The Performance of Your Life

“You’re an actor Stephanie,” my stand-up comedy class partner asserted.

I looked at him with confusion because he barely knows me to assert such a claim.  He continued, “My acting instructor said that everyone is an actor, because we are always playing a role.”

I have heard this statement on a few occasions, but I needed to hear it again. We are all actors.  We all have an idea of how a parent is supposed to “act” versus a child.  Or how a boss is supposed to “act” versus an employee.  We have hard definitions for men, women, religions, ethnic cultures, co-cultures etc. and how those groups or people “should”act.  When someone does what is called a “character slip,” which is when someone steps outside a social norm, everyone notices.  Often, someone will correct that person to “act” as they should.  Trained actors develop their craft by pulling from their emotions and experiences, and observing the roles and characters that we play out in real life.

In the song Chandelier, Sia sings about a woman who is playing the role of a party girl.  If you listen closely or look at the lyrics, you will discover that the character in the song, plays her role to suppress something deep inside herself.  Examining the song further, this song is about addiction and provides the audience a glimpse of that experience.

Chandelier by Sia [Lyrics are at the end of this post]

Recently, I worked in an office with people who were in recovery.  One individual shed light for me on the steps that are taken to stay sober.  While I don’t know all the steps, a lot of what he told me parallels what I have come to learn about living a healthy, happy, balanced life.  After I learned about the experiences of my co-workers, it prompted me to think about addiction and see what addictions exist outside of the “stereo-types” that we know.

In college I knew a group of girls that were drama and dramatic.  They made decisions that lead to drama and attracted drama into their lives.  It was fascinating to observe these women.  They had grown so accustomed or  were so“addicted” to drama that it played out in all aspect of their lives.  Another addiction is the way we express or don’t express our emotions.  I am currently teaching acting/ improv to a group of at-risk teen-age girls.  We are using the arts to help them heal and put a light, in the darkest parts of their story or heart. At the same time we want them to share their story to see that they are not alone and express the moments in their lives that may be suffocate them.

One girl told me, “I used to cut myself because I didn’t want to feel the pain I was feeling.”

“I want to be an actor because you get to be somebody else for the day,” a girl from my teen acting group stated. Every child likes the idea of playing a different character, but her statement had a “knowing” or mature weight to it.  It was a longing, rather than a fun playful statement. Whether we play a part for our safety, or identity (i.e. parent or child, boss or employee), each identity has parameters which are defined by society. We can either accept or deny those parameters that have been placed on us.

What roles are you playing in life that may not be true to who you are inside?  What restrictions, if any, have been placed on you? Are those restrictions weighing you down?  What do you need to address to speak your truth?  Is there anyone in your life that is playing a role and acting in a way that screams for help?  Or perhaps they are whispering for help, but are you present to hear that whisper?  Whatever you discover, the most important thing to remember, to be healthy and happy in life, is to let go of whatever inhibits your ability to be authentically you and speak your truth in your authentic voice.

—–     —–    —–     —–     —–     —–     —–     —–

Lyrics

Party girls don’t get hurt
Can’t feel anything, when will I learn
I push it down, push it down

I’m the one “for a good time call”
Phone’s blowin’ up, they’re ringin’ my doorbell
I feel the love, feel the love

[Pre-Chorus]
1,2,3 1,2,3 drink
1,2,3 1,2,3 drink
1,2,3 1,2,3 drink

Throw ’em back, ’til I lose count

[Chorus]
I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier
I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist
Like it doesn’t exist
I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night, feel my tears as they dry
I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier

But I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ‘cos I’m just holding on for tonight
Help me, I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ‘cos I’m just holding on for tonight
On for tonight

Sun is up, I’m a mess
Gotta get out now, gotta run from this
Here comes the shame, here comes the shame

[Pre-Chorus]
1,2,3 1,2,3 drink
1,2,3 1,2,3 drink
1,2,3 1,2,3 drink

[Chorus]
I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier
I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist
Like it doesn’t exist
I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night, feel my tears as they dry
I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier

—–     —–    —–     —–     —–     —–     —–     —–

If you like this post, please like, comment or share it on social media.

RECOMMENDED