I think Elizabeth Gilbert and Jen Sincero are changing my (literal) dreams.
Take last night. I had the best dream.
(Ugh, yeah, I know Not a fan of dream stories either. #sorrynotsorry.)
Why so great, you ask? (of course you do. I’m making up both sides of this conversation)
What was great was that this dream was the opposite of the Actor’s Nightmare. We’ve all had these – could take different forms depending on what you do for a living – but the doubt is the same: you feel inadequate, unprepared, and expected to deliver.
For actors, it takes place onstage:, when (a) no one told you you had the part til now (b) you don’t know your lines because it isn’t your fault no one gave you a script!!! or (c) you’re naked.
In this dream, though. I felt invincible. What a nice change. I did not want to wake up.
In this dream, I was not perfect, not at all. Just me. And I felt like I belonged, no matter what. And I wanted to keep that feeling, to stay this confident and invincible, during my waking hours.
(Liz Gilbert, in her book, Big Magic, refers to this as a poet’s term: “the arrogance of belonging.”)
The plot was sort of like this: I’d thought I was meant to be at a tryout for a track team. Me, with 4 hip surgeries behind me and one leg weaker than the other (from nerve damage during one surgery). I cannot run. Literally. But I went anyway. To the track team tryout.
Because, why not?
Just to see what was up.
I was dressed in a sweatshirt and shorts. You know, radio/voiceover/Covid clothing. Because, habit.
I wanted to keep that feeling, to stay this confident and invincible, during my waking hours.
As I walked up the hill to the (college?) building, I mentioned to the other person walking nearby that the hill was so COOL because part of it was grassy, part of it cement, and there must be a reason for it – which became evident as we climbed. Somehow that combo, viewed from the distance and climbing the hill, became like a living globe. You could see the whole world from there, or what looked like it, just by climbing up higher.
The Universe at work? Yeah, I think so. The right words at the right time. Two weeks before my official book launch, when doubts want to creep in any cracks in the wall.
So. The Sincero/Gilbert effect?
But bring it on. I like it.
Back to the dream.
Inside the building, no idea where to go – but not worried. (That’s the big difference here.)
It took a combo of following my gut and asking for help from others – but I got to where I was supposed to be. I was late. Lots of people were there, seated in chairs in tiers onstage reading a sitcom script – a funny one.
So I took my seat. I belonged there. Even though one of the other actors might have been Betty White? It’s fuzzy now.
But me? I wasn’t scared, or doubtful, or feeling like an impostor.
I was just me.
And the people on “the other side of the table” (casting folks) were interested – very interested -in ME.
They said they were so glad I was there.
After a short break, I was in the first three to be called to read a scene.
I wasn’t scared, or doubtful, or feeling like an impostor.
I was just me.
And even though there were lots of other women there auditioning – many of them with much more make-up on, better dressed, or flirting more successfully with the men – I felt fine.
I felt more than fine.
I felt like I belonged.
I belong. You belong. And that’s the kind of reminder we all need, now and then.
I am a Badass!!! OK, a Badass-in-Training. But aren’t we all?
Over coffee the next morning, I realized I’d touched on a few things I wanted to remember.
- I am an actor, even though I’d much rather do a sitcom than a sex scene.
- Make art for its own sake.
- You can see the whole world (or what looks like it) when you make the climb up the hill.
- My book will sell 100,000 copies and more.
- Trust Your Crazy Ideas.
Invincible. With the right words at the right time, spoken/written by others, heard by me.
And vice versa.
Woke up and couldn’t go back to the dream after that, hence the 6 AM coffee with my computer.
But I’m sure I nailed the scene. And had lots of fun doing it.
Would I have gotten the part? Who knows? But it was certainly possible. Just by being, comfortably and confidently, me.
That’s the feeling I want to channel into this day – and every day.
And I want you do stay with that confidence too.
Thanks, Jen and Liz. I’ll honor your work with my own.