From the outside looking in, I’m a pretty ballsy lady, to be sure. I have cuddled a live koala in Australia, sung karaoke in Japan and munched on moules marinière in France — solo. I even spent a week on my own at a particularly racy Club Med, cloaked in a pair of dark glasses and the current installment in the Harry Potter series. I absolutely love to speak and perform in public and relish any and every opportunity to shine a spotlight on my inner ham — whether hopping onstage to sing with the band, presenting at an industry conference, teaching a class or charming insomniac shoppers on national television.
Sure each of these experiences brought butterflies to my tummy and a fair amount of sweat to my palms. Nervous? Excited? Certainly! Frightened? Eh, not so much. In each of the situations I describe above, I was in complete control of how I interacted — or rather chose not interact — with others. I could participate on my own terms. I was Acting well within my Comfort Zone.
Onstage or in a foreign country or even in a lounge chair with my nose in a book, I really didn’t have to put a lot of emotional skin in the game. All I had to do is Know My Shit. Prepare. Don the appropriate costume. Perform. Assume the role of American Tourist, or Single Woman on Vacation, Savvy Business Woman or Industry Expert. My Shit. My Drag. My Mask.
I know that I cannot create a life that is truly worth living if I remain the passive participant. I am coming down off the stage. Taking off the dark glasses. I am learning when to take off the stiletto heels that keep me hovering above and away from mere mortal men.
No Shit. No Drag. No Mask.
Exposed. Unprepared. Vulnerable. Spontaneous. Open.