Creativity Calls, Performing, Writing

Laying Down the Masks

The footsteps echo as I leave the stage;

Fully alive – fully in character.

A poet’s song calls me to the pencil;

Fully alive – fully myself.

A table full of performers.

A table full of writers.

The differences resounding – I stand in the middle.

Neither introvert nor extrovert.

Both author and actress.

I am me.

Learning to be free.

In my last post, I talked about how one of my goals for 2015 was to really be myself and embrace that, so I suppose in a way this is an update.

At this time last year I was longing to perform for a living; I used to say that I felt the most myself when I was acting. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with that statement. I thought that I just had such a passion for performing and I could truly let my emotions shine through the character I was portraying. While this is true to an extent, I am now realizing that through all of my characters, there was one that was failing to be lived out as freely as it wanted to be… myself.

This realization blatantly hit me this week as classes for the new semester began. For a lot of reasons that I won’t bore you with right now, I decided to change my major at the end of last semester from Theatre to Creative Writing, and I was so excited to begin this new journey. I still am, but already in the second meeting of my first official creative writing class, I have discovered a hard truth: It is still extremely hard for me to let people see the unguarded, raw version of me.

As my peers and I sat looking at each other from our desks that had been arranged in a circle around the room, the professor asked if anyone wanted to share their work. My heart immediately sped up, and my palms began to moisten. I wanted to raise my hand. I liked the poem I had come up with in class, but something inside would not let me do it. Stupid fear. I’m so done with him holding me back.

You may be asking how someone can be decently comfortable on a stage in front of a ton of people while acting, and get nervous speaking in a tiny classroom. You may also be asking how someone can be outgoing and friendly, yet still be shy. The answer is really quite simple, I love people, but I tend to keep them at a distance… you know, I’ve got walls built and all that jazz? So, while I may be able to react well in certain situations, when things become too personally focused on me, I start to shut down a little bit. Yeah well, in this class I will be reading my work aloud regularly and having it work shopped by the other students. While I have begun to open up more in the past few years, more often than not, my poetry is still personal, so I don’t always share it with a lot of people. So, the fact that a whole classroom of strangers is going to get a chance to hear what I have to say is slightly terrifying… and in a weird way, it’s also extremely freeing.

I have a voice too. One that wasn’t scripted by someone else. It’s time for people to hear it. I may return to the stage one day, hopefully, but for now, I don’t really have a desire to perform. I think that this is a beautifully crucial time for me to just truly learn how to be confident as myself … just that Mackenzie girl who everyone thinks is an extrovert, but who can also be found searching for the desk in the back corner with her pencil and notebook in hand. She’s got layers, and she’s starting to let people see them a little bit at a time.

So fellow dreamers, I didn’t tell you all of this to simply unload my life story and self-conscious issues on you. I’m telling you this because I’m thinking I’m not the only one out there who is starting to realize, there is more to your story than what you’ve been sharing. My challenge for you is to write it down, scream it loud, sing it, dance it, spray-paint it into a large mural, beat it on a drum… whatever way you decide to express it… just please lay down your masks and your characters for a while, and show people the real you! I know I said it in my last post too, but it’s the complete truth… God made us each differently, and He wants us to embrace who we are in Christ, and let me tell you, once you do, it’s an amazing experience!

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