I had so much potential. In 2nd grade my poetry was featured on the bulletin board regularly. In 6th grade Ms. Dormer told my mom I’d be a Broadway scribe someday (Lin Manuel Miranda, watch out!). I was published in literary mags in high school, got the English Honors Award senior year. Writing was simply my thang. I attended a great University whose notable alums include Katie Couric, Edgar Allen Poe, several Kennedys, and more recently the Co-Founder of Reddit. I graduated from the business school to start an illustrious career as… a Wall Street Trader. Wait, what? Rewind? How did that happen? How did I veer off this path and why am I not riding the coat tails of my favorite “Wahoo” of all- Tina Fey? Well first of all, I botched the one chance I had to meet her.
It’s May 2012. I’m sitting in the back seat of a taxi, Niagara Falls down my cheeks. Can’t stop crying long enough to direct the cab driver to the Upper East Side. Something tragic has happened. I feel broken inside. Why the outburst you ask? Naturally, the dam has sprung a leak because I whiffed on the only opportunity I’ll ever have to meet Tina. My idol. My soul sister. My should-have-been. It seems so silly now, but it felt so raw in that moment, and it still haunts me today. What happened, and what does it all really mean?
My woman-about-town coworker was on the board of a great organization called Jumpstart. She knew I was a fan of-scratch that- was obsessed with Tina Fey ever since I saw her with Second City when they came back to UVA to perform. (Yes, I knew her when…) So she invited me to their annual fundraiser to hear Tina speak in a fireside chat with Gayle King. I cleared the calendar. It was a packed house, a great event, and I even got some free books that turned out to be excellent reads later on, but when Tina was on that stage, I was riveted. I laughed, I laughed some more, I smiled stupidly, and nodded like a bobble head.
After Tina’s talk was done, there was a small crowd around her table chatting, so I moseyed on over, lingering on the fringe, and just beamed. There she was, looking like a regular person (minus the glorious halo of light above her head), sans her signature glasses, just conversing. The crowd thinned. I shimmied a little closer. Soon enough we were face to face. Ok, well, my face was looking at her mahogany tinged, purposely tousled hair and a sliver of cheek. I opened my mouth to speak. Where to begin? Do I tell her I admire her as a writer more than an actress? Do I profess my aspirations to be as witty-yet-likeable as she on the written page? Do I just belt out the UVA alma mata and expect her to chime in? It wasn’t a great time to do my best overthinking, and it ended up costing me everything. Just then, her agent whispered in the ear that wasn’t facing me, and whisked her away to places unknown. Time was up. The buzzer ran out. Suddenly, I was standing there alone with nothing but my jittery anticipation of that moment. The moment that never was.
And it hurt like hell. And I dragged myself out of that event space, and into the street, and stumbled into that cab. And called my husband. And couldn’t speak. And blubbered. It was a low point for me. But not simply because I didn’t meet Tina. Not because we didn’t instantly connect and skip off to catch a Rom Com downtown. Because it was another reminder that I wasn’t living up to my potential. I didn’t follow my dreams, or let my passion drive my success. I took the easy street by joining Wall Street. I sold out. I failed my younger self. And I was crying for her.
This blog is my attempt at making it right. Tina, you missed your chance girl.