“Keep your friends close; keep your enemies even closer.” An old proverb warns, in my experience, your worst enemy is closer than you think. Look in the mirror. Do you think I’m joking? I only wish I was.
Here’s my story. It’s the whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help me God. I’m not proud of this, but I humbly admit it was an “AHA” moment for me.
I had been hired to shoot a video in Los Angeles, California. I live in Connecticut. The trip is a whole day affair. It takes seven hours of actual flying time, and most airlines don’t have direct flights. Being in a wheelchair requires extra assistance. They ask me to arrive two hours ahead of departure. To say it’s an exhausting trip is putting it mildly.
Now for any of you that have never done or seen any filming, allow me to enlighten you (I am not complaining, I’m sharing). This is the reality of this experience. I’ll let you come to your own conclusion.
First, remove the rose-colored glasses. What we see on TV is the antithesis of what filming actually is. Picture a large empty warehouse with cement floors. The sets are put together to focus on only one scenario at a time. The actual camera, audio and lighting crews have many different pieces of equipment. Each one is attached to a large metal canister with wheels. It’s total chaos.
And for anybody interested, the a-Green Rooms that I’ve been in do not look anything like I had imagined. Barebone green plastic prefab chairs. The one I’m describing is in the studio where they filmed Gilmore Girls. I thought that would be just beautiful, but it looked exactly like all of the others.
The reason I’m bringing this up is I had just finished filming for four days. I was exhausted. The thought of flying seven hours, changing planes and losing three hours with the time change did not thrill me. I was sitting in my seat contemplating my performance. Perhaps to be more accurate, I was commiserating with me, myself and I, while the remaining passengers boarded the plane.
The subject of this film was exercising with disabilities and in a wheelchair. I wasn’t sure I was the best choice to be the mascot. I have a rule: whenever I film, whether it’s for television video or a podcast I never watch it after it’s done. I’ve been questioned why not and there’s a very good reason. When I’m filming the camera is my friend. I don’t critique my performance, and therefore I do not become my worst critic.
But there I was, thinking of all the things I would’ve, could’ve and should’ve said. Of course, everything I thought I should have done was brilliant. It would have made it so much better. Now remember, I have not seen any of the takes, and it wouldn’t have mattered anyway because until it’s cut, edited and put together, you have no idea what the final product will look like.
It used to drive my husband Andrew crazy when I come back home, and he asked how everything went. My answer was, and it remains the same to this day, “I have no idea. Let me know as soon as you see it.” My story (and I’m sticking with it) is I was emotionally exhausted and physically overtired.
And remember when I told you who your worst enemy is? All of a sudden, I feel someone’s hand on my shoulder. I turn to see this lovely sweet woman smiling at me. I had no idea who she was, but I was positive I had never seen her before. I smiled back, said hello, and asked if there was something I could do to help her?
She softly patted my shoulder and said, “Oh no, I’m fine, thank you so much for asking. I haven’t ever done anything like this before, but I would feel remiss if I didn’t tell you that your smile inspires every person lucky enough to see it. It lights up the whole plane.”
I thanked her but was in total disbelief. She turned to return to her seat and disappeared. I never saw her again. She must have been sitting in the back of the plane. I was long gone before the back of the plane disembarked.
So here’s my take on this. How sad it is to be such an assassin to myself that God, the universe, or whatever you believe in, needed to possess this sweet woman to realign my negative thinking. Who does that? You got it. I don’t need to look any further than the mirror.
When your intentions are coming from a good place, and you want to do your best, it is what it is. In the dark crevices of the brain, negative thinking is waiting to wreak havoc by taking control. I can assure you unequivocally, the result is ALWAYS disaster. We don’t only have to be concerned with external enemies. It’s the enemy within that we continually have to keep it in check.
One last thought: wouldn’t it be amazing if the woman on the plane happened to read my post and she now knew what that meant to me? Anything is possible. And since I’ve been this transparent so far I might as well go nine yards and tell the rest of the story. The film won an award. Apparently, my opinion should not be taken into account!