It goes something like this:
We arrive on set. Bags are dropped to the floor and hands are shaken. We fill the silence with the sound of introductions, common courtesy, and the mutual excitement we share for a good shoot.
They go to prepare, checking their cameras and adjusting their settings. I run my hand through my hair and glance into a mirror at my reflection. How is my face? Is my makeup satisfactory? I resist the urge to reach for my foundation and force a few deep breaths. Inhale, exhale, inhale... -
They are looking at me. How long did I make them wait, I wonder, as I look desperately to the clock. Call time, it reads. I haven't lost them even a minute past our agreed upon start time, but I wring my hands just the same.
The shoot begins, and I am always deeply grateful when it does. We are past the pleasantries. There is no longer a wait for my mind to spin incessantly during. As I move, I settle into my place of absolute silence. A place where all thought stops and the conscious Christine melts away into something else entirely.
Like that, we shoot. If the photographer is good, they'll know how to reach me in my place without disturbing it, and for that moment in time, I can float... Posing, dancing, celebrating this human form as the shutter encourages me to go on, keep on.
When the shoot is over, it is with relief and a touch of sadness. Relief because of how exhausted I am by the end, and sadness because it must end.
We pack our bags, say our thank you's and goodbye's, and I head home in a blur. Eventually, the images are shared with me, and when I meet the eyes of the woman on my screen, all I can think is, "Who is she?"
Because I am me again by then, and I cannot say for certain that I am her even if we inhabit the same body.