Do you enjoy acting?
Not on the big screen. Not on a stage. But, do you act like someone you’re not sometimes?
We have all been there. We have all faced times when we feel as though acting like someone else is the only way we will fit in or be accepted. Other times, it’s not about fitting in at all. We can act as if everything is alright when it’s not, like we’re not mad when we are, or like everything is right when it’s all wrong.
Is avoiding conflict our reason for acting?
I took a drama class back in high school, and as I remember I see an interesting contradiction in myself. While I was extremely outgoing and confident throughout that time in my life, I never seized the opportunity to take center stage during classroom exercises. Not once. My heart would start beating fast and I was so afraid of messing up or completely failing, so I just never participated. How sad, right?
Looking back, I can now see that sitting in my chair, instead of stepping up, was all a part of the act. My life act. As if I had no insecurities, doubts or fears. I was “fearless” I remember saying. “Today is a great day” was another mantra I repeated not only to myself, but to everyone around me who seemed as though they were having a bad day. If I messed up a line, I wouldn’t be perfect.
With all the insecurities I now face day-to-day, I know that acting my way through life was the only way I could have survived growing up. It gave me the support and comfort I needed. Almost as if I needed to earn it. (But even that was just an illusion.) I felt that I needed to please everyone else before I could be pleased with myself. And it worked.
Until it didn’t…
Later in life, my acting began to fade and the real “Leigh” started peaking through. I was exhausted. Remember the mask I mentioned a couple of days ago? I had a problem. I was living a lie, and my face could no longer tell it for me.
Everything on the inside was so different from what everyone saw in my on the outside, I had totally lost touch with reality. I had lost what once brought me joy. I only knew what brought others joy. So they became my mission. The others. All around me.
Until I broke.
Acting was hard and if it’s something you do too, know that you don’t have to. It’s okay to have a tired, sad or mad day. You’re off the hook! So try giving yourself a break and be who you are, as you are.