For as long as I can remember, I always pegged myself as being cold. I have a knack for coming off as uninterested, not caring, and, my personal favorite, stoic. Statuesque. Lifeless. Grey.
I often attributed my lack of feeling to the subject matter in which I was expected to feel. Some people are excellent at empathizing with others. They understand what someone is going through and they can feel their pain or joy. Others, like myself, aren’t.
Sympathy, on the other hand, I can do. My heart goes out to people who are going through a difficult time, but that’s it. I extend my condolences, but rarely do I feel what they feel. Because of this, how I operate, I often come across as not caring at all. In truth, I care too much. I just don’t really know how to show it.
I cry very little. The last time I cried was a few months back at my grandmother’s funeral, and even then, I was shocked at the amount I cried, which was a lot less than I thought I would.
It’s not that I’m not in touch with my emotions, I’m an actor – I’m incredibly in tune with emotions, I’m just not really in touch with how to showcase them to the world.
I’ve always been the type to keep everything to myself. If someone asks me how I am, I say fine. If someone asks me if something’s wrong, I say no. Occasionally, I’ll open up about my woes, big or small, but I’ll simply grace the surface of them. I’ll share as little as I can, to prove that I’m semi-transparent, but don’t ask for more. It’s not that I don’t want to give it. I just don’t know how.
Having this emotional block surrounding my heart makes it difficult to be in the career field that I am. Actors have to go there with their emotions, to the scary place, to effectively portray their character. If there’s one thing that I know is true about me, it’s that I love truth and despise false emotions. Again, this fact about me makes being an actor difficult.
I wouldn’t change my career choice for anything. If there’s something I wish that I could change, it’s my approach to getting there. To that place. Sometimes, I look at people who are open about all areas of their life and think to myself, “You’re a fool for being so transparent.” Other times, I look at them with the most envy, because being transparent can actually be a really good thing.
You can’t let people in if they can’t see where they’re going.
But what you can do is keep them out.
For 24 years, I’ve kept my inner light turned off to the world as a way to protect myself from letting people in. If I don’t let people close enough to my heart, they can’t hurt me. Funny thing is that no one wants to hurt me, but, in doing this, I’m hurting myself. When you wake up one morning and realize that the stifling sensation you feel is actually derived from your own doing, you know you need to make a change.
Over the past couple of months, I’m slowly becoming more transparent. If this were on a scale of window cleaners, and I were a window in need of cleaning, I’d be the Great Value brand working towards Windex. #lifegoals
Lately, if someone asks me how I am, I’ve been honest in my response.
Lately, if someone asks me if something’s wrong, and there is, I say so.
I’ve been opening up about my life, my struggles, my highs and my lows.
I’m letting myself feel, and it’s awesome.
Since implementing this change, not only has my personal life improved, but my work has as well. When I’m performing, I actually feel like my character, and instead of pushing the emotions away, I pull them close and hold onto them as if they’re the most precious things in the world, because they are.
Life is hard enough as it is. It’s even more difficult when you surround yourself with a brick wall that you built yourself piece by piece in an effort to keep people out.
Here’s to knocking down that wall.
Here’s to letting people into my life and allowing them to know me.
Here’s to my career blossoming because of this change.
Here’s to burying the stoicism and embracing the fact that I was meant to feel.
And I feel that that’s okay.