Dear Grace VanderWaal,
I have only watched America’s Got Talent in sound bites until now. I’ve watched acts here and there on YouTube, but never sat to watch an entire episode or season. I saw some posts about you after auditions, went straight to YouTube to see for myself and was immediately on "team Grace." I decided then and there to tape the show and watch. I will be honest, after watching some other acts I thought, “I wonder if she will stand out in this crowd?” Then, there you were last week, the final act, and I was blown away. I had just put my 18 month old down and was standing by the tv to watch you and I started to cry. Even now, as I write this, there are still tears in my eyes. You struck a chord in me and its touched a piece of my heart that doesn’t get awakened often. I have been thinking about what it is that you evoke in me. Here is why I love you:
1. You are flawed.
This is not to say you aren’t amazing, beautiful and all over wonderful, but its your imperfections that make you so. That is the beauty of humanity and yet as a society we have become these beauty zombies forsaking our individuality for the latest trends of the masses. We end up doing whatever we can to look the part of everyone else on planet earth. Where is the fun in that?! We tell this to our kids and even to ourselves and yet so often those words get exchanged for the latest trends or must haves to fit in. That is wrong and that is why you are so right. I love that you aren’t some picture perfect, manicured, every hair in place performer. You have a real, genuine soul. Who you are is exactly who you should be. You wear who you are with such confidence and humility that it speaks volumes; the kind of volumes I want my kids to see and become.
2. You echo our hearts.
When I watch you its like the former girl version of me appears. I see that awkward preteen girl again who was more amazing than she ever knew. I wanted to fit in, but have never been normal. Its taken me years to embrace who I am in the midst of being misunderstood. You reflect an image of that kid that doesn’t fit the cookie cutter mold. Seeing you being celebrated makes me rejoice. I believe this heart cry is even more needed in our current culture of faulty connection. So many people are living online and lack real relationships and are unable to connect with the life before them. That has grown a desire to be heard and find one’s voice. You write from your heart and you display those words so eloquently in the way you carry yourself. You are vulnerable in your genuine journey and that is pure gold! I write and speak about reclaiming life, discovering freedom and finding your voice and you are a perfect depiction of those goals. My heart is happy to hear you sing!
3. You have talent.
I recently read an article about Michael Phelps. It talked about the challenges he faced and how his solace became the pool. Finding what made him happy, shaped him into the amazing athlete he is today. We wouldn’t know you if you didn’t have that thing that makes you so special, but we do because you do! You write meaningful songs, you can play the ukulele and sing with a unique vocal quality. Its a total package and its beautiful.
Grace, you continue to say you think you will wake up and it will all be over, well I say, don’t wake up! Enjoy the ride, but be sure to stay true to yourself and stay focused on the beauty of you because no one else can duplicate it or be it quite like you!!! Can’t wait to see what happens next for you, Miss VanderWaal. Sending all the love, prayers and well wishes your way!