It's Christmas Eve. For most people, the kids are sleep, the presents are wrapped, the egg is nogged, the dishes are done. For some of us, the party is not quite over. For others, we sit and await for our relatives to arrive, yet, for others, they will be celebrating Christmas alone.
I'm a member of Clay Nation and I want to reflect back on what this year has wrought and what Clay Aiken has given me.
In March, I earned a promotion. I've wanted to leave my previous position for about two years, but you had to have a securities license to do my old job and I was the only person with a license so I was kind of stuck. I liked my old job but I was bored after over eight years. After talking with my Supervisor, I received a chance to interview for another position and I got the job.
My new job has been challenging but I love it. It's not what I thought as a teen I'd be doing when I was grown, but it's a good job with lots of responsibility.
Why am I telling you this? It has to do with Clay. Although I missed him like crazy the first half of the year, his absence gave me a breather to concentrate on my new job. You see, when Clay is in the spotlight, or when he is tourng, it seems that my life takes a backseat to the joy, the excitement, and the happiness I feel when interacting with the Clay Nation.
I will forever be grateful to Clay Aiken for giving me riches beyond what I ever thought I would have. Riches of happiness and friendship, riches of a community born on February 28, 2003, after seeing this skinny kid, all arms and elbows, stand before the judges on American Idol and sing these 19 words:
Take time to tell me
You really care
And we'll share tomorrow
Baby, I'll always love you
How can one predict when a moment would change a life? Especially such an inauspicious moment as a nineteen word audition? The past almost four years have taught me to be a better person. Yes, that's a very trite saying, in fact, doesn't it come from 'Dirty Dancing'? But sometimes the most simplictic sayings are the most prophetcetical <---- I just made that word up. Go, me!
So, how could a pop singer make me a better person? It was only partly Clay's fault. During and after American Idol, hundreds of thousands of Clay's fans went hunting for him on the internet and, if they were very lucky, they found the Clay message boards. I was a computer neophyte, only using it for e-mails and to surf HGTV.com because I had just purchased my first home and I wanted to re-do the entire property, and where better to get decorating and landscaping tips than HGTV?
So I searched for those message boards and in April, 2003, I found them and I started to make friends. On the computer. Who'da thunk it? I still remember some of those early fans that welcomed me to this new kind of neighborhood. Laynie, my very first, and still, internet friend, Podsoda, who embraced me with open arms. Liska and Browneyes from the 'Look what Love has Done' organization, the very first independent fund-raising arm of, eventually, the BAF. YouStopRightNow, who's warm personality takes everyone in, and others too numerous to mention.
There were posters on the boards who scared me because they were so wicked smart and snarky, and would debate an issue, so you'd better be prepared to defend your convictions. Clawme, dee_ayy, Tagalong, Clay4me, Recgirl, JessieFaerie, Candi, Pink, LadyofLorien, Jules, Christie, NorthernKitten, Horse, Lessa, I know I'm forgetting many, but to my fellow ClayWhores, I celebrate and honor you, for without you, I wouldn't have discovered talents that lay dormant.
Who would have guessed that I had a little bit of talent for writing. I never wrote anything in my life except for some music. Words? And a theme? Not me. But by partaking on one of the smaller message boards, I learned how to write, how to express my thoughts in a coherent and rational way, how to debate and defend, and most importantly, how to read others' points of view. To consider them, then either accept or reject them. This small board taught me that it's OK to change my position if I find an arguement than makes more sense then mine. Thank you.
To Clay Aiken. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for being you. Warm, loving, kind. For opening your heart to children the world over; founding The Bubel/Aiken foundation, treating people the same, no matter what their disability, inside or out; for being the kind of person who inspires this devotion that your fans feel for you; for being the catalyst that brought us all together, from all over the world, in friendship and community.
For this holiday season and the rest of your life, I wish you joy. I hope you find joy in your family, your career, your friends, your fans, and God willing, joy with your future family. I celebrate you and I thank you for the time of my life. Merry Christmas, Clay.
Related Tags: Clay Aiken, Christmas, American Idol, Clay Nation, message boards, Dirty Dancing, HGTV.com, The Bubel/Aiken Foundation