Really, if I look at it, my life has been one long, loopy trajectory that's about me getting down with two things: (1), I am a BIG nerd; and (2) given my BIG NERD druthers, or at least a return to my default settings, I would not be a Mad People Magnet but That Crazy Lady Who Never Leaves Her House.
I mean, really: a huge part of why I quit acting, you know, aside from the bit about the Changing Media Marketplace and aging into non-castability, was because I came to despise going out on auditions. De-pise, I tell you. The traffic! The parking! The incessant nattering in the waiting rooms! The deep and mind-numbing crapfulness of the copy. The smiling. Seriously, it gets to you.
But I recognize that while I must acknowledge and embrace my truth, that I suck at what makes extroverts thrive, I must just as surely continue to bravely fight against it. And so I continue to put myself out there, at Toastmasters, at TequilaCon and tonight, at a (god help me) networking event for actors.
The damned thing of it was, I had a great time. Not a long time, but a great one. I met a handful of total strangers. I walked right up to them and started asking them questions. They seemed happy to talk to me. I was delighted talking to them. They gave me information I needed, how to make my column better. And I gave them information they could use, how to walk up to people they'd never, ever met at a networking event and talk to them. Cards were exchanged, promises made. I was in and out in just over an hour.
Afterward, because it was a cool, clear night and because it had been a long time since I'd been in West Hollywood, I took a bit of a walk down Sunset. And since I'd turned my lights on, as it were, I wound up interacting with some of the denizens: the cashier at Pink Dot, who (understandably) had a scrim up between himself and the world, but who came around from behind it when I asked him about the journal he was writing in. Three, count 'em, three valet parkers. Some sundry passersby. And one very stylish young man who, as I was breezing by on the way back to my car, told me he liked my style. No charge.
And after that, because it was still a cool, clear night, and because I was feeling so good, I treated myself to the long way home: farther west on Sunset, San Vicente down to Wilshire, Wilshire all the way back to the crib. There was no traffic, there were only green lights. It was like I'd time-traveled back to 1987, the first time I came out to L.A. as an adult, and fell for the magic and possibility of the place. When I'd prowled the city incognito, pretending to be the person I couldn't imagine being then, on my own, sponsored by no corporate entity, making my way on my wits, creating the days as they came. Here I was, 20 years later, living that life.
Patience, friends. Patience and persistence and knowing when to ask for help. Some luck. Lots of hard work.
And yes, putting myself out there, even when, especially when, it felt better not to.
That is the truth. That is the gift.
That is the work...