Published on
April 16, 2020
  1. Get a text from your friend. He’s out of town, but he wants you to meet up with someone. Says she’s in town for a month and wants to get into some photo and video stuff while she’s here. He gives you no name, but you do get a location and a time. You were on your way home. It’s Friday night. Typically you’d already be there with no plans, probably catching up on some TV shows with your cats and dog. You’re not sure about this. Who is this person anyway? Are you really the right person to connect with them? You’re already backed up on projects as it is. What does he mean “get into photo and video stuff”? Will this even be worth it?
  2. Say yes.
  3. Get to the aforementioned location with no name or physical description at your disposal. Decide to have one drink anyway and wait to see if your friend responds. Notice a girl playing beautiful music on the back patio of the venue you’re at and decide to sit out there even though it’s a very cold spring day. Regardless, you enjoy a non-typical Friday night by yourself, as she strums away at that ukulele with only a handful of audience members. You put away your phone. “This is nice,” You think to yourself.
  4. Notice the moon and wonder if it could be any brighter.
  5. Realize the girl playing music is the person you’ve been sent there to meet. Of course, you should’ve realized this before, because of context clues, but at least you did manage to figure it out eventually, you regular Sherlock you. After a few more songs one of them really touches you. The lyrics seem to be describing exactly how you feel, and your current position in life. There you are. Stuck on the side of the road. Not exactly sure where you’re going, but still needing to get there all the same. You find yourself transported. Forgiven — maybe — because now the feeling doesn’t seem so singular anymore. It means other people feel this way. It means this isn’t something unique to you. You didn’t make this up. You’re not going crazy. This feeling is — quite possibly — universal in nature. You’re not exactly sure that she meant for the song to be taken this way, but you took it that way anyway, and you feel like it was worth coming out just to explore these feelings.
  6. Wait for her set to be over and introduce yourself. Explain the situation. Confirm, yes, she is the person that you were looking for. You help her pack up the van. She says she’s going to another show downtown and asks you to tag along. You’re actually pretty close to home, but sure, you wanted to discuss the “photo and video stuff” anyway. It’s Friday. You’re already out. Why not?
  7. Talk about marriage. No — not between you two — that’s moving way too fast, even for me, but talk about marriage. How you view it. How she views it. How everyone else views it. It’s fascinating. How did you get on the subject? You don’t quite remember. You think it was something she said during her set. Either way, exploring these topics with strangers is always fun, and you happen to be writing a script based on the exact topic so you might as well figure out what goes on through people’s heads.
  8. Find yourself in the middle of a four seasons hotel listening to a rockin, soulful, very powerful rendition of “Dance with Somebody”. No this doesn’t have much to say about your current situation like that other song earlier, and you say it does then you’re looking too far into it. Just take it for what it is, a fun song for a fun night with some fun people. The truth is that you’ve been smiling over and over again tonight. It’s probably the most fun you’ve had in a while, and the night’s not even over. She suggest one last venue. Your mutual friend is back in town. You didn’t know because you’re phone has been dead for a while, and for that you’re grateful. It’s allowed you to live in this moment. To have great conversations. To experience new things.
  9. Meet up with your friend at the third venue of the night; which involves some rock-a-billy Americana band putting on a show for 10,000 people for a bar that can barely hold 100. The lead singer is somewhere in his 60s. Sweat drenches so much of his shirt you can barely see patches of its original color. People are dancing. There’s cheering, laughter, and a sense of community at this bar that doesn’t exist anywhere at your typical downtown locale. Before the last song the lead singer introduces his bandmates, and he talks about being homeless before all this, and how one of his guitarists got him where he is today. Pulled him out of the gutter, so to speak, and gave him a chance and pushed him and here they are. You wonder how that could be possible. They’ve been rocking all night and causing a glorious ruckus at this small bar and you wonder, “Is this what re-invention looks like?”
  10. Enjoy one last song.
  11. Join your friends to a 24 hour diner not even two blocks away. There you meet up with another small group. Strangers to you but friends to your friends. You get to know them quick as you try to pile 7 people into a clearly 4 person booth. These are musicians. Artists. Creatives. You didn’t know any (save one) of these people at the beginning of your night. Now you’re here breaking bread (see also: pancakes) and having coffee and talking to one of the girls about Lauren and Cameron from Love is Blind on Netflix because that has been the most fascinating shows about relationships you’ve seen in quite a while. Yes, it’s still trashy, but you’d be damned if you didn’t see a semblance of every single one of your past relationships play out within the course of the show. You feel at home. Like you’ve known them for years. These are your people, and you’re wondering where they’ve been your entire life.
