I can’t wait to be on Oprah. By then, we’ll both be uploaded to The Cloud. She’ll ask me all kinds of prying questions, ask me to open up about my family, my torrid affairs, the benders and breakers of my youth. Most importantly she’ll ask me how I get through the day. What keeps me motivated? Why do I do what it is that I do that makes me so eminently admirable, charismatic, and worthy of not one, but two EGOTs in the same decade? I’ll clear my throat, toss my hologram’s hair, and I’ll tell Oprah the secret: I owe it all to an anonymous high class escort whose advice haunts my every waking hour.
I’ll tell you now. You don’t even have to wait until my Oprah episode airs. Here’s what that million dollar lady of the evening said that echoes in my mind more fervently than any gospel or mantra I’ve heard before or since.
Get a pencil.
This escort chose to remain anonymous. She said, in an article about being in her line of work in the age of technology, “if you want clients to buy you Chanels and Choos, you must already own Chanels and Choos.”
I can’t stop thinking about this line. It’s almost like “dress for the job you want” meets “be the change” meets “I’m not bossy, I’m the boss.” My guardian angel here is saying if you don’t already acknowledge your own worth and outwardly demonstrate it, you can’t expect others to hit the mark.
You don’t become qualified for a job by getting it first; that doesn’t make sense. Even receiving the winnings doesn’t retroactively make you the winner. To achieve your dreams, you have to be an achiever first. Nicki Minaj isn’t Nicki Minaj because her agent said so. Nicki Minaj calls the shots. So too do we all.
Example. You want to marry… let’s say Kate Winslet. Good choice. You don’t become the kind of awesome girl Kate Winslet wants to marry by meeting Kate Winslet; she doesn’t have that kind of power (yet.) You have to be that awesome girl first. If you want to be the boss, people need to already treat you like a boss because you won’t accept anything less. They will know the score when they see the shoes. Nobody will get away with buying you Keds after that; you see what I’m saying?
“But Claire,” Oprah will say to me over her cabernet (we are drinking now,) “Claire, fake it til you make it can’t just become make it. We can’t all afford to jump straight to Choos. There are some steps here you seem to be skipping.” The audience will laugh, but we have transcended physical shoes in this technological plane. Now more than ever, the escort presents a powerful metaphor. But Oprah is kind of missing the point.
It’s not about ambition, really. It’s not about getting the raise, or the house, or the most expensive jewelry out of your John with The Offshore Account. In fact, let’s look at that line and take out the shoes entirely. The takeaway is simple now: if you want, you must.
It is already so miraculous that you personally exist when and where and how you do. It is astounding that you will exist tomorrow. You can want for yourself the shoes you deserve. You’re allowed. Work towards the vision of yourself that achieves the biggest dream you have, the dumbest and most astronomically improbable little bauble that you hoard in your darkest heart like a greedy dragon, that “no one might know how you’re failing if they don’t know you tried” goal. Why shouldn’t you try? Why shouldn’t you demand the best from yourself? Apparently, that’s how you get it out of others. Apparently, that’s how you can perpetuate goodness. If you want goodness radiated back at you, you have to radiate that goodness in the first place. If you want good things to happen to you, you have to make good things happen. That escort shared a wisdom I haven’t really begun to understand. Can she ever know what she has inspired?
Oprah will smile and nod. She’ll say, “that’s the most first-world white nonsense I’ve ever heard.” And that’s true.
But Oprah is wearing Choos, by jove, and Oprah earned them.