I always wanted to be successful in my chosen career. Of course, everyone has those ambitions. No one strives to be mediocre. But success can be a lonely place if you let it all go to your head. Tonight we celebrated our soon-to-be-wrapped movie. At first it was awkward. No one knew if it was ok to let loose, dance, drink, and be merry. Finally, our director threw up her hands and started dancing and never stopped. She danced with everyone, no matter if she knew them or not. Once she started, everyone took it as their cue and FINALLY, FINALLY shed their stoic exteriors, threw back some drinks and hit the dance floor. We all had a ball. The playing field had been leveled. It lead me to thinking, “if only the tone during production could have been like this. If only she had jumped in, arms raised, and started dancing.” We all would have followed, with wild abandon, and gladly joined her in the conga line. Watching her for a moment, I almost had respect for her. I saw the person she could be (and maybe was, at some point in her life).
As I was leaving, we ended up riding down alone together in the elevator. We had never had a conversation. She started one. I introduced myself. She glanced up at me. “Of course,” she said. “You’re Ashley. I might need you to do some things for me this week.” I watched her, wearing her black-framed glasses, dressed impeccably (of course) in head-to-toe black, her hair still perfectly coiffed, eyes glued to her Blackberry screen. I also saw a very lonely woman. One that can only let go a little bit for one night. One who sees only what others have to offer her. One who will keep making the same movie, over and over again, telling the single story she owns, because it’s the only thing she can do for herself. We exited the elevator. She didn’t say good night. Just stood there, waiting for her car to pick her up. I hailed a cab and headed back downtown, happy I know how to do things for myself, how to wear glasses that aren’t always rose-colored. In that moment I realized I am successful. I know who I am, I see what other people have to offer the world, and I know that sometimes, to get everyone on-board, you just have to throw up your hands and dance.