What Word Describes YOU?
I have been interested in acting all my life. At least that’s what it looks like in hindsight. Over the years, I’ve collected costumes and hats, made shows as a kid, made movies and plays with friends, had costume parties, dramatized whenever possible…I believe I even had one friend call me a drama queen for a while. But I never would have called myself an actor…until now.
A few months back, I finally admitted that the income from speaking and selling books was not enough to live off of at this point…and that I needed to add in another job. What would I do? The world was my oyster, I could choose to do anything! I had to narrow it down somehow, so I asked myself what was I qualified to do. Good idea, right? “Teach” was the obvious answer. But as much as I LOVE hanging out with kids and being a guest speaker at schools, I don’t want to be a full time teacher right now. It would take way too much energy and commitment that I can’t spare…if I want to keep writing more books and pursuing other projects. So then I thought about photography. I photographed a wedding once, and the couple loved the pictures. It pays well…but if I was really honest, I didn’t really want to be behind the camera. And that’s when it hit me, I want to be in FRONT of the camera. Yup, I finally fessed up and allowed myself to accept that desire.
I let the idea roll around in my head and heart a bit, trying it on for size. I mentioned the idea to a few friends. Everyone was supportive, and especially my acting teacher from a few years back. Yes, I did take a class a few years ago. He suggested I take an acting workshop by Larry Moss. So in April, I did. My life will never be the same.
I knew my writing prepared me for immersing myself in acting roles, but I discovered a whole lot more in Larry’s four day workshop. Besides feeling like I was in group therapy the whole time and realizing an actor’s ‘issues’ can keep them from freely expressing what’s needed, I was also challenged to take my dedication to the craft of acting to a whole other level. I was making a new career choice that will demand dedication and training if I want to be excellent.
I left the class with my mind reeling. Who was I? What had I done? Where was I going? What happened to being a writer…or a teacher? Was that really my heart too? I wrestled with feeling like I had to deny what I’d been in order to accept what I was discovering I now was. I felt like I’d discovered a whole half of myself I’d never admitted existed, a part that wanted to not just write stories, but BE the story. The question, “Who am I?” haunted me…until a word floated up and settled in my heart. A word that encapsulates who I am, but has many different facets.
I’m not really a disjointed, unsettled, unpredictable person. I’m a storyteller who keeps discovering more and more wonderfully delightful and fulfilling ways I love to tell stories. The current list of ways would look something like: writer, actor, producer, musician, teacher and mentor.
I find it quite amusing that my first shoot since owning up to the facet of “actor” was playing a teacher…in a music video about bullying (picture from set above) and am now writing about it to share my story with you. Yup. See? They all tie together quite nicely under the word, Storyteller.
What word describes you? Is there something that ties together all of your bits and interests, a theme woven through your life that can empower you to be even more of who you are? Share your thoughts below!