I don’t know if this is news or not, but I’m a
pretty very self-conscious person. Always have been. And self-consciousness and insecurity breeds shyness – something I’ve been affected by my whole life. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to get a little bit of a hold on it: forcing myself to speak up and be sociable and realize that I do have something to offer. But that in no way means I don’t struggle with it every day.
For reference sake, in 6th and 7th grade, I had no friends. And when I say “no friends”, I don’t mean I only hung out with a couple of people outside of school. I mean I didn’t even speak to people at school. But the kicker here? Every day I would sit amongst the popular girls in my class at lunch – right smack dab in the middle of the table – and not say one word. I can’t even imagine what they all must have been thinking. What was I thinking?! I was paralyzed by fear. And doubt. And judgment. And everything else that no one, much less a 12 year old, should feel.
As I’ve gotten older I had to learn to deal with it. I had to deal with it in order to survive, and that is not an exaggeration. I learned to talk to people in order to obtain jobs and have friends in my life so that I wouldn’t silently suffer through perpetual loneliness.
But it’s not good enough. It’s not good enough that I always almost cancel plans with new people because I am so ridden with anxiety. It’s not good enough that I always almost have a panic attack before asking the drive-thru employee for a new soda because mine tastes like carbonated water.
If you’re sitting there piecing my life together, you may be like, “WAIT A SECOND.” I’m an actress, I know. I have to put myself out there constantly. I have to be vulnerable. I have to be confident. I have to handle rejection over and over and over again. And you’re right. Am I crazy to have chosen this as my career? Am I a masochist?
Yes, and…yes, apparently. But when I’m acting, acting truthfully, I feel so incredibly free. Free of fear and judgment and everything else I worry about in my “regular” life. I don’t remember the exact quote, but in Birdman, Edward Norton’s character talks about how the stage is the only place he doesn’t have to pretend, and maybe that’s why I loved his character so much.
But I won’t give in. I won’t surrender to anxiety and insecurity and thoughts about not being good enough. If anything, my career of choice makes me actually sit down and evaluate why I am the way I am and to just DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
So who is with me? Let’s throw caution to the wind and remind ourselves that WE are good enough. We are strong enough. We can be whoever we want and do whatever we dream. Our fears are not who we are. They are apart of us, yes, but each one of us is a million different wonderful things.