It was the last shot of the day. We’d been shooting for hours already and were finally turning around to get coverage of my two lines. The words had all but crumbled in my mind, the result of repetition had drained all weight and meaning. It was like running with a backpack to catch a train, arriving, breathless, only to find the contents had escaped, leaving behind an empty, gaping (laughing?) mouth. All the preparation I’d done was inaccessible to me now, I could only trust my instincts, and the momentum of the moving train. I mustered what energy I had, trying not to squint into the newly positioned lights. There were thoughts, when did I eat last? Did I turn my phone off? And action! Cut. I didn’t make any mistakes or mumble my words, but it was far from brilliant. That fist clenching expression that says, “I nailed it!” was a distant echo from some other movie set. The director came over, and after a brief moment of intense contemplation, he said plainly, “We need more Nicki. That’s why you’re here.” I nodded before he had time to finish. Yes, of course, story of my life. “Just be yourself!” “Oh, that’s so you!” “You’d be so perfect for that role.” But what does that even mean? Can someone please spill the beans because it appears to be obvious to everyone but me? Then I chuckled. In actuality, I am the only one who really knows. I’m the only one alone with my thoughts; with my feelings, my fears, my desires, and my memories—true or untrue. All others see are the sparks—the friction between my soul and my smile, dampened only by the shackles of my yearning to be accepted and understood. But within that desire for identity, within the search for self, is the key to better understanding and experiencing this “me” everyone keeps talking about. So while I really had no idea what the director’s vision was, nor the quality of Nicki-ness he was hoping for, I brushed aside the fear and the judgement and did what I do best: absolutely nothing. I just watched myself experience the moment, with no expectation and no fucking idea what was going to happen. Oh, and… I nailed it.