I’m an actor. I probably should point out before you get the wrong idea that I haven’t actually been paid for my acting, and far be it from the world to consider anything the “real deal” unless we are being monetarily compensated as proof of said label, but once again, let me buck convention and do that very thing. In fact, I believe I’ll shout it: I AM AN ACTOR!! I tell you this truthfully because I do not believe there has been a time in my life where there wasn’t at least some small measure of acting involved in my day. I consider it a tremendous coping mechanism.
Claiming you’re an actor is not the same thing as admitting to be a faker or a liar, two qualities I avoid at all cost. Not that I have never lied (because I have) and never faked (because I have) but never orgasm because how self-defeating would that be? Not that I couldn’t have faked it- after all, I’ve just spent the last two minutes convincing you I’m an actor, but I never understood why a person would want to pretend something occurred that actually didn’t, possibly confusing another someone into believing certain moves should be repeated that perhaps should not have been attempted in the first place? But lying and faking are something I resist in older age once I became enlightened to the fact that if I was about to lie or fake then I was about to compromise myself in some way and the very thing I was about to lie or fake about was merely a sign of a bigger issue that was trying to show itself to me. As we’ve already established, it’s one thing not to know what you don’t know, but quite another to know what you know and pretend you don’t know it. Though you may be able to convince others of your faked ignorance, you can’t fake it to yourself. Although, if you are anything like me, you may make several attempts before you finally give it up for good.
Unlike faking and lying, I utilize my acting skills not to deceive others, but to convince myself of my competence in maintaining self-control that I didn’t always believe I possessed. (I do possess it. You do too. If you think you don’t it’s only because you don’t believe it yet.) When I encounter a situation in which I feel under-qualified, overwhelmed, fearful, or any other adjective that has me convinced YOU.CAN’T.DO.THIS. I slip into my actor’s persona and let my “character” take over the challenge. My character is a ballsy cool-cat who faces every new situation with aplomb. (I’m pretty sure she’s able to drive a stick-shift and fly a plane, but I can’t take the pretending that far because A) I have neither a stick-shift nor an airplane and B) sometimes one can take pretending past the point of constructiveness and into the abyss of chaos. Best not to ask how I learned that one… Slipping into character is also a good way to break out of the “I can’t help it- this is just the way I am” trap. You know, that quicksand you get stuck in that pulls you into the belief that just because certain negative traits appear inherent within you (a quick temper, bossiness, boastfulness, clinginess, impulsiveness, etc…) you have no control over changing them. Don’t be sucked into this nonsense! You always have the power to change. The day I realized that while I may be more prone to certain behaviors than others, I still had ultimate control over myself and my actions if I would simply choose to take it, was one of the most hopeful moments of my life. By acting like the person I was trying to become, I became that person. We change our patterns by changing our thinking. It doesn’t happen overnight or without diligence, but it becomes possible by making the daily decision that it IS possible. And just like Dorothy: “you’ve always had the power.”
Since I’m not overly convinced that what we consider reality in this world is actually real in the first place (if so, real in what sense of the word?) it’s not a stretch for me to think of life as one big reality TV show, and I’m a character living through situations intended for my growth. I align with the philosophy of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” So during those times when my spirit seems resistant to the limitations of a physical body having a human experience on this physical plane, I revitalize myself by tuning into my character. She takes each life mission in stride, whether trivial or paramount, indestructible, knowing with certainty that one way or another, she’ll come out on top after each episode, wiser for the experience. Since she seems to know something that I don’t, I just roll with it. It gets me through every time.