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October in Chicago, and I park my car a few blocks down from the venue. I don't know this area, so I wander down one street, with my phone guiding where to go. I see a winding line of people on a sidewalk. I slide by them, and pull out a book to read for the wait. I stand on my tiptoes, crane my head beyond the crowd to see the old theater door, wondering if I'll catch a glimpse of the main act. Of course I won't--there doors all over buildings these days, but I can't hold in my excitement. I'm going to see my favorite comedian, Hasan Minhaj of The Daily Show, live.

This was the first time that I bought tickets for and then saw a famous person whose work I respected. When Hasan strolled on stage, waved to us and thanked us for coming in that really personal way with which he manages to address crowds, it felt surreal. This person, who had been on television and elicited laughs and said lots of smart things and did lots of impressive and successful work, stood before me. His show, "Homecoming King," was about growing up Indian in America, and it hit home for me on so many levels. I laughed, I cried, and I got all the cultural references (which is huge for me! It's rare that happens. For example, I love On Writing by Stephen King, but I just nod and smile and enjoy the references for him because they're probably brilliant pop culture nods, but I don't get them.)

I learned a lot from this show, which is why I believe entertainment is not a useless medium where companies dump advertisements in order to show consumers fluff or gore or whatever it is we want to see. It's the most powerful form of media that we have, because we learn from it in powerful, long-lasting, and well-crafted ways. One of the many quotes that stuck with me was when he said, "Part of the American dream for me is being able to stand on this stage. I mean, [Indians] don't see themselves standing here. We don't create; we're consumers." It blew my mind and amplified my self-awareness as an artist.

When he described himself as a creator, I identified with him. I got around to talking to him briefly, and I trembled, sure, like I do whenever I meet anyone important, but as I thought about that day and celebrity worship, one lesson emerged, a lesson whose seed was planted that day but finally bloomed today, two months later: I got over the whole "CELEBRITY, I NEED YOU TO SHOW THAT YOU MET ME SO THAT I CAN VALIDATE MY PERSONHOOD."

Don't get me wrong; I'm a sponsor and participant of fangirling. Being a fan, after all, helps inspire us in what we do. We're a fans of the things we appreciate because these things mean something to the core of our being, when we approach this with the best intentions (meaning, we approach fangirlism/fanboyism without, well, fanaticism?) When I met Hasan, it didn't feel like I was meeting a deity far removed from me by his success and body of work and talents and influence. Rather, it felt like meeting someone older and wiser, who had tread the path that I am on too. It felt like meeting someone of the same species. I told him that when he mentioned diversity in the arts and entertainment, it made me inspired; it made me want to go out and create. And his response? He thanked me for that and told him it meant a lot to hear that someone was moved like that from his show.

In the whole journey of learning how to be yourself, we have mentors we know and mentors we don't personally know. Keep in mind who these people are and listen to them, but form your own voice. Don't forget that they are human, but also that they have been places you haven't been. Let your admiration for them inspire you to action to create something with your life.

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