Playing Myself: Featuring The Person I'm "Supposed" To Be
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Playing Myself: Featuring The Person I'm "Supposed" To Be

But there's really only the person I am, isn't there?


When I was in eighth grade, I had absurdly bad stage fright.

Knees weak, arms were heavy, the whole shebang. I couldn't think, couldn't remember my name, couldn't use the cooked noodles I once called legs, all because of a couple of bright lights and an elevated patch of hardwood. At most, I could drone out academic concepts for school if forced on pain of death to comply. That was the fullest extent. Considering how deeply I love theater now, it's been more than a little that I've thought about what happened to it, what happened to that bone-crushing terror that kept me from the stage.

I think it's because of theater itself. That's a no brainer I know I've talked about it before, but it's not just about what theater was. I came to realize that it was how I perceived it.

Theater gave me an opportunity to explore characters I hadn't ever imagined being. It let me suspend my disbelief regarding even my own self and step into shoes I had always written off as being "not mine to fill." It was thrilling.

It was thrilling because it let me be absolutely anyone except for myself.

My own self is the character I've feared playing the most. She's every skeleton in my closet, the elephant that keeps trouncing through my rooms, seemingly at best a buzzing nuisance and at worst...heh. A waking nightmare, putting it softly. It feels like every moment in her skin is a carefully calculated act performed for a highly critical audience for which I have done no practice. It feels like I spent a frantic car ride already late spilling coffee I don't drink all over myself while trying to memorize lines texted to me second by second for a role I wasn't talented enough to get in the first place. It feels like the rhythm of my speech is all wrong, my reactions aren't on par with the rest. It feels like I've always been one tiny mistake away from losing everything. It feels like that's just showbiz, isn't it?

So acting, posturing and posing, a fresh face and a fake facade is just easier to pull off. If I'm playing someone else, I can be more prepared for the part. If I'm playing someone else, I can model it off of people far more successful at living their lives than I and perhaps ride some of that success myself. If I'm playing someone else, I can work towards audience appeal, catering to the people around me in order to find their best version of me and implementing it meticulously, piece by piece.

If I'm playing someone else, I can blame my mistakes on the person I'm trying to be, not the person I am.

But that's not how it works, is it?

My brother has always been one of the people in my life I've admired most. He's courageous, a powerhouse, a social butterfly, and a fierce defender and supporter of his family and friends. In some of my memories, I recall being a little floored by the things he's said. I think about myself in those situations and realize how much I would have filtered my words for every single ear that was listening. But the way he speaks, I can tell it is exactly what is on his mind, no holds barred. I've teased him about his headstrong nature and his blunt exposition, but I also want to make sure I've told him how I actually feel. That I've always wanted to be the same way.

Because I looked around my brother's life, at the people with whom he has surrounded himself, and the faces that I see beside him, sticking it out with him and having his back...they remain consistent. Dedicated. Kind. Empathetic. As courageous as he is. My brother's friends are genuinely good friends because my brother himself has chosen to be genuine. He has made the choice to be no one but himself, to see his actions as not playing a part but living his life.

Being myself is the most difficult role I will ever receive. But it also has the potential to be the most rewarding I could ever have been handed. To be myself is to draw in the people who love me for me, not the person I can pretend to be. To be me is to not feel exhausted every time I try to hang out with other people, feeling as though I can only let my guard down and breathe when I am utterly alone.

I don't want to be some shadow of the person I'm pretending to be. I want to be full force and guns blazing the person I am. Who knows what will come of it? All I know is that I want to see the genuine side of other people. So why not show them mine?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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