An hour ago, a limo picked me up at LAX and my driver criss-crossed her way through the back streets of LA to avoid the stopped traffic on the 405. I was closing my eyes, listening to guided imagery on my Ipod, and when I opened my eyes, there it was, the infamous Hollywood sign, crooked white letters against a green hillside towering over the City of Angels. When I saw it, my heart skipped a beat because, unlike every other time I’ve been in Los Angeles, this time I’m here to do a screen test to be on a TV show.
The inner showgirl
I was never one of those wanna-be actresses (God love ‘em!) I pretty much hate being the center of attention. I had six people at my wedding when I married Matt. Even as a bride, I didn’t want a roomful of people turning around to stare when I walked down the aisle, so we kept the wedding very small.
You might not know it given the high profile careers I’ve chosen, but part of me is most comfortable at home in my PJs, lounging over a cup of herbal tea with my BFFs. But I do admit — or at least I’m finally admitting it to myself — I have an inner showgirl. I call her Victoria Rochester. And right now, Victoria is in her element.
Now, Iím sitting here at the cafť at Paramount Pictures studios, eating sushi for breakfast and waiting to audition for a spot on The Doctors. The studio is bustling and noisy, with trucks and cranes and construction everywhere. The cars in the lot are expensive, the people are beautiful, and I canít help wondering whether Iím sitting three feet from somebody very famous. Iím not the only one. Everyone here is checking everyone else out, and I wonder how I measure up.
So here I am, armed with my vulva puppet, my prettiest pink lip gloss, and all the courage I can muster. Part of me is terrified. Part of me feels like I don’t belong here. But a little small voice from within is yelling, “YES! YOU BELONG HERE! LET YOURSELF ENJOY THIS MOMENT!” And so I am.
Embracing the dream
Iím wearing a very pretty dress that a friend gave me, and I woke up at 4am so I could roll my hair in curlers and still make it to my 6am flight in order to arrive at my appointment in LA in time. So Iím feeling pretty fine, in spite of the sleep deprivation and the nerves that have sent me to the bathroom 6 times already this morning. (Yes, my anxiety bone is connected to my stomach bone.)
I always say I hate LA. It’s so superficial. It’s smoggy. There’s traffic. It’s pretentious. There are too many people. You know the reasons. But right here, right now, I’m beyond delighted to be in LA. I’m eating this up. I’m feeling on top of the world. I’m accessing my inner rockstar. And I’m owning the fact that part of me would love to do this — the whole Beverly Hills life — the shopping on Melrose Ave and Rodeo Drive, the beach house in Malibu, the TV shows and movie premiers and sushi for breakfast. My inner critic chides me for this. She says it’s silly, vapid, and meaningless. And yet Victoria Rochester feels like she was born for this life. She dreams of having a TV show of her own one day. And so — just for this moment, as I’m sitting here writing on the studio lot, I realize that I am one step closer to that dream — and I’m embracing that.
How many times do we talk ourselves out of living our dreams because we think our dreams are silly? Do we chop our dreams into pieces because we’re afraid of what others will think? Why are we afraid to truly be authentic and OWN what it means to be who we are? How can it be wrong to be honest with ourselves about who we are?
And so I am about to close my computer, fluff my hair, don my love bubble, and walk into the Mae West Building, where I will meet Kathy, the TV producer who is interviewing me today. I will not worry whether she will like me or whether I will be a good fit for The Doctors. I will just be ALL ME, ALL THE TIME and let the chips fall where they may. It won’t serve anyone for me to pretend to be someone Iím not just to fit in here. I don’t fit well into a doctor box, and if that doesn’t work for them, thatís just fine. But who knows? Maybe, just maybe, theyíre open to bringing on someone who sheds the white coats, tells the truth, and practices love, with a little bit of medicine on the side.
Does my kind of medicine fit on a Hollywood studio lot? I don’t know. But it fits ME, and when all is said and done, that’s what matters, isn’t it? So here I go, off to break a leg — and be myself.
What about you? Can you be honest about what you dream about? Can you ditch your inner critic and tell yourself the truth?