Roles We Play and Dreams We Set Aside

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I audited an advanced acting class last night here in New York City.  The class was highly recommended by a friend I trusted and so I went to check it out with no expectations.  But little did I know, my mind was flooded by memories.

The moment I decided, I was not going to be an actress was a moment my grandpa said: “you will be an actress like your mom.” I didn’t think he was a fan of my mom at the time, so I figured: I’d rather be liked.  The thing about decisions like these, that we make in childhood, are that they dictate what is possible for us but we are mostly unaware of them unless we deliberately look at why we are stuck where we are stuck.

Fast forward to school days, I was in drama and loved it.  I even played a daughter to a now accomplished actress.  We were both rewarded for it.  I loved being on stage, but even then, I knew I had to find something that would have higher approval ratings.  Naturally, I started college as Pre-Med.  I never really knew what I wanted to become.  I think I was searching for titles that sounded good more than I was searching within for what would have me come alive.  A year or so into it, I was sitting with a friend in front of the school realizing: I really don’t want to be a doctor.  The next day I switched to Film Production / Media Studies Major.  Luckily, I already did all the hard requirements so I spent the rest of the college years invested in a subject that was of interest.

While still acting in numerous student projects, and fully enjoying it, I couldn’t admit that I liked it.  Flashback to a moment my uncle told me I was someone who constantly asked for attention.  Needless to say, I tried to tame that part of myself with all my might. I succeeded, in part, because I really stepped into the “behing the camera” personna and enjoyed it.  Even when I worked on 2 film projects after college, I closely worked with actors and was often asked to go in and be in the scene.

Hitting a dead end, in a way, shortly after college and graduate school when I was completely out of money, near expiration to my student visa and in absolute solitude, invested more in my eating disorder than anything happening around me, I took my first transformational class.  It made sense as I was already exploring yoga before that, but sitting in a weekend class with 100 other New Yorkers, I really got to see: I made everything up.  Things are not at all the way I see them.  People in my life maybe judged me, but that still wasn’t enough of a reason for me to react to that judgement and live my life to please them.  Little by little, I started reflecting on my whole life and numerous decisions I made as a child or young adult which prevented me from living my life fully self expressed, passionate and present.

Thanks to this work and my consistent expansion, I have created such a beautiful life: family I adore, business I am proud of and space for myself to heal all the broken pieces I felt I carried inside.  All along life was happening and I felt like an actress playing her part.  In fact, all that film and acting training I got in college came in handy with the transformational personal development work I was doing.

And then, out of the blue, as I was judging bad acting on one of the TV shows I was watching, the voice inside of me was nudging me to explore why I can be such a judgemental bitch at times.  Reflecting back, speaking to my husband who is likewise a coach, I realized, I may have given something up a time long ago afraid that I would never succeed.  This hit me as a ton of bricks because, honestly, I am already pretty busy, I don’t just raise my children, coach people and write, I also sing, draw and do yoga to name just a few favorite things…and yet, I could no longer do nothing about it.

That’s the thing with transformation, you reach insights that don’t even seem like a good idea. As someone who does her best to walk her talk, I at least have to lean into these insights and give it a shot. And that is how I ended up in an advanced acting class, feeling so humbled, shy, really dealing with the knowing that I don’t really know.  Sometimes, regardless of how masterful we feel we are in one area of our lives, it is when we explore the unknown that we learn the depths of what we are really made of.

Sharing this to see and ask if there are dreams you put on hold or set aside? Are you willing to maybe take a class or explore leaning into it even a tiny bit to see what you learn about yourself?

As always,

with gratitude for reading,

Marija

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