I gotta come clean with you. I keep hearing the phrase “badass” bandied about and applied to me. I am not a badass. I play one on TV.
We are shooting a television show and I need to have certain abilities that do not come naturally to me, so I am working and pretending with guns and violence. One of my trainers, a man whose radiant power is eclipsed only by his radiant kindness, began teaching us disarming techniques. He held a toy rubber gun, the color of a bath ducky. It was the most cheerful decoy weapon on the planet. The moment he pointed it at me, I burst into tears.
On set, the first scene I had to employ a firearm at an oncoming threat, my body froze and I couldn’t pull the trigger. I screwed the shot because I was shaking. (It did turn out that the gun was wonky as well, but I knew I had been unable to do it.) It was pretend, but my body didn’t know that. I didn’t react from my mind. I reacted like me.
The first time the monsters rushed out of the haze into my eyeline, I scampered like a bunny. “Cut! Kim, you have to take the shot before you run!” Right. Right. Sure. I knew that. The sweet human inside of the costume would check in with me between every take. He knew I was terrified and was taking care of me. I needed reassurance it was fake and I was safe. I needed reminding that he wasn’t really a monster. Every. Five. Minutes.
I am not a badass. I’m coming clean with you so you know that if, on your off days or in your daily life you are scared and might look to some of us for inspiration, I am just like you. I whither under scorn, I struggle to make myself understood, and I nearly piss myself facing shit that can’t possibly hurt me. That’s just how I’m made. And that’s okay.
When I went out to my first weapons-training date a couple of months ago, I had a mini panic attack in the car. I called Matt Cohen. He is a personal muse of mine. Kind and wise, with a current of rage running under his being that he suppresses on a daily basis. I relate so deeply to this. I knew he would help me.
“Matt, I’m going to train with guns and I’m scared.”
He knows my story. He knows why. “Yeah,” he answered. “Guns are scary. But here’s the thing… you have a job to do and you don’t have the information you need to do the job. Go let knowledge take the place of fear.”
I have a job to do that is my life. We all do. I look at people who seem fearless and I envy them. But I look at myself, my tiny little mountains I climb, and I am proud of my tiny little wins. I am proud when I can choose to let knowledge take the place of terror.
I offer you this: I am not fearless. But I can be brave. So can you.