A few weeks ago I showed up for a friend. She’s a super talented actor and she had produced, directed, and put her mark all over her Unsupervised Sketch Show at Bar Lubitsch in West Hollywood. She gave me a solid block of laughter on a night I really needed it.
We all have moments when we see something we really want, and then we’re blindsided by the other side that we tried to refuse to see. We’re smacked with a painful and dirty reality. But that night she helped me laugh. When the show was over, she gave me a hug to hold me up and together and I woke up the next day feeling like this wasn’t a funk I wanted to stay in. I woke up determined to shake that feeling. I stood in front of my bedroom mirror and outloud said to myself, “what is your contribution? You don’t get to be a taker, stuck in your head and wallowing in disappointment. What are you going to contribute?”
I got to work and did a first live stream that was about contributing, and not about being stuck in my head. This moment came on Veteran’s Day and the weight of the remembrance I was in was profound. This came just after President Elect Trump won the election.
The point for me was it’s not enough to sit in my funk. How could I be the person I wanted to be if I wasn’t actively contributing to the world around me?
Last night I was at Blind Dragon Karaoke but I was an hour late because I got to show up for a stranger in Roku. Yeah, I’m embracing childcare so I can go clubbing on a Monday night like I don’t have a full shift the next morning. I could complain about sitting in a bar when my friends were in another venue all together, but I believe everything happens the way it’s supposed to. We cross paths with people all the time and it was a moment for me to give to her.
She was kind in leaning in to tell me that I’m beautiful. She was too. She was a tall leggy blonde and going through her own moment of disappointment. I encouraged her the way I would encourage myself. A few years ago I would have been anxious about missing out on what I had planned to do, but I felt like I was where I needed to be. By the time I left, she was on her way to being just fine. I was able to enjoy my friends for a while. I sang (badly) to a few songs (and had an epic time of it). I checked back in with her on my way home and she was fine. I headed home and was in bed by 12:15 and I felt like it was a terrific night. I felt like I had given of myself in authenticity.
My goal as a person is to be brave, in spite of fear. Courageous in spite of physical discomfort. Heart led, so my needs are never greater than those of the whole . . . While not becoming a martyr because I can’t contribute if I’ve sacrificed myself.
Sometimes showing up just means you arrive in the authentic space you occupy. I was exhausted yesterday, but determined to get a sitter and show up for birthday celebrations for people I know and love. I showed up in exhaustion. I showed up in transparency. I showed up with an open willingness to take what came as a gift offered to me and a gift in which I get to give of myself. I was met in a room full o f love and joy.
What do you contribute outside of what you feel? It’s so easy to get stuck in your head with the things said to you or the things you can’t quite comprehend. It’s easy to look at what you are used to and disregard or dislike anything that is foreign.
An easy way to contribute outside of yourself is to reach outside of yourself. Sometimes giving is as simple as giving a smile, or a hug. You don’t have to fake a feeling you don’t feel, because being open in vulnerability allows others to reach into something they feel and offer empathy. You get to receive that. Sometimes there’s a disconnect and you aren’t met when you reach out, but that’s okay too. You get to continue practicing living with your heart outside of yourself where it can do the most work in creating deeper connections with your world, removing biases and fear. You get to be your authentic self and transform the prejudices against your exterior from a position of the authority of your birthright.