On Being Real.

[Note: this was written on December 12th and never posted; I’m posting it now even though I’ve made some progress in the areas I talk about below because it’s still true and relevant.]

It’s been a long time since my last update; I have, as usual, thrown myself into school-related commitments to the point where there wasn’t time for much else. Shortly after my last entry I attended an acting workshop led by an actress that I admire largely for the way she has stayed very down-to-earth and low-key. I was struck, in conversation with her, by how completely genuine she seemed. Here was someone who had a career in this business and hadn’t adopted any of the fake bullshit that seems to surround me even at the amateur and school level.

We learn so quickly how to be fake, how to be likeable and adaptable so that people will see us as this role or that one, all the while protecting everything that’s real and valuable from others who are already playing the game. It’s understandable, but more and more I’m realizing that it’s what holds me, personally, back. Protecting so much of myself that no one really knows a good deal that’s true. I’ll admit things, I’ll simplify, I’ll tell self-deprecating little anecdotes. But the things that matter? The things I truly feel down to the core of my self? No one gets more than a passing glimpse of those, and my performance suffers for it.

I’m starting to realize that I’m not cut out for these stupid games, these ways of hiding ourselves. I’m also starting to realize that censoring at least half of who I am is no way to live. Everything I hold back out of fear is what’s holding me back from being a truly talented performer. The line between competence and brilliance is so clear that I can’t believe I never saw it. All along I’ve praised people for their ability to make me believe their performance, and all along I’ve envied them that, never once thinking that there was no great secret. There was only ever telling the truth.

My singing is… the best it’s ever been. I can say that without hesitation, though I’m still at a point where I’m not always overly fond of the end product. My performance is getting closer to the best it’s ever been; I think my acting had moments in high school and before when I was less shy and more certain, but that’s so long ago that I can’t truly say. I remember points back then when I felt it, when I was onstage and fully absorbed in a moment and just being, but I don’t have recordings that tell me anything about how it looked from the outside. It still feels so far from what I want, from what I know I’m capable of. My reality still feels so far from the picture I want to present.

It’s such a fine line to walk. How do I get my performance to match up with what I feel and what I want to convey? How do I do that without focusing so much on the external that I sabotage my own attempts? I know it’s practice, and doing, and not shying away from the hard parts… but the distance still feels so great.