They say as a young kid you attach to things that help you escape from the real world. Whether that's sports, playing barbie, painting, drawing, or listening to music. Mine was a 22-year-old girl from Checotah, OK who auditioned for a show called American Idol in 2005. She went off to win the show and start her journey into fame. I remember the day of the finale, I was 7 years old, and I said the words "she is so good, I hope she wins!"

I never knew at that moment she would become someone who changed my life forever. I never knew at that moment a girl who I never met before would help me become the person I am today. I never knew how one person could give me so much hope, strength, courage, and the power to keep going.

To buying her first album in a red concord car, to having her be my first concert at the age of 10, to creating a fan account that would bring me a community that I get to call family, to flying all the way West to see the storyteller tour, winning FCP tickets and getting to go to Nashville, and to meeting her when I was 16 at Allegan County Fair. Heck - I even had people write to Ellen years ago and created a hashtag that went throughout my school #missionhelpallymeetcarrieunderwood

I remember the day I won the Meet & Greet. I was off to a volleyball game and I had my #9 jersey on. I was sitting on my bed and I heard my notification ding for my email. As I picked up my phone I saw the words "congratulations" and I immediately drooped my phone. I opened the email and I sobbed... I won. I called my mom and the words out of her mouth were "are you sure? is it fake? you have to be kidding me." At that moment I knew this dream I had for 10 years was finally coming true.

All the times I would cry myself to bed listening to Jesus Take The Wheel because my parents were fighting and yelling at 11:00 pm, to having my life saved through Play On coming on when I hit shuffle, all the times I questioned why and asked God to just take me home Carrie came and helped me through. She was like a gift God gave me her every time. Through her, I realized that God was with me. And when I didn't know how to cope I always had someone who I could find peace in. And that was Carrie. I don't know how this girl continued to impact my life day after day, week after week, year after year... but she did.

She helped me find my voice when I thought my stutter was useless and I have no worth in saying what I thought. She gave me a place where I could be myself without bullying, laughter, or feeling like I was not loved.

The Day I Met Carrie: SHORT STORY VERSION

While walking to get in a line for the M&G; Amy, Carrie's assistant introduces herself and gives us a little pep talk. As we turn the corner I see that the bus is there. My heart was racing 1000 miles a minute. I then look straight and I see Carrie's hair. I started to freak out and as we got closer it all felt like a dream. I couldn't believe Carrie Underwood was right in front of me and I was about to meet her. Amy came back to me and my mom at one point, and she comforted me. She told me to breathe and that I was going to be okay. As we moved closer and closer I told myself not to cry. But every time I saw her smiling and hugging fans and saying bye I literally died inside.

By the way, she is BEAUTIFUL in person. My mom and Amy talked for a bit and at one moment Amy gave me this huge hug and said: "it will be okay Ally, don't cry." And when she said that I started to cry. Like ALL my emotions came flowing out and I was so excited but yet this was SO unreal to me. She said "no sweetie don't cry".as she puts her hand on my head and looks at my mom.

My mom immediately told me "Ally don't cry!, why are you crying" (I don't think she understood that I waited 10 YEARS for THIS MOMENT.) And then I saw Carrie looking at me and sort of waiting to meet me because I was next. Amy then walks me towards Carrie. I couldn't believe I was about to meet my idol.

Carrie: Hello! (Gives me a hug)

Me: "Hi!"

Carrie: "it's nice to meet you!" (Smiles)

Me: you too! (Smiles back)

I give her my picture to sign and the card with my name on it

Carrie: "Ally!"

She signs my picture and I start to say "Carrie, you have changed my life, you are so amazing and thank you for everything." She looked up at me with eye contact that you knew she was listening to me wholeheartedly, and meanwhile, she is still signing. And she smiled, then goes "aw, oh my gosh."

My mom then says "Carrie, you have changed my daughter's life, she never used to talk because of her stutter, she would write notes to teachers. you were the one who gave her her voice, you were the one who made her realize she had a voice. I thank you so much for being her inspiration and helping her break out of her shell."

I then look at Carrie and she says "oh my gosh.." And I hear her voice start to crack. I see tears filling up in her eyes and I didn't know what to do. I told her to not cry because then I will cry harder, she then laughed.

Then came the picture. I literally forgot how to smile because Carrie Underwood was right next to me and I thought "is this real!?"

"it was nice to meet you!" Carrie said.

I gave her another hug and I regret not giving her a hug with two hands, I hugged her with one. I replied, "you too!" And we both smiled.

I then walked out and couldn't believe what happened.


-AKay