There I was, sweating my bollocks off in a room that was so hot it was like Lucifer himself was breathing fire up my arse. The windows were closed because of traffic noise outside, and the lights of our makeshift studio blasted the kind of heat that causes beads of salty moisture to dance jester on upper lips, the backs of knees to grubby and moisten.
I repeated my question a fifth time, trying to look encouraging as the doctor responded on script. Smiling. Sweating. Smiling.
It’s a project I’d been working on for weeks. A client at work needed video content on their website and I, because of my big fat fucking mouth, was heading up the production.
I don’t know- I guess I’d just started at my new job and was trying to make an impression because that’s what I do. Make An Impression. The Laura Show. When I bore witness to a conversation about those videos really need to get done, and we’ve asked Bob to think about sorting it out and Cheryl knows somebody with a video camera, I found myself saying, “I’ll do it.”
You know, what with all of my video production experience and all.
So days passed on the relay baton to weeks, and I spent minutes and hours writing a brief, amending a brief, getting a brief approved. Budgeting. I used common sense and asked questions; scheduled; begged, stole, and borrowed the time of other people far more adept at these things than I.
I spent so long on the phone that I’ve gone all Van Gogh- only my right ear has feeling anymore.
And so, I’m just going to go right on ahead and say it: for most of the process, I was a whiny little bitch. Because, in my imagination, I didn’t sign up to produce testimonial videos for websites. That is supposed to be somebody else’s life, somebody else’s job. In my imagination, any second not spent making pretty sentences for websites and blogs and journals and newspapers is wasted, because I Am A Writer.
I’ll give away the ending to this story: my attitude? It stank. And also let’s not overlook the fact that I technically did sign up to produce testimonial videos for websites because, urm, I volunteered for the project, so, yeah. NICE LOGIC, LJW.
More than anything I was probably just frustrated at myself, guys. It was really hard work and sometimes jobs are for Tweeting from and sometimes they're for developing your skill set from and I guess I just felt more like telling you what I had for lunch and what book I was reading because: laziness.
By Monday morning, as I got up super early to stretch and meditate and breathe in my special scented candle, I ended up talking to myself in the mirror. Just one more day, Laura. Get through today and then you can go back to your words.
Then the videographer text: So sorry- booked a cab last night but have just been called to say it’s twenty minutes late. I’m in another taxi now so will be with you as soon as I can!
I checked the time. Six weeks of planning and we’d start behind schedule.
The morning passed in a hot, background-noise riddled frustration as I settled into my role, asking and guiding and prompting and approving outwardly, clock watching and making promises to myself that involved buttered popcorn and Dawson’s Creek inwardly.
And then came Mary.
Mary lost 70lbs last year to become a trim size 14, changing her life by altering her appearance because under the extra layers of warmth she carried for years and never could quite shift was a line-dancing, dolphin-diving, sleeveless-top-wearing badass chick.
She agreed to go on camera to talk about her experience, like the client needed, not because she was comfortable doing it- she wasn’t- but because the service she used to rediscover herself genuinely changed her life. Mary and I had never met, but from the calls we’d exchanged I knew her story, her journey, and I was genuinely looking forward to meeting her.
She was so charming, and so excited to be on the shoot, that suddenly, without warning, I saw myself through her wide, intimidated eyes as she took in the room. Young twentysomething PR in London Town, red lipstick and black dress, making videos and writing scripts and directing cameras and telling everyone what to do, with confidence.
Mary lapped up every moment of an experience I was only trying to endure, and her humility, her way, it made me realise that wow- I need to remember to be a lot more grateful about what I do.
It’s easy to pull out the diva card, sometimes. It’s easy to forget how far you’ve come.
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