Sweet Relief

Today was a big day: my neurology appointment and my headshots.

I don’t know why I scheduled seeing the neurologist for 9 am. I think I was just so happy to get an appointment sooner than July that I snatched up the first time they offered. So I dragged myself out of bed at 7:15 and was on the subway an hour later. Even after getting lost (why do so few buildings in Philadelphia have numbers on them?!), I was on time. As I was waiting to be seen, I saw I had an email from my headshot photographer. It was supposed to storm around the time of my session, so she was wondering if I could come in earlier. I said that that was no problem; my appointment would probably be over around 11. Perhaps she misread my message, because she wrote back, “Great, see you at 11!” Still- my appointment was only supposed to take an hour, tops. But, you know… doctors. I don’t think I got into her office until 9:30.

She was awesome, though. She was very thorough and nice and made sure I understood what she was saying. I also wasn’t embarrassed/ashamed answering her questions like I am with some doctors. Then again, she’s probably the first doctor I’ve seen in the last year and a half besides my eye doctor who I’m seeing for something besides a stigmatized illness. My migraines are pretty much out of my control. I don’t really do anything to trigger them, since I know what my triggers are and, as the  doctor said, in order to stop those, she’d have to control the weather and the population.

I knew from my reading that if my “only” problem was migraines, there wasn’t much that could be done. Very little is known about migraines even today, but I wanted to make sure that mine weren’t the result of something more serious. It doesn’t seem like they are, which is good, but I’ve still been put on a new prescription medication, which doesn’t make me happy. At least my previous prescriptions have been written by a single doctor; I’m afraid of what mixing them might do. However, my therapist had mentioned that the medication I ended up being prescribed, would probably be the one they chose, which was somewhat reassuring. But it does make me nervous that I’m taking medication for epilepsy that could slow not only my speech, but my thoughts. We’ll see what happens; I’ve been able to deal with side effects in the past, and I don’t get many in general.

There was only one uncomfortable part of my exam (well, besides my reflexes being tested. That will never stop being weird), which was that a medical student was observing the process. She was nice and very professional and just sat in the corner, but I could feel her watching my physical reactions to everything, and it was kind of weird when the doctor completed the final part of my tests and immediately turned to the student and said, “See? A full neurological exam in five minutes. All of that, in five minutes.”

Despite the exam only taking five minutes, the full appointment was long enough that I knew I’d be cutting it close to make it to my shoot on time. As the subway slugged along, I knew I’d definitely be late, which stressed me out. Kim, the photographer, had told me there was almost always parking on her street, so I wasn’t worried about that… until I saw that there was some sort of market going on, which apparently attracted all the car owners in the city. I ended up parking in a paid lot three blocks away from her house and was sweating in the warm weather by the time I knocked on her door. But as the testimonials reported, she put me instantly at ease, assuring me that my being 15 minutes late wasn’t a problem, since she had changed the time so late.

I’d met Kim before when she came to one of my classes my junior year to give us feedback on our musical auditioning. Obviously I couldn’t know everything about her from watching her for two hours and interacting for five minutes of that time, but I did remember she was super nice and made everyone, even the non-singers, feel good about what they had brought to class. I don’t need a photographer to fawn over me while I’m getting my pictures taken (actually… please don’t), but I do want to feel comfortable and supported by that person.

I definitely felt that today. Maybe because she’s an actor, too, she understands why it’s necessary to shoot for “type.” The last headshots I got were done by a guy who, besides making me feel very uncomfortable by shouting “Hot! Oh, that’s sexy!” while he snapped away, insisted on putting me in heavy makeup. Even after I spoke up and told him that he needed to take a lot of it off because I played children, what I ended up with was a glamour shot: I look pretty, but I’ve never ever walked into an audition looking like that, and I’ve never played any one who was supposed to look like that. Kim, though, did very natural make up that looked great in the pictures, and though she said nice, encouraging things to me while she was shooting, they made me feel good and confident as opposed to slimy and creeped-on. The best thing about the shoot was that, probably also because she’s an actor, Kim knew how to help me work the camera. Besides instructing me to do some tricks I already do so I didn’t feel like a Top Model wannabe when I did them, she basically gave me an action to play. “I want you to look down, and on ‘three,’ look at me like you know who the boss is and it’s you,” or “like if I were upset, I could come and talk to you.” It was really great and gave me something to do besides smile stiffly.

We shot outside for about an hour, and as we went back to her studio, she was like, “Now I can show you some of them!” I always hate this part of any photoshoot. I don’t enjoy looking at myself; I don’t spend a long time in front of mirrors, I avert my eyes when I walk past windows, and I never ever take selfies. But I actually didn’t cringe while looking at Kim’s pictures. I still didn’t enjoy looking at ME, but I could see past that and appreciate the quality and ME-ness that could be seen in the picture. I look my age, which is great, since in my glamour shot, I look older, which I rarely play. I’ll get the proofs in a couple of days, and I’m actually excited to see them! I’m sad that I can’t bring them to my audition tomorrow!


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