Ever so often you run into a person that changes your world, so if only for a second. It might be they open a door you really needed opened, or close behind you a door you really needed closed. It may be that they understand what no one else has ever understood, show you a piece of life you were missing, or become so big a part of yours you can’t imagine life without them. The funny thing is, before they happened, you could never ever have guessed who they were or what they would be like.
I met my best friend, like really met her, the day I jogged up to her in PE and told her I was in love with the same boy as she was and shouldn’t we start taking dance classes together? (The guy happened to be a dancer.) I guess only someone as crazy as her would have agreed. Maybe because we both knew we wouldn’t get him, it made friendship possible. After all, we had the same favorite topic: Tommy.
Soon our topics changed – we fell out of love with the guy, but we fell in love with dancing and discovered we both loved cooking, health, spirituality and any kind of creative venture – nothing was safe when one of us got hold of a pair of scissors, a hammer, a needle, a rolling-pin, or a paintbrush. God knows how many paintings we have made, clothes we have revamped, flats we have decorated, or dishes we have invented. Not to mention how many guys we have discussed and life decisions we have made together.
I was set on becoming a doctor of medicine, but that fatal day in PE my life changed (or maybe it was when I laid eyes on Tommy on the beach that summer?). I really did fall in love with dancing. Realizing though that I had started late and that I couldn’t sing (making musical theater a difficult profession) I needed to find something else. Just before, or after, turning seventeen I went to see Entrapment. Catherine Zeta-Jones happened to have the same birthmark as me above her upper lip. Contemplating this that night I had a sudden revelation – I was going to try out acting.
I went to Vancouver that fall, took classes in Acting at the Vancouver Film School and realized I loved it. Still having problems choosing career paths though, as I wanted to do pretty much everything to do with art and health, I decided that filmmaking was it – because in the movies you can do anything.
After that me and my best friend decided that we were going to New York together to become stars. That year, or the one after, I also met Richard Branson. That is to say: I came across an article about him because someone sent me a magazine by mistake, mistaking me for being a millionaire (it is free and only sent to rich Swedes in the hope they will fall for the advertisement therein). I thought his life sounded fabulous so I decided I wanted to become an entrepreneur also. To this day I have never felt as understood as when I read Screw It Let’s Do It – Lessons In Life And Business. At least there is one other nutcase out there who has more business ideas a day than most people have in a life-time and he is a billionaire.
When me and my best friend decided we were going to NYC we thought we were going to live in a converted factory building as poor artist, before fame would come to us (or rather: us to fame). We even wrote a musical on the topic and put it on too. To this day I don’t understand how we managed to pull that venture off, but we did, albeit with a few hick-ups along the way.
Anyway, given NYU wanted to charge me incredulous sums of money for their filmmaking program (I never forget how my heart broke into a zillion pieces when I had to say no to them…), we ended up studying acting and directing in London and living in a place that looked like a converted factory building. Fighting mice, rats and hatching pigeons on the window sill we discovered that really, stardom better come quick.
At the same time as we were in London studying acting and directing, Tommy was there studying dancing.
We were still set on our plan to get to the other side of the pond, so we finally figured we’d have to continue our studies over there so as to get a visa. Said and done – we moved to LA to continue our studies and got rid of the mice in the process (I am still debating whether there are more mice or men in London).
Now we are about to set up our first business. Of course it is arty. Of course it is playful. Of course it has to do with food. Of course it has to do with health. Of course it is sexy. Of course it will be set up in NYC.
I don’t know if our biz venture will succeed or if we will ever be stars to the people outside our circle of friends that have seen our talents and eaten our foods. I know that if I had become a doctor I would have earned money the day I left school. I would have fulfilled my dream of working with children in Africa and Latin America without first having to earn millions so as to be able to help them in the way I want to. But I also know that if I hadn’t run up to my friend that fateful day in PE, I wouldn’t have known what it feels like to make leaps across a dance floor, see my scripts performed, direct a play that receives good reviews, move to LA, be best friends with my best friend, or really truly fight (with the mice) for a crazy dream you created at the age of seventeen.
Tommy came second in Britain’s So You Think You Can Dance this year. He became famous. So how about us?
Let me see…I ran into Tommy on the beach, I jogged up to my friend in class, I stumbled across Catherine Zeta-Jones’ birthmark on the big screen and I got Branson in my mailbox. Then there were a number of other people I bumped into during my journey…and yet more to come! I don’t think I could have dreamed up a single one of the these meetings. They really are too strange to be made up by anyone but life.
Of course there are other meetings too…lovers, friends, or people who just seem like they can read your soul…
So what magical meetings have you had that have changed your life?
Oh, and Tommy? www.tommyfranzen.com (I can’t believe we once upon a time danced on the same stage as him…that was a looong time ago…)