Monday, May 30, 2011

#42 Who are you?

I was talking with an old friend the other day and we were discussing a girl we used to go to high school with. She was a real character, one day she was this alternative goth, the next she was the Christian girl next door - it was really interesting. Apart from her constant erratic behaviour she was quite cool. So my friend had recently bumped into her and it turns out she's finally been diagnosed with a personality disorder... of course.

I have just started doing a part time actor's course - I am learning the Meisner technique. It is amazing, life changing and damn hard. We had quite an intense lesson last week and I was struggling to work through what had happened. Actually it was the practice with 3 other class members I found intense. We were saying things to each other I would never say to anyone - negative, funny, rude, harsh things. Example, "You are going to die alone." I left the practice with a very hot face, void of any thought. The next day I was in the foulest mood trying to process what had happened.

Can you be the same person all the time? I am not talking about having different personalities around different people - 'cos we all know how annoying that is. I am talking about creating boundaries, protecting one of the most precious things we have - our hearts.

I can't go into acting class and be completely me, or else I will have to start taking anti anxiety pills. I can't be completely me when I am at work. I can't bring my baggage to work and I can't manage staff and run a business when I am being who I am at home. My counselor says you have to cultivate a 'work' you, and an 'actor's class' you. They will always be 'you', but a different 'you'. If you don't have different 'you's', you will become a wreck, taking things too personally, getting too involved, wearing yourself out, and not being the best you can be. I think it is wise advice.

'Work' me is very different to 'home' me. 'Work' me is serious, organised, 'get the job done' attitude, as opposed to 'home' me who is lazy, relaxed, messy. But that is why I am good at my job (well I hope so) - boundaries. It's all about the boundaries.

I think that is why I left the practice so shocked. And it was shocking! I'm not going to deny that, doesn't mean it needs to dictate my life outside class. I hadn't created any boundaries, I was taking what had happened and what was said home with me, when I should have left it in the practice. If you want to become a chef and your teacher says to you, "You are the shittest cook I have ever seen", it doesn't mean you are a bad person, husband, or friend (even though it may feel like that). It just means you can't cook. So many actor's believe acting is who they are and that is a huge mistake. That's why there are so many weird actors out there. Acting is a job, a hobbie, a love, a role. It is not who you are. You are never what you do. It reflects who you are and what you love, but it doesn't define who you are. We are many things - we need to remember that.

I don't know if any of this has made sense. I am still trying to process it all, but thought it was time I shared something personal with you all.

My teacher says "who are you when you are by yourself is the real you". Something to think about...

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