I suppose there are levels at which we're comfortable in our life. We surround ourselves with the people who make us feel safe, friends in our life that are like us. We don't want to under reach or over reach. We want to travel around in a job that lets us feel competent, in a social circle where our friends understand us.
I am a contradiction of many things. I'm usually as comfortable walking around in a room full of glitz as I am hanging out with the boys in the dart room talking smack, smoking and cussing. I've walked around seedy druggie houses where I noticed that different rooms were for different drugs. I have sat in the room with millionaires at charity events. People are fascinating to me. I'm not scared of them. I've partied with the elite and the fashionable and people that had not showered in a long time. I have always walked the middle of the road. Who were you in high school? Who are you now? What does that first social experience and place in small society say about you?
I am interested in what makes me feel dirty and last night I came home and felt dirty and I was at a party with the elite. Maybe it is because my motives weren't pure. Maybe it is because though I walked with them, I never felt I belonged with them. Maybe it is because I always did feel like a fraud. I feel that way other places. When I walked around the drug house, I knew I wasn't one of them. I knew I was just an observer in a world that wasn't mine. I knew that these people did not want to look too closely at themselves for fear of what they might see. I feel the same way at church. I don't share all their beliefs. That I secretly disagree, that I believe that homosexuals are made by God and not an abomination. That I believe in evolution. I pretend for the sake of my daughter so she can benefit by getting a better education.
I have pretended at jobs I hate. Maybe I fit in a little, more often I spent a lot of time thinking, knowing, this job is beneath me but I am afraid to push myself to my full potential so here I am and here I will stay until I take myself more seriously but meanwhile, things like eating and having a roof over my head were important.
Still all of these things I am glad that I did. I'm not afraid of different class systems, some people are terrified to ever step out of their comfortable worlds. I have noticed the sour grape syndrome. Rich people are snobby. Poor people are disgusting and filthy. I don't want to hang out with them. Well, you haven't met them, you have only made assumptions.
I walk wherever like. I have clothes that I can put on my body that allow me to go where I won't be noticed as different. I can put on the shell of whoever I need to be and talk the required talk. There was no cussing last night. I noticed that. Polite company requires polite talk. How funny. The worst word I noticed was bitch. You would think when they were all drunk at the after party, a naughty word would have slipped out.
Sometimes I think movies are the great equalizers. Maybe it is why I am so drawn to acting and illusions. I can put on the shell of who I need to be. The wealthy can go to the theater and see a glimpe of another world and feel something without being intimately involved in it. The poor kid can go to the movies and see the fantasy world of the wealthy and feel a part of it, get a snapshot that rich people cry, too. We can live in each other's world from the safety of our seats.
So I went to this event last night with the hope of connecting and networking with people with disposable income. I went ready to sell some of my talent and my ideas, you know, fitting it into polite conversation. I did not meet nearly enough people there, and probably did not make nearly enough connections but I definitely made some that may or may not pan out. And for some reason, I came home feeling dirty. Maybe it was the asshole I encountered right at the end of the night. He was a total insecure playboy, the only thing he had going on was the fact that he had hung on to a decent head of hair, because underneath it, he was pure snake.
I knew who he was going home with. The drunk blonde. I wondered if she knew he had herpes... (okay I don't know that but it certainly seemed like he was a good candidate)
Maybe it is because as a writer in me observes these things when I meet people, that I try to draw out who they are. Maybe I felt dirty because though I have mastered a certain form of manipulation, I always feel terrible about it. Is it because I have a conscience?
Though I had a certified invitation to this party and crashed it anyway, I think that I will never be completely comfortable with this group. I feel great with certain individuals who are a mutual part of this whole experience with me but as a whole, I don't belong in this world.
There are places where I feel utterly myself but am still bound by social conventions that even there make me feel like a fraud. I had to sit down afterwards and analyze this dirty feeling. Was it the snake? Was it the whole clandestine operation complete with agenda and material preparation?
This is the same way I felt after the 10 year reunion and not even any of those girls were there.
I suspect this is the way I feel about me. I have to untangle the lessons I need to learn out of this experience.
First, I am going to have to deal with wealthy patrons if I am going to fund my films. I have to learn to raise this money and even though it is distasteful to me, I have to deal with feeling like a fraud while still being the authentic me. Those girls worked very hard to make me feel like I did not belong back in high school but the simple fact is, just by virtue of me being there, I was a part of their shared experience, a part of their club, a member whether they wanted me or not. And I deserved to be there, I was among the best and the brightest and I was not a dumb kid. I really soaked up being intellectually stimulated.
Many of them were not the best or the brightest and I am sure they felt that way every day. Many more kids toiled along without the opportunities I had and deserved to benefit from a good education but did not get it. The best and the brightest are out there every day. Life is not fair that way, some kids are given better opportunities than others.
I met people working at restaurants who had brilliant minds but never believed they could acheive. Brilliant minds stuck in drugs or agoraphobia.
I'm glad I step out of my comfort zone, even if I feel like a big fake sometimes. It enhances me as a person and as a writer.
I guess I will never enjoy playing the game but I will enjoy making my art and finding out about people and digging deeper to see who they are. I even enjoy meeting snakes, I just cannot let them attach themselves to me but I love writing about them.
I'm already feeling better about this now. Less dirty. More me.