A few weeks ago a friend and I had a part. She thought I did a good job and afterwards told me, “you’re a good actress”! I took it as a compliment and we had a laugh about my performance. I thanked her for the observation and that pretty much should’ve been the end of it. Instead, I kept recalling the words, ‘a good actress’. This led me to do some further self reflection, and helped me get to know and understand myself a little more.
In past posts’, I’ve touched on how when I felt sad or upset, I put up a false front and pretended that I was fine. The last thing I wanted was to upset others. So I would put on an act. This wasn’t new to me. I became an actress at a young age. Since I can remember, what I wanted most was to make others happy, or at least keep them from becoming mad at me. I was therefore praised for being a good child. But unfortunately, it made me the perfect target for sexual predators and added to my acting ability, because I also became a liar. The lies hid the shame, because as long as no one knew, I could walk around like I was normal. I also created in my mind the perfect family. It was my escape. There I could pretend my dad was a great father, who worked to provide for his family, and made us feel safe and loved. Sometimes I was an only child (sorry guys, only for pretend). At other times we all lived together in a dream house. There was no limit in my imagination. Reality for me, was too painful to remain there. So I lived in this fantasy world. You could describe me then, as a day dreamer, who preferred nothing more than to take on the role of another person, than be herself.
So here I am 30 plus years later, and I’m just grasping the scope of what I did to make things appear “normal”. I no longer want to be that actress, or dreamer. It’s kept me from forming meaningful relationships. Now I understand one of the reasons why. (Confession time!) For years now, I’ve been highly aware that I can make a good first impression, but I couldn’t understand why I dreaded seeing people again after the initial meeting. It wasn’t because I didn’t like them. It had to do with fear. I was afraid they’d see past my cheerful character and see the real me. The withdrawn, insecure, moody, irritable, negative, unreliable and fearful me. I reasoned that what they had enjoyed was my performance, because my true self was kept hidden.
My journey has a renewed, conscious effort to be genuine. Especially after studying an article this past weekend. Doing some research, I looked up the word “hypocrite”, and I was shocked. In Latin and Greek, hypocrite, means stage actor, or actor. Now the word “actress”, has taken on a new meaning. Is that what I’ve been all along, a hypocrite? Yes, I have. The old me would’ve let this fact sink me further into depression. Instead, I’m choosing to view this as an opportunity to correct what perhaps in a few years, would be too late for me to change. Life is too short to waste opportunities to improve ourselves.
Yes, it’s time to retire that actress! I refuse to hide behind her anymore.
Love you guys ; )