I feel like I’ve spent the last decade trying very hard not to take up too much space.
We could blame Los Angeles and aging for part of the angst. Fighting my ever expanding waist and thighs as the decade flew by was no easy feat, particularly given my love for all things wine, chocolate and cheese. Couple that with the pressure to look like the actress/model/reality stars around me, and you can see why I’m just the tiniest bit concerned with taking up too much space in this city.
The other side is harder to explain. I don’t even know how that started, but at some point I stopped claiming my space in the world. Successful people seem larger than life. Have you ever seen a very successful person enter a room? Even if they aren’t vocally demanding the attention of everyone around them, they make an entrance. You can feel the energy of the room being directed toward them, and they own it. They take up space, and they have a presence that says they deserve to do it.
When I enter a room, I scurry into it in hopes of not disturbing the air. It’s not that I don’t long to make a real entrance—it’s just that I’m fairly convinced when I do it will be because I’ve fallen in the doorway or because I’ve accidentally tucked the hem of my skirt into my underwear.
It’s almost impossible for me to reach out for mentoring or any kind of assistance (as I wrote about here: http://datingandothermyths.com/2012/02/06/help/) because there is a part of me that is convinced that someone will get mad at me for doing it, or that the request will somehow be an imposition. I don’t just mean that going up to someone is a problem; I mean emailing them is a problem. I’ll do it because I have no choice, but to do it, I have to take a deep breath before I hit send. It’s as though I’m afraid that the email will waste valuable space in their systems and that the 20 seconds that they think of me might take up space in their minds.
Even if the attention is not specifically for my benefit, I’m fearful. A couple of years ago I spoke with a man who has produced some work I admire. On shear adrenaline and hope, I approached him to tell him how much I hoped that more of his writing would be produced. That sounds perfectly reasonable, right? Kind, maybe? From the moment I opened my mouth I was backing away from him as I was speaking to him. I mean this literally. I was walking backwards hoping that I wouldn’t trip over the curb. There was simply a part of my brain that screamed at me that I was imposing on him, and that I should get away from him as quickly as possible. That’s right—I was giving him a compliment, and I was afraid that he was going to be angry that I interrupted his life to tell him this. Did his gracious acceptance of the compliment change my perspective? No. I turned away and nearly ran from him just in case my continued existence annoyed him.
At this point in my life, I’m being asked to market myself. I’m being asked to pitch my work and explain to people why I should be the one to be published; why I should be the one to be produced. I’m being asked to claim my space.
And I long to do that…
through a proxy…
who I have hired to play me.