September 7, 2014

I am not an Actor, but I’ve Played One in Real Life. ~ Erica Gottlieb

Photo: W H via Flickr

“Today you are you, that is truer than true There is no one alive who is youer than you!” ~ Dr. Seuss

Actors wear costumes for the various roles they play. When you think about it, we all wear costumes to play the various roles in our lives because different situations call for different hats. However, when we become so invested in the costume and lose sight of the person wearing it, problems ensue.

I have tried on so many costumes I’ve lost count.

To an extent, this is a natural and inevitable rite of passage for teens and young adults. However, the continuation of an identity disturbance beyond those years warrants some serious introspection.

Society suggests we fit into specific molds and looking beyond those molds triggers confusion for many. There are some who reject these roles outright and embrace moving to the beat of their own drums. Some of us, however, spend years walking around feeling as though we are wearing ill-fitting costumes each and every day.

In my case, I drew conclusions based on interpretations of my environment to determine who I should be. With equal parts low self-esteem and a lack of confidence, the perfect storm of an identity disturbance ensued.

The hardest role I learned to play after many years of playing dress-up was my own one-of-a-kind self. I embarked on a journey of exploration that will last a lifetime, as it should, to find myself. I had to separate myself from all those “shoulds” I based my earlier conclusions on.

What I’ve been learning as I progress is that I only need to be me.

By playing myself I am simply following my Dharma—the individual responsibility, personal law and duty I am meant to abide by. The discomfort inherent to costuming can be partially attributed to avoiding my Dharma. Accepting the personal responsibility of embracing my Dharma requires that I participate in the world around me.

For years I was not an active participant but eventually I realized the world was progressing despite my non-action. Even with inaction there is action; every beat of the heart, every inhale and exhale, action takes place. With participation, the Universe is a more supportive structure. To avoid participating is to avoid Dharma.

My own personal law and responsibility, my Dharma, provides the support I need for being me in this Universe. The journey I embarked on to get in touch with myself has been scary and exhilarating. I find comfort in knowing that it is an ongoing process.

I will always be an actor. Only now that has a different meaning: I am an actor doing actions, not an actor playing a part.


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Apprentice Editor: Jessica Sandhu/ Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Flickr

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