Life Uncorked: Finding Beauty in Unlikely Places ⎮ Lisa Hickman

January 2, 2018

Today in our series Life Uncorked: Inspiring Truths from Everyday People, Drinking the Whole Bottle brings you Lisa Hickman, an actress and author of Ordinary Magic. I actually have never met Lisa but when a mutual friend posted about Lisa’s new book on Facebook (proving that social media is as social as the name suggests), I reached out. Her book seemed to be about all things I love: New York City, magic in small moments, and “an appreciation for finding beauty in unlikely places.” It seems she already understands about living life uncorked. So let’s get to it…

Lisa Hickman, an an actress, author, adjunct theatre professor, and SlimFast ambassador who tends bar in her spare time – on mistakes and keeping your mouth shut when you’re loading the dishwasher.

Did I mention I already love her and we’ve never met?

finding beauty in unlikely places



MISTAKES ARE OK. And not just ok, inevitable! One time I was auditioning for a commercial as “Mom” with a terrific, freckled seven year old. We knew the lines perfectly, but in the room, “Daughter” went up on her line. I ad-libbed to cover and when she realized this, she screamed suddenly and began giggling uncontrollably. Of course, giggles are contagious and once I started snort-laughing, the casting director also doubled over in laughter. None of this usually happens— which explains that unusual electricity in the room, the brightness of three strangers sharing joy in a single moment. We agreed to take one more just as my pig-tailed scene partner—wise beyond her years—cheerfully shrieked, “Mistakes are OK!” So we danced the giggles out and did another take and it was perfect.

KEEP YOUR MOUTH CLOSED WHEN LOADING THE DISHWASHER. This is a lesson I learned the hard way while bartending in midtown. It was a crazy Friday night and I’d been passed over for another big acting job and was thinking I’d be bartending well into my eighties if things didn’t turn around for me soon. My mouth was wide open in anger and revulsion as I dropped each crusty half-licked sugar-rimmed lemon-drop martini glass into the dishwasher—when suddenly, a tiny piece of a cherry from someone’s partially consumed Manhattan flew into my mouth.

Know what I took from that wildly unsavory experience? Whenever you’re doing something tough, gross, or “below” what you think you were meant to do, move through it without giving it extra attitude. Don’t open your mouth to complain or hang your mouth open in silent commentary on how you’re “so much better than this.” Clench your teeth if you have to— dig into that task. It takes grit to do the thing that will get you the thing. (And grit tastes a whole lot better than someone else’s half-eaten cherry!)

finding beauty in unlikely places
Photo by Mike Olivieri

DON’T STOP. When my dad died suddenly, my world stopped. Getting up in the morning was super-hard, but I was certain my dad wouldn’t want me staying in bed with dirty hair, purchasing lip balms from QVC until the end of time! So I got out of bed each day and moved my body in some way, even when I wasn’t feeling particularly sparkly. I took walks. Rearranged the books on my shelves. I donated old clothes. Moving my body eventually reminded me that I had a purpose.

This also works if you’re recovering from an injury or feel you’re too overweight to take action. I’ve been there too! Walk in place with a can of soup in your hand if you have to. Clean off your desk. Organize a drawer. Break an old plate. Doing something small is still doing something. You’ll work up to walking around your neighborhood. You’ll work up to finding purpose again. Just move what you can when you can; don’t stop.

WE’RE ALL IN IT TOGETHER. My Nana is ninety-two years old and my oldest niece, Olivia, is six. I published my first book, Ordinary Magicthis month and both of them have been excited about reading it. Olivia is an excellent reader, however, my book targets readers higher than those on a first grade reading level— but she is mighty determined— so she takes it one syllable at a time. Nana lost her vision a few years ago; she can’t read my book on her own, so my aunt has been reading it to her. Did I mention Nana is also hard of hearing? She’s listening one syllable at a time! It’s awesome, isn’t it? Nana and Olivia, with eighty-six years between them, are trying to accomplish the exact same thing. We’re all so much more alike than we know, aren’t we?

LOVE LIKE CRAZY. It might not be possible to love everyone. I say, just love who you love as hard as you can. Not only because tomorrow isn’t promised— but loving someone feels good, doesn’t it? And hey, being loved feels awfully good too! Recently, a cab driver told me that he Sharpies “GIVE LOVE” on dollar bills and drops them in the street during his shift. We can’t all be dropping dollar bills in the street but we can give love like crazy if we want. We can share smiles with strangers. Help each other. Make someone laugh. We can love past the annoying stuff in our friends and family. Listen. We can throw love around as freely as that cab driver throws down those dollar bills. We can surprise each other with it. (Oh, and we can look in the mirror and love that person like crazy too!)

finding beauty in unlikely places

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Drinking the Whole Bottle is about living life uncorked – about fervently popping off the top, letting it all pour out, and savoring every last drop. And I wholeheartedly believe that you can’t live life uncorked without people, without opening yourself up and sharing the experience. This series, Life Uncorked: Inspiring Truths from Everyday People, highlights awesome, everyday people and their personal truths about life, love, travel, and more. If I’ve learned anything in life & travel, it’s that no one way is the right way, that we all have something to teach and we could learn something from everyone. I hope this series can be a place for you to take something away, feel inspired, and uncork life. 

To contribute, read our guidelines. We’d ❤️ to hear from you. 

P.S. On designing your life and deciding on a New Year’s mantra

    1. Me too. It’s a great 5 truths for the Life Uncorked Series!

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