The above blog title is something that many of us creative types ask ourselves. It is something that I’ve discussed with many people who do different forms of entertainment stuffs. It is also something that I’ve read in blogs or heard via various talks from people who work in the entertainment industry.
I really do have a bizarre life. It is both weird and wonderful. At times, I have a difficult time processing it all, especially as the life and things I currently do were not something I ever planned for. (I’ll elaborate more on that a bit later.)
My current obsessive thoughts, which are revolving around the one question, “When did this become my life?”, began on Monday. The previous Wednesday, I received an email asking if I wouldn’t mind taking a listen to the prologue of a new science fiction radio drama, The Minister of Chance, and if I liked the sound of prologue, they would happily send me episode 1 before release for me to review. So I listened to the prologue, without looking at who was involved. I liked what I had to hear and told them to send me episode 1 and perhaps we could set up an interview with some of the cast, for my radio show.
I laugh now when I think about it because I had no idea who produced it other than Radio Static or who was starring in it. All I knew is that I liked what I heard, it was set for release the day before my show, I had some spare time, it fit with my show and interests and it would be fun. I received an email last Friday from the Executive Producer, asking for a little bit of clarification regarding how the interviews would be carried out (times, dates, when it will be broadcasted, etc.) and with that information, she’ll see which cast members would be available. Still, I hadn’t checked to see who the cast was and who I could possibly be interviewing. It really didn’t matter to me, as all I knew is I liked what I had heard.
I woke up Monday morning to an email letting me that I would be interviewing Lauren Crace and Sylvester McCoy. Both names sounded oddly familiar to me but I could not place them for the life of me. Finally, I looked at their bios and my brain did a double-take when I came to learn that I’d be interviewing a Time Lord, the 7th Doctor Who.
I’ve had the awesome opportunity to interview some really fantabulous people and have many more lined up. Some of the interviews I pursued, some of them they pursued me, some were mutually pursued (for lack of a better word).
Every time I would ask someone if they wanted to be on my show, I always expected a no. You may be wondering why ask if you expect a no. The answer is simple: you’ll never hear a yes if you don’t ask. I am still waiting for my first no. Without doing myself any harm, so to speak, I really wish it would happen. It has to happen eventually, doesn’t it?
Recently, I emailed someone big enough where they need “people” hoping it would result in my first no, just so that I could get it over with and breathe that sigh of relief when it is finally out of the way. I didn’t get a no. I got a (to paraphrase) “He is currently really busy. We would like to see if we can work something out, but right now, it isn’t possible. Please email us back in 6 months.” (Part of me thinks I should shoot really big again, like Stephen Fry, or maybe less big, like Chris Hardwick, but I think a no from either would upset me too much. I want to interview them but I couldn’t handle those nos right now for a variety of strange reasons. Eventually, I will ask them, risking rejection, because I’ll kick myself if I never ask.)
When I’m the one who is approached to do interviewed, I find it so very strange that someone wants to come on my show. After all I’m just some girl from a small town in Canada. When it is a mutual thing and they are equally excited to work with me, that is odd as well. All of it is just so not what I ever expected to be doing with my life.
And maybe this is where a little bit of way-back-story is need for those of you who are new to this part of my world. I use to spend a lot of time on stage. And then lupus hit me hard and I lived through to very life-threatening happenings as a result of it. My 28th birthday, I spent in emergency with a hemorrhaging uterus. They got the bleeding slowed down with hormone therapy to a point where it was no longer life threatening. For a year, they tried unsuccessfully to get it to stop. At the age of 29, after one year of continuous bleeding, I had to have a hysterectomy. Then when I was 30, I had a full-blown left-sided stroke, leaving me to relearn how to do every thing. I was told that I could no longer do theatre and dance because the long hours and stress were going to kill me (both of these episodes occurred during or shortly after a very long production cycle).
Lupus had already prevented me from carrying on my post-secondary education. I was not allowed to work outside of the home. Now it had taken my uterus, my brain and the thing I lived for: acting and more importantly, dance. It was all I could do to not spiral into the dark depression that was my childhood and teenage years.
And then 3 years ago, when I was 32, I saw an ad for a radio personality. The job was remote. For two days I thought about whether or not I was going to apply. I knew I could do the job. I needed something creative for me to do. My soul felt as if it was dying. I could work from the comfort of my pyjamas. I could feel like I was being productive again, instead of feeling broken, useless and washed up. It would give me a few hours, once a week, where I could be normal and not someone with a debilitating, life-threatening illness. My reasons for wanting to do this were for nothing else other than to give me something creative to do. I didn’t care if nobody tuned in. I wasn’t going to do it for them. Besides, no-one gets famous doing radio (at least not in Canada, especially a girl from a small town). That isn’t why you do it. At least the odds of getting famous doing radio are quite small. I was banking on the odds saying I would go unnoticed. I NEEDED this job.
