Is there anything that can nibble away at your self-confidence like an opening night?
I just got back from one, and let me tell you- these things are harrowing. This business is all about making connections, being seen. Schmoozing, if you will. And I hate it. Which is why I don't work more, because I can't sell myself. On a glass or two of wine when I'm dressed up and feeling pretty good about myself, I can hack it. Sort of:
Actor/director/designer you haven't worked with in a looong time: Hiiii! Great to see you! How's it going? What's new? Working on anything? (Eyes already glazing over, skating through the crowd to the next, more interesting person.)
Me: Um, I'm okay. Yeah, I was doing a show. It just closed. (And I've been living my life in two vastly different places and falling in and out of love and oh- did I tell you I just moved? And I crochet a lot and I'm single but I have these amazing friends and I get tons of compliments on my singing so mostly I'm superhappy but also riddled with self-doubt and yeah I know you probably are too but you've worked so much more than I have in this town and when I go to these things I am reminded of how on-the-fringe-of-things I am, and-)
See, I just came up with a theory- like, just this minute. Small-talk takes a lot of confidence, because you have to believe with all your soul that people are actually interested in what you have to say.
Last night I came home from another play (not an opening night, however) with this guy in tow. We'd gone to another play last month and really clicked, so I invited him to this one. And after, we walked the short distance to my place and I said "I'm not trying to put the moves on you, but do you want to come in?" Because last time we'd hung out we had this amazing talk that lasted about 3 hours and then he'd kissed me and I thought well, this is interesting. So we go upstairs and I make tea and we talk again but something weird is happening because at a certain point I start feeling a bit like wallpaper. He's telling me all about school and theatre and I realize I'm starting to feel as if I could be anyone. Because he's stopped asking me anything, he's just telling. We could be acquaintances on the bus, it's that impersonal. And when he leaves, he kisses me again but this time I'm thinking to myself Who are you kissing here? Because you don't know me at all.
Last year, browsing the shelves of my local library for a DVD to watch, I found Felicity. Now it may have been because the pickings were slim, unless I was into Vietnamese romantic comedies. Or it may have been the premise: young girl changes future plans on a whim to follow her dream-crush to college in New York (so romantic! so impulsive! so stupid! so what I would do!). But something about it grabbed me, and over the course of the spring and summer I worked my way through season one when I had a free evening or a day off in Barkerville, and it charmed me. Yeah, it's very '90s, right down to the Lilith Fair-type opening credit music. But it has some great stories, and although it can be earnest, it never takes itself too seriously.
I also kept finding these weird little life lessons in there. See, Felicity is book-smart, but she doesn't know much about life, and love? Love keeps teaching her these painful lessons all the damn time. She's always overthinking everything, and she blurts out the truth when a more together person might just smile and flirt her way out of a situation. She hurts the steadfast people who love her and pursues the unattainable ideal. And yeah, it's a total tv-and-movie cliche that women over-analyze everything about romance while guys just breezily let things happen, but let me tell you, it's not always that far from the truth either. And while the man-hungry ladies-who-lunch of Sex & the City never captured me, Felicity's romantic heart and social awkwardness reminds me of all the things I both love and sigh over in myself.