So thank you for that, StarKid. Thank you Darren for being the biggest goofball in public. I love you for it. Thank you Lauren for being so damn adorable. Thank you Brian Holden for being a dork. Thank you Joe Walker for getting in my head every time I watch a Harry Potter movie. Thank you Dylan Saunders for, well, being you. Thank you Jaime Lyn Beatty for being so fun-loving. Thank you Meredith for putting a smile on my face every single day. And thank you to every other StarKid out there because you are all wonderful and amazing people.

Happy birthday, Team StarKid. I love you all. Please, keep doing what you're doing. Keep changing lives.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Why Team StarKid is Important (to Me)

If anyone is reading this, they're probably asking, "What is Team StarKid?" There's really no clear answer to that question. They're a theatre troupe founded at the University of Michigan by Darren Criss (of Glee), Brian Holden, and brothers Matt and Nick Lang. But they're more than just a theatre troupe. For one, YouTube videos of their shows have garnered over 125 million views. It's also more than that, though. This rag-tag group of college graduates is an inspiration to young people. Teens and young adults around the world have fallen in love with the StarKids because they are unabashed and unashamed in who they are.

The group got a kick-start when their Harry Potter parody, A Very Potter Musical, went viral. The musical stars Darren Criss as Harry, Joey Richter as Ron, Bonnie Guesen (who is no longer with Team StarKid) as Hermione, Lauren Lopez as Draco Malfoy, Joe Walker as Lord Voldemort, Brian Rosenthal as Professor Quirrell, Joe Moses as Snape and Dylan Saunders as Albus Dumbledore. It's hilarious, cute, and it's full of fun and catchy music, the best of which is a duet between Ron and Draco called "Granger Danger," about their love for Hermione. Another gem is the ensemble piece "Going Back to Hogwarts," which starts out the musical. In viewing even just the first part of the musical, one can tell that the entire cast has a certain star quality.

AVPM led to StarKid's first original musical, Me and My Dick. Yes, that's actually the title. Darren isn't in this one, but he wrote some of the music, most notably, "Even Though." MAMD stars Joey, Jaime Lyn Beatty, Joe, Devin Lytle, Brian Holden and Nick Strauss in a tale that most every teen can relate to - a battle between your heart and your...well.... nether regions. It captures the hilarity that was AVPM, and it's charming in its own right.

MAMD led to a sequel to AVPM - A Very Potter Sequel. Darren, Bonnie, Joey, Lauren and Dylan reprised their roles, and Joe went on to play Dolores Umbridge. While not usually the case for sequels, AVPS topped AVPM in every way. The music was better, the acting improved tenfold, and it was much better written. "The Coolest Girl" and "To Have a Home" are quite possibly the best songs Darren and fellow lyricist AJ Holmes had written up to that point.

In what is StarKid's best work yet, the original musical Starship topped everything StarKid ever did. By the time this musical premiered, Darren had gained a starring role in Glee, and, according to Joe, he wrote the music for it from his trailer. Starship is The Little Mermaid of outer space and stars Joey as Bug, an alien from the planet Bug World who just wants to be a human. Other headlining cast members include Dylan as the dumbly cute farmer Tootsie Noodles and the villain Pincer, Meredith Stepien as the remarkably human android Mega-Girl, Brant Cox as Bug's best bud Roach, Denise Donovan as Starship ranger February (like the month, but a person), Brian Holden as evil-doer Junior, Lauren as badass ranger Taz, and Joe as the nearly-burnt-out leader of the Starship rangers, Commander Up. This musical is beautifully written and executed professionally. The music is the best Darren has ever written. "Status Quo" is a rare masterpiece that is not only a genuinely good song, but one that everyone can relate to. After all, "who cares about normal?"

Since Starship, StarKid has released another parody musical, Holy Musical B@man, and they've toured the US twice, each time to sold-out venues across the country. It's not often that a group can tour twice in 6 months and still sell out every venue, but StarKid can. Their first tour, the SPACE Tour, was in November of 2011. Apocalyptour was in May and June of 2012.

Now we've finally reached the meat of this post. StarKid has proven to be relevant, but that's not why I love them. I love them because they're a group of people I can relate to. As Meredith once put it, "I'm glad I found this group of weirdos, and you'll find your weirdos someday, too." They're a group of regular kids, college friends. They love each other, and they love the fans. They're good, inspiring role models. And I love them for that. Meredith, Jaime and Lauren, the main StarKid girls, aren't bad heroes to have. They're nothing like Miley Cyrus or Lindsay Lohan or whatever female celebrity is in the news now. They're intelligent, talented college graduates with good reputations. The boys are, too. Joe and Dylan and Brian, Brosenthal and Darren and Joey, they're good people. Darren makes it a point that people know he (and the rest of the StarKids) support gay rights (really, just equal rights), which is brave and honorable of them.

And what's really impressive about these people is that, even though they were thrust into stardom and spotlight, they're so incredibly kind and patient with fans. I didn't make it to SPACE Tour, but I did go to Apocalyptour with a close friend and fellow StarKid, and we stayed four hours after the show on the chance that they may come out and talk to us. It was us and maybe 50 other kids, and each member of StarKid took the time to have a little chat, to sign whatever needed signing, and to take pictures with each and every one of us. They were sweet, and even with the pushiest of fans, they smiled and laughed and genuinely loved everyone the entire time. Meredith, in particular, stood out to me (See? There's a reason she's my favorite). This sweet girl gets so much hate from fans sometimes for "rubbing people the wrong way" or "replacing Bonnie" (Mere was a StarKid first), yet she's so, so kind. I'm incredibly shy, and I was standing on the outskirts of the little group she was talking to. She looked up, saw me, and walked right up. She hugged me, thanked me for attending, listened when I told her that she's inspired me, and she genuinely lit up and we had a great conversation. She took a picture with me, told me she was happy that she and StarKid have helped me so much. That really impressed me because, while every took the time to chat and take pictures with each and every fan, Meredith sought me out when she saw I was shy in a big group and she made a point to make me feel worth something.

It's really still more than that. They're bigger than just a group of kids having fun. In the darkest and coldest parts of my life, StarKid has been there. Whether it's sweet and goofy Meredith and her rendition of "The Coolest Girl," a power anthem to all the girls out there who feel like they aren't worth anything, or Lauren telling us that you don't need to fit in, or Joey telling us to resent the status quo, or Darren telling us to be who we are, StarKid's been there for me and for millions of other kids who really need it. StarKid changes lives. I know that because it changed mine, and for the better. StarKid tells us that we aren't defined by boundaries, that having a home is really great, that we're the coolest girls in the whole wide world, and that's why they're important.

You can find StarKid's musicals on their YouTube channel, StarKidPotter.