I went back and forth over this. The only thing stopping me from applying wasn’t because I doubted my ability, it was because THOUSANDS were probably applying (as they did) and what are the chances my email will ever get read or my CV looked at. I decided I didn’t care what the odds were. I’ll never know unless I tried and I’d hate myself if I didn’t at least make the attempt. So, I applied. Within 5 hours, I received an email wanting to set up and interview. I was hired during the interview and the rest is kinda history.
I started my Geeky Pleasures Radio Show and interviewed my first “big” name, Wil Wheaton. That was not planned for. I asked on a lark, expecting a no. It aired. Hardly any one took notice. I breathed a sigh of relief. Then I interviewed Phil Plait. He kinda (well there is no kinda about it) posted about it. People noticed. I was hoping it was just my “5 minutes of fame”. I was wrong. This event caused me to have to expand my blog from Blogger into Geeky Pleasures and this blog (eventually the Lupus Awareness Virtual Art Gallery would be created). I like to blame Phil for this. I also want to thank Phil for this, because despite my uncomfortableness with certain aspects of this “career”, I do get to work on some pretty worthwhile awareness projects that probably would not have gotten some of the recognition I think they deserve if my “footprint” had not increase.
(PS I feel all kinds of dirty right now talking about this and name dropping but ACK I have to purge this somehow. Hopefully by the end of this post, you’ll understand why and it will all be less yucky.)
So things grew and grew and grew and then I had to stop the radio part for bit. That sucked the soul out of me. And even though I was no longer doing radio, all these wonderful opportunities and people to work with were constantly being presented. Every single time, I freak out for a bit because on one hand, this isn’t what I planned for; this was not suppose to happen this way. On the other hand, I am extremely thankful to be able to do the things I get to do. These are things that I grew up believing just don’t happen, especially to small town Canadian girls. And even though I had thought for a brief moment that I’d like to become a professional actor or dancer, I knew that I would have to spend a lot of time grinding for it and I didn’t want that nor did I want to live my life under a microscope.
I was talking with somebody, who works in the industry, about this very thing at around this same time, last year. I was asking myself a lot of the same questions as I am now. If this was something I really pursued and wanted, that is one thing. But I just fell into it. Why on earth would people want to be on my show, etc., etc., etc. Don’t they know I’m just this girl from a small down in Canada?!? He told me something that really helped. It is something that I repeat to myself quite often when my brain does its “This isn’t what I planned for. What do I do?” He said, “It doesn’t matter where you come from when you live on the internet.”
However, sometimes it doesn’t stop my brain from this stupid thing that it does when it becomes gobsmacked over events not planned for, yet extremely thankful and grateful at the same time. If someone were to come up to me and tell they could undo it all, would I? No, I wouldn’t. I’m living a dream that I didn’t even know I was dreaming. Well, that isn’t exactly accurate. I’m living a dream that I had told myself my entire life was just not possible. At least not possible unless you were willing to pack up your life and move to Hollywood, while selling yourself out in the process.
Aside from living some bizarre version of a childhood dream, it allows me to things that I consider “greater good” projects, such as Lupus awareness, work to try and undo the damage of the antivaxxers and more.
I suppose this is just one more thing I can add to my non-existent bucket list: I had stories told to me by a Time Lord. I don’t care who you are, if you are a geek or a nerd, that is going to cause the child inside of you to become stupid with giddy.
And to go back to another point, I suppose one of the reasons I feel somewhat okay purging these crazy thoughts for the whole world to see is because I know I’m not alone in them. I’ve seen or heard pretty much every person I’ve ever interviewed say or write them. Most recently, I heard Phil Plait say in an interview that he had a huge crush on Jeri Ryan and is a major fanboy when at conventions. Some may argue that he has license to say those things as he has a bigger “footprint”. I like to think he, along with many others, share those things to: 1) Let us know they are just one of us; and 2) Let us know it is normal.
I think I just need to know that what I’m currently thinking and feeling is normal. And if you don’t think it is, imagine for a second that overnight, you fell into a life that you didn’t want enough to actively pursue and never intended to have. Suddenly, you have to navigate an entirely new existence without a map or compass. It isn’t easy. Let me tell you.
Hopefully, these amazing events keep happening. Hopefully, my brain never stop exploding when they do (which happens almost weekly, I feel odd talking about it so I rarely do) because that means I’m no longer grateful. And if it were to stop tomorrow, for whatever reason, wow… what a fantabulous ride this has been. The 6 – 10 year old child who’d spend hours fantasising about such things is beyond obnoxiously happy. The adult in me is still trying to sort it all out and accept that it is happening, despite it not being planned.
Odd thing, if I were not for the fact I was insanely busy this week, with no time to talk to my secret keeper, I’d probably not have written this blog. But I think I’m glad I did.
Just when you thought I couldn’t get more bizarre.