Strong Sense of Self

6 04 2015

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12: 6-7)

As I have worked more professionally and gotten older, one thing that has been made clear to me, is that being an actor requires a strong sense of self. Knowing yourself inside and out, and being honest in your evaluation of yourself, and being at peace with whatever you are at any given point. I can only speak personally of the challenge this is for women, though I suspect the challenge for men who choose this profession is also difficult. Not being at peace with yourself and who you are makes being in this profession that much more difficult. That insecurity can manifest itself in many ways, including eating disorders, plastic surgery addictions, and on the most basic level: an inability to deliver the work you are intended to do.

I went through many variations on eating disorders after my tough experiences in the ballet world, and I am here to tell you that you do not have to be hospitalized in order to have had an eating disorder. YOUR eating disorder could be just finding different ways every day to not eat, to eat less, or to delay eating. My garden-variety eating disorders never landed me in the hospital, but the worry about my size and therefore WORTH, occupied so much of my mind and life. It was, and sometimes still is, as if I was in a constant battle with my body for thinness.

The danger with these addictions, is that you begin to somehow BELIEVE that you will only begin to book work WHEN YOU BECOME whatever your mind says you PHYSICALLY NEED TO BE. This is simply not true. There ARE exceptions to this, but in general – the roles you are going to book are YOURS, and there is nothing you can DO or NOT DO to lose them. The roles that are NOT YOURS are NOT YOURS and there is noting you can DO or NOT DO to gain them. Your internal war over what you look like does not help the cause, and in fact, may hurt it very badly. By believing that you must “become” something different then you are to work as an actor, you are subject to manifestation of that belief.

For me, this battle against the negativity that was implanted in my brain at a very early age, is something I am actively working on with a therapist. I realized that my mental health, my sense of self, is directly tied to my ability to book work. I have done, and continue to do the training. I do all the prep work. I put in the work. But I can systematically undo all my prep work if I allow my INNER CRITIC to do all the thinking. I work on squashing that motherfucker daily. My therapist has been an amazing guide in this journey.  

More later…




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