  12. Be modest when your friend, the only one you knew before tonight, turns to everyone and talks about how talented you are at what you do. Self-deprecate because these are essentially strangers, and you have a history of letting others down. Your instinct is to downplay your skills, talent, and general existence so that no one gets their hopes up. You’ve realized that you’ve gone through approximately 30 years of others saying you’re something that you’ve never turned out to be. Others getting into relationships with you believing you’re confident, successful, and full of potential, only to be let down when they find out the truth: you’re not good enough. This knee jerk reaction is an attempt to keep other’s expectations low. Very low. As low as possible. The last thing you want is more abandonment or rejection. Besides, you know as well as anyone, there is someone always better than you. You’re not like your new friends here: determined, accomplished, good-looking, and self-assured. It’s best not to put yourself in the same category. Say “I’m not so sure about that.” OR “You’ve got the wrong guy.” And assume everyone will just nod, take the hint, and move along.
  13. Listen. Because someone did NOT move along. What is she doing? Giving you a lecture? She’s practically yelling at you. Own your stuff, she’s telling you, because she can feel the aura coming off of you. Your need to self-deprecate pops up again, but she doesn’t give you the chance. She wants you to know that you have something to give to the world, that you were made for great things, and that you’ve already proven that, and now it’s time to own it. What she doesn’t realize is that you had a similar conversation with yourself recently. You have been determined to practice more self love. To re-invigorate the confidence in yourself. You used to have the swagger of Han Solo; which was probably not the best role-model, but at least you didn’t hate yourself as much as you seemingly do now. You’ve wondered where that person has gone, and finding yourself has become a priority. Except now it’s not yourself telling you that, but her. She’s laying into you with encouragement. Challenging you to become who you were meant to be. Calling you out for what she sees in you after only having met you mere minutes ago. So you shut up, listen, and take it all in.
  14. Go home.
  15. By this point you will feel like a new person. That’s ok. You will wonder what world you’ve stepped into, as this is not the world you’ve come to recognize, and you are not the version of yourself that you were when you first entered. You will look around you at all the faces and wonder, is this where I belong? Can I be what she’s asking me to be? Am I really who they say I am? Is this really me? These questions are typical during intra-dimensional travel, and the results can be scary at times. You may find that you want to escape to familiarity, as everything about your current world and its surroundings are so strange to you. When the night ends and you’ve gone your separate ways, you’ll find yourself in your living room wondering whose stuff this all belongs to. You know it’s yours, but you’re also so unsure. You pull out your phone and see the new contacts and social media feeds. Are these your contacts? Are these your friends? Whose feed is this? You’re sure this can’t be right. Even as you look in the mirror and see the same person who has been there all along, you know that it’s not the same person. You are acutely aware that inside, something is different. If you are here, then where is you? When you came to this world, did you cease to exist? Or did they simply occupy your space in return?
  16. Do some calculations. Figure out the exact moment you entered this universe. Realize it was back there, in step two, and that you’ve already gone too far to return again. This is your life now, in this stranger’s world that you never intended to take over. Sure, you’ve inherited a lot of the same problems, relationships, and history as the person who was standing here before you, but there are a few differences to matter. Notably: You.
  17. Answer the question: Are you willing to inherit this universe? (Ie: Can you make the life of a stranger your own? Or will you derail it and try and make it more like your old one, pretending this never truly happened?)
  18. If you answered Yes, then continue convincing the world that you’re someone you’re not. It may feel like a deception, but over time they will never know the difference.
  19. If you answered No, then simply shut off your phone, go to bed, and when you wake up things will be back to normal.
  20. Repeat as necessary. The multi-verse is infinite. You may find that you want to continue hopping to different worlds until you find one to call your home. Just remember, every time you do this, another version of you will die, and we cannot comment on the ethics of such action. However, there are no other side effects or limitations as long as you follow the most important step of the entire process: Say yes.

Mattias is an actor, writer, filmmaker, and editor currently living in Los Angeles, CA. He often writes about his observations about life, the human condition, spirituality, and relationships. He also enjoys writing about movies, pop culture, formula one, and current events. Often these writings are 'initial thoughts' and un-edited, as authentic as possible, and should be considered opinions. If you're interested in commenting on his work, or continuing the conversation, you should consider following him on Twitter or share an article on social media, where he would love to engage even further. Consider subscribing via RSS for more.