I’ve been reflecting as of late how lucky I am to have some amazing people in my life here in New York; amazing artists, colleagues, friends. Some I would go so far as to say they feel like a second family. Recently, one of these people very dear to me went through a couple of disappointing experiences back to back. Since we’ve met, I have been in awe of her ability to create her own work. She is so incredibly talented at what she does, and she manifests how busy she is by cultivating her own projects. This year, she placed herself in a couple of audition situations which, for the purpose of anonymity, will remain undisclosed. The point is that it was, and is, uncommon for the next phase of her “busy-ness” to rest with outside sources. I too cultivate my own projects, but in my line of work auditions are a way of life so I have more experience coping with "no" or "not right now." Low and behold, the people in question chose to pass on my friend, and both instances happened in relatively close succession.
Her and I are part of this quartet of friends who somehow, despite being from different parts of the globe and artists in different genres of performance, magically came together and have not been far from one another’s hearts or minds since. When I received the initial text of her recent devastation, I was taken aback because discouragement is not a color she wears. So we scheduled face to face support in less than 24 hours. As the day rolled on, one by one like a slow domino effect, she confirmed that the rest of our foursome would all be in attendance. In a city where so often it’s hard to schedule coffee next month, the S.O.S. was sent, our covert crisis operation got the greenlight, and the troops rallied, fast and furious, to take the stones out of our friend’s pockets and usher her away from the water. The four of us are quite a color palate as far as personality and backgrounds go. So eventually, what my friend had flying at her from 3 corners of the table were empathy, reassurance, sass, hope, the light at the end of the tunnel, humor, admiration, the bigger picture, faith, and love. Once the moment of despair appeared to have moderately subsided, we switched the conversation to random, carefree topics, ultimately landing on upcoming Oscar Sunday. Our friend JF, who tends to barrel through life sometimes like a muppet with a rapid thought process, began spouting intense matter-of-fact opinions over the nominated films she’d looked up on her iPhone, NONE of which she had actually seen. This capped our impromptu support meeting with 3 minutes of ferocious laughter that left us all with belly aches and tears. Well, all of us save JF, who fretted through her laughter over how she could possibly do the Oscar ballot with all she hadn’t seen, which only added to the hysterics. I had a quiet moment sitting at that table where I found myself quite proud of us; how quickly and instinctively we had gathered when one of us was in distress… like a herd surviving in the wild. Four women, no ego, all love. #boom
Looking at their faces that day, and pretty much everyday that I see them, I cannot imagine my life in New York without these women. And I’m lucky that there are a handful of other people in this city, or just outside of it, that I am equally as grateful for. A professor introduced me to the Emily Dickinson quote years ago, “The soul selects her own society.” I loved that quote’s idea at the time, but I’ve come to understand it and appreciate it more fully as I’ve gotten older. As we all pursue our own endeavors, it’s common to face disappointment, discouragement, and temporarily lose sight of what’s marvelous about ourselves that others see all too clearly. A good society will reflect those things back to you until you believe in them again. And if you’re especially lucky, and have selected your society carefully, they’ll even make you laugh sometimes until you think you might go pee.