My knee jerk reaction to the world is, “No! Go away!” I think that is why my favorite place to be is in bed with a cup of tea. I mean you can’t be more “in retreat” than not getting out of bed and losing yourself in a book. But, as I wrote in January, I want to be “open for business,” and part of being open for business is saying “YES” to the universe when it beckons us.
I heard on the radio the other day, on the MOTH radio hour to be exact, a woman talking about the magical quality of saying “YES.” She said, “The thing I love about saying YES – is that where you start and where you end up can be two totally different places based on all the different things you say YES to.”
So here goes my journey of saying yes:
Back in October I was offered a tiny part in an action movie. Great! Yes! Except the part was so small it didn’t even have a name. I mean a part with no name! Am I that dead? It didn’t pay much, but was shooting in Bavaria (I thought they meant Bolivia) and I would get to fly first class. Side note: it is possible I am a first class whore; excuse me, a whore for first class. I would fly to hell if my seat turned into a bed and they gave me champagne on takeoff. And there were other perks: first of all – it made me find out where Bolivia is (I mean Bavaria) so it was educational, next I would get a lot of Frequent flyer miles so it would be enriching, and finally I would get to take my brother so it would be bonding. And what trumped all of that was, I want to be open for business.
I said, “YES.”
How “YES” turned out:
The first day on the set we broke for lunch and I dutifully got in line with my tray. I asked the caterer what was on the menu, expecting the usual movie fare, (chicken, fish, etc.) And he replied, “Stag.” …. Excuse me? “STAG!” he said much louder. I stuck with Bavarian yogurt, which, by the way, is delicious. Just because you say, “YES” doesn’t mean you have to eat, “YES.”
My brother and I stayed in a fancy hotel, I laughed till I cried with the brilliant actor, Victor Garber, and got to watch Jim Broadbent act. Educational again.
The crew was lovely, smart and funny. The director, who was Finnish, cracked dirty jokes behind the monitor and drew obscene cartoons on the back of his script. Pencil drawings of large hairy men scratching their large hairy balls. He was also kind and sweet. It was wonderful to work with him.
Feeling very adventurous, my brother and I rented a car and drove out to the countryside to visit crazy King Ludwig’s castle.
There were several LONG lines to get tickets to Ludwig’s, and when we finally reached one of the counters I was recognized, “Lynette!” All the sales ladies promptly shut their windows and hustled me into the back for pictures. Now, if this had been New York City there would have been a minor riot, or at least some serious fucking swear words thrown around. But in Bavaria, everyone waited patiently and politely for the impromptu photo shoot to be over. We got lost driving back to the city and watched German women herd cows on bicycles.
Next NO turned “YES.”
I was invited to be a part of a Forbes Executive Women’s Forum. It’s the brainchild of Moira Forbes (my new favorite person) and her pal Ellen Grasso – here is a link to check it out. The Forum is an informal, no press dinner where executive women come together to network and discuss key issues that are, “Keeping them awake at night.” At this particular dinner held in Silicon Valley, there were going to be the most accomplished women executives from Google, Adobe and Twitter to name just a few. What an honor! What a thrill! I would love to be a guest at that dinner … “YES!” But then Moira Forbes called me personally to go over the details. The details? Oh…I wasn’t a guest I was THE KEY NOTE SPEAKER! Huh? They wanted me to be the … Keynote speaker?? Let’s go back a few sentences, the most accomplished women in Silicon Valley…and me.
I mean, what could I possibly talk about that these highly accomplished, corporate women would want to hear?
I wished desperately I had a checkered past and could talk about all the movie stars I had crazy sex with, how Hugh Hefner once did bumps of cocaine off my stomach, or how a Dubai prince dropped diamonds in my martini one year at the Golden Globes.
So, while I was trying to figure out how to say NO to Moira, I remembered my desire to be open for business.
Then, I was terrified. I worried, wrote, fretted and was nauseous for weeks. I so regretted saying, “YES.” I envisioned catastrophe. “And now Ladies, please welcome, straight from an action movie where she played blond woman #2, Felicity Huffman!”
But in the cab on my way from the airport to the dinner, I suddenly thought, “Hey wait a second – they invited me! I am not responsible for how this night turns out. I am responsible for saying, ‘YES.’ I am responsible for working hard, being prepared and …bringing what I bring! If they wanted somebody more interesting … then invite someone more interesting.”
So I talked about mothers and mothering. It’s common experience. Everyone has one or is one. During the evening everyone engaged, shared and listened. Except for one woman, a former therapist. She didn’t listen to anyone and just gave pronouncements – she was a pain.
There have been several more journeys’ but these were the big ones. In all of them I ended up somewhere completely different by saying, “YES.” I now have new heroes: Moira Forbes and Ellen Grasso.
I had an adventure with my beloved brother. (I think our last adventure was when he sat on my chest and spit in my face to keep me from going to a birthday party. I finally escaped and threw all of my Mother’s kitchen knives at him. We got in so much trouble we ran away).
Is there anything the world is inviting you to do? Something that your first reaction to is, “No” or “It’s too scary” or “I could never do that?” Have you said, “YES.” Have you said, “NO.”
Let me know, I want to hear.
Enough of “YES.” I am going to go read in bed.