Before we get to the juicy bits—not my juicy bits, the juicy bits of this story—let us meander back to where this trip originated from … when I was 10 years old.
If you read my memoir, you might recall the shyness-overtakes-me-again-dammit episode where I’m the star runner of track and field, and on the big day (meet day), I totally flee the scene because I’m so nervous I almost barf on the coach. No, you don’t remember that? Well, obvi, I sure as shit did.
Which brings me right up to speed to the fast-paced La La Land!
A few years ago, I was “finding myself”—aka continuing my identity crisis—and following my dream of being a high paid, well-acclaimed screen writer *cough* by selling all my stuff and going to Los Angeles.
But the truth was that I was dazed and confused. I was hiding from responsibility and from being a grown-up by riding my bike on the Santa Monica Boardwalk. And I hung out in overpriced coffees shops supposedly “developing my craft.” *cough bullshit*
While I was on this extended holiday, I met Tim Robbins—yes, the Tim Robbins—and attended a theatrical performance produced by The Actors Gang (founded by Mr. Robbins): a small, independent and eclectic troupe of actors.
I was inspired! I wanted to join the troupe right. this. minute!
But I was still shy and uncertain in this area. For three years I was invited—like everyone else on the email list, but still people!—to audition for an acting / performing class offered by The Actors Gang!
And for three years I chickened out.
Fast forward to December 2016 … My Little Mom has passed away. It’s been two months. I’m depressed. Not just sad. Not just grieving. But can-I-hang-myself-out-my-window-and-not-just-hit-the-patio-and-break-my-arm kinda thing.
I shut off my phone for a week and run away to Whistler to do some serious drugs, er, I mean “African plant medicine.” *sideways glance* (That’s another story.) Iboga is totally legal by the way. The fact that it’s used to cure heroine junkies is beside the point.
I come out of it … the same. damn. person. But less sad, and no longer thinking of joining MLM.
I take a deep breath, physically and metaphorically, and start feeling like joy is in my future. Little did I realize that joy would start with stark raving terror.
That same week I get an email from The Actors Gang notifying me of the next audition date, which is a month away.
As I’m reading the email—which I’ve only received once a year—I feel someone shove me. I fall against my kitchen wall. There’s no “someone” in the room, y’all. At least not in physical form. Just sayin’.
Okay, Momma, okay. But wait, do you mean I should go all the way to L.A. to do this particular audition or just that I should sign up for acting classes?
No shove, no reply. Hmm.
Fuck it. I’ll go to L.A. Sorry for the swear.
Fast forward to January 2017, me at the airport: I send out texts to my closest friends asking for words of wisdom and encouragement. All but one say basically the same thing—
You’re brave! You’re fearless! You got this! You’ll do great! Just have fun!
Okay, so even though I don’t feel less afraid, I do feel cared for and love them dearly for their words of encouragement, anyone who’s been terrified of something will not be able to get into the fearless fun mindset immediately.
At the airport, I discovered the source of my insistent fear—track and field day. I don’t have time to take my own damn “brain retraining”—I teach clients how to create new empowering beliefs that stick—by audition day … which is tomorrow!
Nonetheless, I have something to work with. For the entire five hours in the airport and on the airplane and the entire next day up to the audition, I take myself through the process I use with love-coaching clients.
By the time I get to the audition, I only want to pee my pants a wee bit. (I stuck two mini pads on two layers of tighty-whities just in case, cuz no one wants to see a grown-ass woman wet her pants on stage. Well, maybe some would, but I didn’t!)
We go in one by one for the interview bit. I’m second in line because I was way early―a total keener.
It’s a small auditorium theatre with the stage below the audience, and a single chair is on the stage with a spotlight shining directly onto it.
I sit. The light blinds me. About five or six “evaluators” (interrogators?) sit in the bleachers. They ask me how I heard about the group and why I’m here.
Blinking furiously, nervously rubbing my sweaty palms, I look everywhere but at them, stutter and stumble and answer with a lame reply, I saw a show and was inspired. It almost sounds like a question.
I can’t remember the name.
Fortunately, even though it’s overcast in L.A. today, my embarrassed face looks sunburned.
I don’t tell them about bailing at the track meet or peeing my pants in class in Grade 7 (see memoir) or anything else that might move them.
Basically, I suck.
After everyone’s individual interviews, we all go on stage and do some “emotional moving” work together. (Not only is it impossible to describe, but I think the gang would prefer their style not be revealed. Fair enough.)
I do my best, but my best sucks tonight; I get called out twice for “what not to do.” And you know what? It didn’t even phase me! My self-help shit really does work. Humph, who knew? (Me!)
At the end of the evening, we’re told that we’ll be informed within a week if we got in. I don’t even care. I’m relieved it’s over. I did what I came to do—show up and run the damn race.
I fly home the next day, exhausted and confused. Do I want to get in to the class? Do I want to do any acting at all? Do I want to go back to Cali?
Seriously, y’all, I love Vancouver. Plus, Cali is fucking expensive especially with the exchange rate, and I’d have to rent my place out (within two weeks) and store my personal stuff and store my brand frickin’ new, not renter-approved furniture and—hello—the class starts in two weeks.
After a good night’s sleep, I wake up realizing that I don’t want to do the class, at least not right now. I accomplished what I’d set out to do—overcome that fear. I did that. Yay me!
I email The Actors Gang admin and say thanks but no thanks, yet. I’m no longer afraid of the class, but I don’t need to go all the way to Cali when I can find a class here in Vancouver. Besides …
I’m gonna take on another fear—Facebook Live!
Because I’m a Glorious Fearless Goddess! Or even better: a brave little bird.
What have I re(learned)? I’m a fucking genius and my self-help shit really does work! So what if I borrowed most of it from various mentors along the way—shrugs shoulders—So what! I reformatted it into AJ style and added my own hard earned “A-ha” knowledge from firshand experience, y’all! Now who’s sorry? (My editor informs me that’s how everyone does it! Oh.)
Homework: Find new—and old!—fears to conquer by getting out of my comfort zone. Oh, shit. I think I just committed myself to Facebook Live for my Wingmam tribe. *Quivers*
p.s. The evaluators were kind, down to earth and a lot of fun. Good people.