Thankful Challenge: Day 5 & 6

5

First of all…

Happy 99th Birthday to my idol, the ravishing and luminous Vivien Leigh!  She’s probably my favorite fellow Scorpio and us sharing a zodiac sign oddly makes me feel like I have some deeper connection with her (even though she’s no longer with us).  I hope that deeper connection also includes some percentage of her acting talents.

Anyway.

I’m thankful for my Midwestern upbringing, which has made me be the friendly, accessible person I am today.  To quote Ms. Leigh in A Streetcar Named Desire, “I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers.”  That is true, but a lot of times in New York, strangers have depended on the kindness of me.

Because of my friendliness (and probably the fact I don’t look like I’m going to pull out a switchblade on you if you disrupt my tweeting or iPod-listening like a lot of New Yorkers), I often get approached for subway directions or information.  Today after my audition and my usual post-audition ritual of grabbing a coffee at the Starbucks on 35th Street/8th Ave, I headed for the Herald Square N/Q/R station underneath Macy’s.  I made my way down the platform and a Q train pulled up.  As I made my way to get on, a clean-cut, middle-aged man approached me and asked, “Does this train stop near Bloomingdale’s, as in 59th Street?”

“Yes,” I replied with a smile, pulling out my iPod earbuds, “you’ll want to get off at 59th & Lexington.  There’s actually an entrance to one of the lower levels of Bloomingdale’s from the subway.”

He climbed aboard the train, “Thank you so much!”

“You’re welcome.”  I said as I moved toward the center of the car away from the doors.  I was putting my earbuds back in when he came back over.

“Not to bother you,” he said, “but what do you do?  You’re not an actor, are you?”

I laughed, “Actually, I am an actor.”

He smiled, “I thought so.  You have great presence and an energy that is wholly unique.  Where did you train?”

I told him and he asked, “Do you do film or stage?”

I replied, “I’d like to do both.  I was mostly trained for stage, but most of what I’ve worked on here since I moved has been student film stuff.  I’m very interested in film.”

“Well, I think you’re going to make it,” he said, “and I’m not just saying that.  You don’t look cookie cutter, and you carry yourself differently.  I knew Brad Pitt when he was a bus boy, and there was something about his presence and demeanor that was just different from everybody else.  You could just tell.  You have that too.  I feel that same energy in you.”

At this point, I just kept saying “thank you” every five seconds.

“You and he have lots of energy, but you both learned how to contain it and know how to release it when you need to, whereas I was all over the place as a kid.  I think you will do film and really make it.”

“Thank you,” I blushed, “I’m just not one of those people who has a need to always be the center of attention.  When I was younger, I was always outgoing and a huge personality, but these days, I just do my own thing and am pretty low-key, albeit still outgoing.”

He nodded, “Your presence is just unmistakable though.  And you have a great speaking voice.”

(WHAT?!  I’m SO self-conscious about my speaking voice.)

Another “Thank you.”

He pulled out a business card and started scribbling on the back with a pen.

“I promise I’m not hitting on you,” he laughed, “I have a lovely girlfriend.  This is my personal email address.  I’m an author with Simon & Schuster and also run a media company in addition to my work in the alternative medicine field.  I go to the Tony Awards every year and lots of entertainment industry events.  Shoot me an email, and if I can invite you to some events, I certainly will.”

I took the card, “Oh okay!  Thanks so much!”

He started to make his way toward the subway doors, “Really, I think you’re going to make it.  I have a sense about these things.  Thanks for the directions and the conversation!”

And with that, he got off.

So does everything happen for a reason or was this all just random?  If everything happens for a reason, I wonder what this meeting brings to my life.  And do I take the chance and email him or not?

I don’t know, but that was one subway ride and conversation I’m not likely to forget.  I may even read the guy’s book…it’s self-help about unlocking your potential.  How’s THAT for coincidence?

Or maybe, just maybe it’s fate.

6

Election Day.  And yes, I’m thankful to be able to vote.  So many have fought and died to secure our freedoms such as the right to vote, and I’m grateful for them.

But as a woman, voting still feels a bit like a newly secured right.  We were granted the right to vote only 92 years ago.  92 years.  Voting rights for women aren’t even a hundred years old yet.  Men have been able to vote since the formation of the original Thirteen Colonies.  Think about how different things could have been had women been able to vote for as many years as men.

So I’m thankful to women like Alice Paul, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Julia Howe who marched and protested, were beaten and jailed, but refused to give up until women were granted the right to vote.  I’m thankful because I now have the ability to help shape the future by voicing my opinions through my vote.  These women and others like them have more than proved the power of women cannot be denied.

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