I re-read this several times with what I considered an impressive amount of skepticism, but honestly, I am not immune to words like producer, series, Los Angeles. So after taking 30 minutes to wander around my house pretending that I wasn’t a bit interested and it was all a mistake anyway, I did as the guy asked and called him.
He had read my story on the Huffington Post Divorce blog and was offering to fly me to their LA studio to be interviewed by Chelsea.
He didn’t seem to care that I am not very familiar with Chelsea Handler. He was even kind enough not to correct me when I said how much I loved the skit of Chelsea talking about getting messages from the Universe. Hilarious! I said. (It turns out that I was thinking of an Amy Schumer skit. Oh well.)
Despite my confusion, I know that Chelsea Handler is a blunt and bawdy stand-up comedian and former late-night talk show host. What would she want with me? I’m fairly certain that my personal story of betrayal and divorce is not the least bit funny.
But the producer insisted that Chelsea’s Neflix series would be a new direction for her. He called it her version of “60 Minutes” and said it would be straight journalism. She was focusing on marriage, but wanted to include a story of divorce as well.
“No one would be poking fun at you,” he promised.
Intrigued, I told him I’d think about it. And I tried to just think about it, I really did. But my imagination insisted on taking over and bombarding me with every possible scenario. I mentally rehearsed my answers to hundreds of questions, I considered outfits and shoes and whether I should get a haircut, I worried about whether they’d offer a hotel room, or if I’d have to make the trip in one day. I went beyond thinking. I lived the experience without ever leaving my house.
And I noticed something about my fantasies: in them, Chelsea kept morphing into someone who looked more like Diane Sawyer, and Diane, with her soft, kind eyes, was nodding thoughtfully at my deep and insightful answers. I was authentic and safe. Not the butt of a joke.
Then, just as the opportunity started to feel too surreal, my friend sent an article he found describing Chelsea’s new project as a docu-comedy, along with a quote that she was trying to figure out how to “be ridiculous and ask inappropriate stuff.”
Of course she was, because that’s what she does, and she’s very good at it. So, although I’m sure I’ll enjoy the final show, I won’t be in it. But thank you Chelsea Handler! That little flight of fancy was just what I needed to fine-tune my dreams. It reminded me that anything can happen on the path to my goals. It awakened me to a clearer vision of myself. And imagining myself being interviewed forced me to articulate my message.
I blurted it recently to another friend and it finally felt just right: I want to be the book in someone’s lap that, in that quietest of moments, says you are not alone and all is well.
How about you? Imagine that you have a camera pointed at you and millions of people listening, and you’re asked, “What’s your story? Why are you here?”
What do you say?