On Wednesday this week I woke up feeling absolutely horrid. When my eyes opened, I cursed the daylight and rolled over, hoping my comfy bed would somehow grow a mouth and swallow me. I had drunk several glasses of water just before going to sleep the night before, so that morning there was some, um, urgency, but even so, I could barely lift my head off the pillow, let alone lift my whole self out of bed to go to a different room. Facing the day felt impossible.
As soon as I could think, what ran through my mind were the following thoughts, on repeat: "OhmyGOD, did that really happen? How could I have been so unprepared? And why did I leave out all the important bits? How did that camera operator not adjust the highly unflattering angle? And why-oh-why can I never get my appearance right?!!! Wait, did that actually happen or was I on powerful hallucinogens yesterday? OhmyGOD did that really happen?" And so on.
It was a rough morning.
You see, I was having what Brené Brown calls a "vulnerability hangover."
How did this come about, you ask? That's a fair question.
(Most recently I wrote to you about assumptions, and guess what? There is an EPIC assumption at the heart of today's fun little story. Feel free to enjoy the irony!)
The story began last week when a guy named Joseph called me, identified himself as a producer of a talk show, and asked if I might come in and talk about New Year's resolutions. He said he found me through my Yelp page as he'd been seeking a life coach to discuss the topic of keeping New Year's resolutions beyond the month of January. I got a little smug, thinking about surprising him with my anti-resolution stance, and said, "Sure!" He thanked me profusely and said he'd email with all the details. This conversation lasted less than two minutes.
I decided to prepare by re-reading sections of many favorite books and taking detailed notes in outline form of the key points I wanted to make during the show. I spent a few hours doing this, and I felt solid.
The next day, I brought these notes to the station with me because I figured I could use them throughout the show. I read through them, idly, as I waited in the lobby for Joseph. This took a while, so I also meditated and told myself nice things like "You can do this! You were a teacher! You know how to talk and explain stuff!" I also started planning the celebratory phone call to Luke that I would make afterward in which I'd joke about becoming Frasier because not only was I a newly arrived single person in Seattle but also the radio show! Good stuff! Oh man, I was ready to be on the radio.
And then a cheerful young intern approached and asked me to follow her to the green room. "In a few minutes," she said, "I'll come back to do your make-up."
"It's no big deal - just some powder so that you don't look shiny with the HD. That's all."
HOLY &%#$. HOLY &%#$!!!
Now, I don't know what HD even means but I knew enough in that moment to get that she was talking about television. TELEVISION. Not radio.
Which meant that I had made a tremendous, mind-boggling, comically unfortunate mistake.
Correction: I had made many mistakes. Beyond my wildly inaccurate assumption about radio, I was also regretting my choice to dress "comfortably." I showed up for a television appearance in my glasses, a grey cardigan over a t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers. The very same outfit I'd worn that morning to meet a friend for breakfast in fishy Pike Place Market, and practically the same outfit I'd worn the day before. (Okay, fine, yes - it was the same outfit I wear pretty much every day, if I'm really being honest.)
I definitely died a little as I sat clumsily in the make-up chair. Stunned by my own recklessness, I thought I was going to shriek and vomit and cry all at the same time.
Thankfully that did not happen, by some miracle and/or the grace of angels and/or my professional history of pulling myself together even when I feel very, very afraid. (Most teachers know how to look poised while feeling completely terrified - just ask them!) In the meantime, I confessed to the intern that I'd been expecting to talk on the radio, and she just laughed kindly and offered to fix my flyaway hairs with some gooey glue stick. Which I gratefully accepted.
And then I took a deep breath and went on the television show. Actual television. Daytime television, thank goodness, but still television - on a reputable channel called KING5 here in Seattle, which is a flipping NBC affiliate, for Pete's sake. I walked on stage in a studio, sat down on a sofa with two hosts - one of whom was also wearing jeans (huzzah!) - and had a rapid, unedited conversation. And I showed up as myself, in a very public space, without lipstick or notes or any measure of sartorial elegance.
So that is how I wound up experiencing an extreme vulnerability hangover on Wednesday morning. Fortunately I have recovered since then, mostly through the fiercely loving assistance of several friends. And, at this point in the week, I'm mostly just cackling at myself like a lunatic, shaking my head, doing repeated palm-to-forehead moves, and thanking my lucky stars that I gave at least a passable performance in spite of the preceding comedy of errors.
Okay, and now? It makes me squirm and grimace and run for the chocolate, but here, for your entertainment, is the video. Yikes!
Much love from your wacky, messy, bewildered life coach,