This weekend, I was introduced to a side of myself that I'm not sure I've ever properly met before.

I had the amazing privilege of getting to act all weekend.

On Saturday I performed in two different staged readings  (and did stage directions for another) for original plays written by masters students from the UBC Creative Writing Program. On Sunday, I was on set all day for a short film. I played a 50s housewife who murders her husband. My character wrapped at 9:50pm, and from there I went straight to acting class. I was warmed up. I had energy galore and played the scene with my scene partner without even an ounce of fear. I just felt so free.

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 1.52.50 PMI got home at around 11:15, and collapsed on the couch next to my roommate. Are you drunk? She asked. I wasn’t. I hadn’t had anything to drink… but I suddenly realized that I actually did feel a little drunk. When I woke up the next morning – despite the positive feedback I’d gotten from everyone on my work over the last two days – I even felt a little bit embarrassed by my behaviour.

Was I allowed to be that free and that uncensored? I felt like I had behaved selfishly in ways. I’d owned my space and commanded attention over the last two days, and now I felt guilty for… taking what I wanted, I guess? Does that make sense?

It feels so ludicrous. And yet so typical of the way I have held myself back in the past.

As I prepared to fall asleep last night, with no acting projects planned, I thought I might wake up this morning feeling depressed. Although I did sleep in – which I definitely needed – that didn’t end up happening. I actually felt fine.

Keep the momentum going.
That’s the most confident I’ve seen you
Once you started that monologue… you had my attention the entire time
You did a great job
Thank you for bringing my character to life

I feel torn. I feel confused. I feel angry. I feel excited. I feel… SO MUCH right now.

There’s so much that I don’t understand right now about where my life is going. 3 1/2 years in Vancouver now, and I still haven’t managed to get a Film and Television agent. Meanwhile, my abilities as an actor have grown steadily. If I’d gotten an agent right away, would I have continued to work so hard?

I’ve always felt a need to prove myself. I’ve needed to prove that I’m worthy. That I deserve what I want.

Proving is pushing. Proving isn’t knowing.

Proving is wailing your arms around screaming ‘LOOK AT ME.’

Knowing is standing in your power.
Knowing is just speaking the speech – speaking your speech without unnecessary additions; energy; emphasis; fancy shit that people can see right through as a way you’re trying to make what you’re saying interesting… instead of trusting that who you are and what you have to say is already interesting.

I mean, just look at the stories that people are sharing in the Creative Life Interview Series. We are all so fucking interesting. So what’s with the trying so hard to prove it?

I understand now that getting specific about what I want and then asking for it, is actually the secret to everything. I wasn’t setting goals before. I was just working obsessively. Now I’m changing how I’m doing things.

I’m working from home more. I’m easing up a little on the morning routine, and I’m giving myself permission to feel good (in the past I’d push the routine to the point of exhaustion). I’ve stopped with the busy work, and instead am doing the scarier work that will actually get me to where I want to be (deliberate rehearsal, entering writing contests, submitting myself for paid work).

I’m also slowly making room for fun. I’m making room for creativity. I’m making room for wealth. I’m making room for confidence.

Yeah. Maybe I do feel a little bit drunk. I feel drunk because I don’t feel like the constricted self that I’ve previously given permission to run my life.

Who would you be without the effort? My counsellor asked me months ago.

Who would I be without the hours and hours spent in coffee shops? Who would I be without the constant striving without results? Who would I be if I was successful, financially abundant, and free?

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 1.52.41 PM
Me and my director, on set of ‘The Smell of Bleach.’

I guess I would still be me. I guess this person I’ve been over the last couple of days – the girl woman who took her time and looked every person in the audience of the staged reading in the eye as she spoke; the woman who knew, during filming, that she didn’t need to push to tell the story; the woman who leaped off the couch in acting class and twirled around until she was dizzy. I guess that was me. It didn’t feel like me… but it was me. There have been times when I’ve behaved in ways that seemed more indicative of who I am, but then at night felt like shit for my timidness, insecurity, and indecision.

So, maybe I’m learning something. Maybe this person that doesn’t feel like me, is actually the closest to me that I’ve ever been.

Wow.

After writing that last sentence I feel a little bit sick and a little bit afraid. I guess the only thing to do from here is… keep moving forward. Keep breathing. Keep risking. Keep… experimenting with this new identity… and see where it takes me? Yeah.

Christine: I Acted All Weekend… and Now There’s a Part of Me That Feels Guilty.
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bissonnette.cm@gmail.com'
I'm a spoken word artist and writer originally from Nova Scotia. In addition to my own private writing practice, I also works with adults and teens by facilitating the writing of their own spoken word poetry. Topics which fire me up are voice, perfectionism, and those parts of growth that don't follow a list. You can learn more about me at 9creativelives.com