When I found out that the theme of the week was Fearlessness, I was ecstatic. Much like a soaring bald eagle with an allergy to feathers, my brand of fearlessness comes with a few oddities. But I feel like if anyone on the show has had the track record to back this week's theme, it's yours truly.
It wasn’t intimidating at all to perform in front of Jane Lynch in the homework assignment. I love Jane, and everything she stands for. Also, she's from good ol' Illinois, so that connection was in place long before we locked eyes in a moment of passion that only I remember.
Aylin and I decided to get back together this week. We had our reasons for riding the purple horse of mutual respect all the way into the friend zone in week 5, and we had our reasons for riding it right back out again this week. But that's for us to know. Sorry to say, but not everything about our relationship is for public consumption.
I was ecstatic to find out that we would be shooting the music video in a pool. Life on the set had made me extremely lethargic, so the chance to get into a pool was a wonderful physical change of pace. I was a swim instructor for a while, and have always been an avid Aquarius. In short, water feels wonderful and it’s good for you.
Getting thrown individual slushies was fine. I could deal with that all day. It was like getting hit with a musket; the technology was antiquated, the discomfort was relatively short, and the reload time gave you a minute to collect yourself. The continuous slushie, however, was a whole different monster. It was like being a swordsman in the middle ages and suddenly coming face-to-face with the business end of a mini-gun. You can't fathom how painful it is. After 20 seconds, the only thing you know is bone-crushing cold. By 30 seconds, it's almost impossible to breathe. By 35 seconds, I couldn't have told you my own name.
Seeing Ali having trouble breathing was absolutely awful, because we were all completely powerless to change what was happening to her body. We could only wrap her tightly and pray she got better.
At this point, I was not surprised to be in the bottom three again. Nothing surprised me. In week four, I was told to do no one's job but my own. So I took that to heart, and put all my energy into my acting in week 5. We all saw how that turned out.
I did NOT, however, expect Aylin to be in the bottom three. So much of what got us through that days’ worth of shooting on set was Aylin's constant energy and enthusiasm. While I admit her acting choices may have come off a little counter-intuitive, her attitude throughout the whole thing was stellar, and, dare I say, fearless.
Competing against Aylin… I reacted exactly how you'd expect someone in my position to react. But I remembered someone telling me once that they'd rather lose to my best than beat me at my worst. I knew Aylin was there to win it, and so I knew I had to bring it just as hard. In the end, I think I did. I really think I did.
I will take away from this competition that the world is a deeply flawed, indescribably beautiful place. That the people that inhabit your life are there to show you the pieces of yourself that are most worthy of illumination. But most of all, I think it's given me hope that this was more than just a moment in the woods.
This life is not an easy one, nor should it be. It should be filled with the kind of struggle that can only come from shoveling endless miles of dust and dirt, searching amidst lows that cut to the core for the highs that shine like gold. Long after the set of our show has been dismantled, every piece of wood, every light, microphone and instrument categorized and restocked, long after every stage is reset and every ghost light sits alone, I'll have the memories of what we did that only the 14 of us share. I will cherish them for all my life.
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