When I first got my facebook account, my dad made it a rule that I could only be friends with people I actually know, and have met in person. To this day, I still know every one of my facebook friends. I can tell you how I know them, possibly what they’ve been up to, as well as when and where we met. Except for all of those people that I haven’t met. Some of them are family who live far away. But some of them are potential friends I never ended up meeting, either because the projects fell through, we never shared any scenes, or, unfortunately, I flaked.
For instance, there is a guy I was supposed to have a scene with in a Tom Todoroff workshop years ago, but I ended up cancelling at the last minute. I had a valid excuse, because I had a freak accident that left me shaken and bruised, but it was just that…an excuse. At the time, I was relieved, because I had been terrified of doing the scene, but looking back, if this happened now…how awesome would I be if I had powered through that setback and went to the workshop, with a slightly bruised face, and killed it? Or even if I had failed, I would still have been so proud of myself just for going when I had an excuse not to. Bailing on my scene partner meant he had to do a monologue, which I am sure he killed, because he is doing such amazing stuff right now, but I missed out on my chance to meet him, to work with him, to face my fears…
I bring all of this up because I have a habit of finding excuses to not do things that scare me. I made the decision to stop doing that, but it is still a constant struggle. Last night, I had 2 tickets to the Bright Young Things‘ A Motion Away and Where You Are Screening . I had been looking forward to it every since I bought the tickets at their last event in the Spring. Then my friend booked some work and could no longer accompany me. Then no one responded to the post where I tried to give the ticket away to someone in exchange for spending the evening with me. And then came the excuses.
I asked my mom if I should go, but I have learnt that she is extremely biased when asked to decide if I should go out and do something, or spend time with her. I put on the dress I planned on wearing incredibly early, hoping this would push me to go, but instead I started telling myself that if I spilt something on the dress, it would be a sign not to go (I was handling really sticky stuff, as well as frozen yogurt, so it was a possibility). By the time I had to get ready to leave, I had myself pretty convinced I was going to just stay home and watch all the Thursday night season premieres in my onesie while drinking tea.
The night I had planned sounded perfect, but, I knew I would regret it. And I had already started writing this blog post in my head, which I would never get to share if I didn’t go;) So I left my oh-so-tempting, lazy evening at home and drove to the theatre.
A big part of why I didn’t want to go is because I am terrible at networking. Or talking to people in general. So I apologize to anyone last night who was subjected to the awkward silences as I attempted to come up with something interesting to say. I am really good at the listening part. If you talk, I will be interested and absolutely love hearing all you have to say, but my brain hasn’t been able to figure this one out. That isn’t to say I haven’t been trying. At the last screening, I sort of latched on to a person I knew and mostly listened to her and her friends that I got introduced to (Which I super appreciated, and they were awesome).
This time, I still had some awkward silences, but I also really had an incredible time. Which I usually do, but there are normally moments where I stand alone in a corner, looking out at the room and hoping people assume I am waiting for someone. This time, I didn’t do that. The odds were slightly in my favor, because I knew a lot of the people who were there, but rather than smiling at those people from afar, I went up and talked to them. People I haven’t seen in years, like back when I was in CEGEP, or my first year of University. There were also people that I felt safe and comfortable talking to, which was wonderful, and made it a lot easier to talk to the people I didn’t know as well. By the time I took my seat, I had friends on either side. A few minutes into our host, Arthur Holden’s introduction, I actually thought to myself, “And I would have stayed home and missed this?” Because I love supporting the people I consider friends, and I love being a part of and celebrating the Montreal acting community. I laughed, I was touched, I was inspired. The films and the trailers were a joy to watch and I am so glad that I ended up going.
I am making these confessions for many reasons. One is to explain why you might walk away from a conversation with me thinking I don’t care, when I really just don’t know how to translate my interest into words. Another is to hopefully push myself to keep working on this and getting better at it all. But mostly, I thought I would share in case anyone else is out there, not going to things and making excuses, or going and standing alone in a corner because you haven’t figured it out either. You are not alone. And there is strength in numbers, so if you need backup, I’ll be in the other corner, slowly trying to mingle…
“I’m very shy and awkward. I think the best thing is to embrace it. It’s about accepting who you are and what you want to become and knowing all that you’ve got to work with, whether it’s good or bad.”