Last year, as soon as my last acting contract was over, I essentially went into hiding. I couldn’t bear to be seen. My last show had been torture. Not because of the show itself, but the horrible public-ness of it. I was creating a new role in a new show, so during the rehearsal period I wasn’t just being watched for choreography, acting, and vocal stuff, but for whether the show itself worked. For a girl who was trying desperately, both literally and figuratively, to disappear, this was incredibly painful. I didn’t want to be seen. 8-10 shows a week, depending on the schedule, however, I was seen.
As soon as the show ended, I disappeared. I hid in my apartment, I hid in my eating disorder, I hid in my body. I returned to my “Joe Job” after 4 months away, and my boss didn’t recognize me when I walked in the door. After 5+ years with the same ginger hair color (it’s easier to write “Red” on a resume than Light-Blondeish-Reddish-Brown), I dyed my hair dark. Almost black. I had one last show to do – a concert. I did my best to stay invisible. There’s a few pictures from it on broadwayworld.com (You didn’t actually think I’d link to them, did you?). You can see my shoulder in one, and my bangs in another. Hiding in plain sight.
Nowadays, I still don’t really want to be seen. I know I’ll never have any semblance of a life if I keep hiding in the shadows, but stepping out of the darkness takes a lot of courage. I’m getting better at it, but I still feel guilty for taking up space a lot of the time. It’s a work in progress.
I found a quote on my computer today that I’d saved back in the day called “The Actor’s Vow” by Elia Kazan. It makes being visible sound a whole lot more appealing and noble. It talks specifically to actors, but I think it can apply to real life, too. I think it might be what being alive, being real, being seen is all about. It might be something to consider.
I will take my rightful place on the stage
And I will be myself.
I am not a cosmic orphan
I have no reason to be timid.
I will respond as I feel; awkwardly, vulgarly,
I will have my throat open.
I will have my heart open.
I will be vulnerable.
I may have anything or everything the world
Has to offer, but the thing
I need most, and want most, is to be myself.
I will admit rejection, admit pain, admit
Frustration, admit even pettiness, admit
Shame, admit outrage, admit anything and
Everything that happens to me.
The best and most human parts of me are
Those I have inhabited and hidden from
I will work on it.
I will raise my voice.
I will be heard.
THE ACTOR’S VOW