Why do I like to hurt myself?
I have ugly cried in the mirror since I was young. Like since I was 10-ish?
I have made faces, had pretend conversations, made-up television interviews, fake arguments, indignant tirades, rousing speeches–all delivered to my own reflection. For over 30 years.
Does anyone else do that?
Is this a completely narcissistic exercise that sane people don’t engage in?
Or is this a honing of craft?
I have no idea. But I am compelled to do it. It’s not something I even consciously do. I just do it. I can’t help it. It would be harder to stop than changing my name.
In fact, call me Janet.
I have imagined being someone else for most of my life. Smarter, prettier, funnier, nobler. Stronger.
I have imagined being a surgical nurse on MASH, powering an entire corporation as a CEO, commanding WW2 troops on the beaches, dangling from the peaks of Colorado.
I don’t actually want to do those things. I just want to act like I’m capable of those things.
Most of the time, people walk around completely obtuse about their own power, capability or talent.
Who am I? What do I like? What can I live with? What can I live without? What am I really good at?
But I’ve known. KNOWN. For a large chunk of my life. That I can act.
I became good at acting because I was good at lying and pretending. I used acting to have a voice and power. I was so lost that I didn’t know who I was. I needed other people’s words to stand in the place of my own. Until I found my own words. I needed a voice for all the horrible feelings I had.
My superpower is acting. My salvation is expression.
I only acted like I cared about other people. Or myself. Until one day, I did.
Thank you, Acting. You saved me.