Leading up to this huge shift in our world, I’d been going through what is labelled, rather blandly and boringly in my opinion, a mid-life crisis.
Last spring a brand new energy began coursing through my body, and it’s been reliably screaming at me in variable decibels depending on the day:
Are you gonna do what you’re here to do or not?
It’s a very “shit or get off the pot” vibe and it has accompanied me throughout all of my experiences over the last year and remains with me today. It feels like a tough-love best friend who constantly reminds me that settling is no longer an option.
This energy has made it a lot easier to end things that are keeping me from experiencing what I want to experience.
I can stand up, take up space, and protect myself in ways I used to feel incapable of doing. I feel bold in my ability to self protect.
To be clear, I still get freaked the fuck out when doing it, but there is no other option with this energy: I HAVE to take action.
I’ve never been a wallflower, but I tried to be one for a long time – to hide.
This mid-life crisis vibe is refusing to let me dabble with playing small.
Sure, over the past 6 years or so I’ve been steadily shifting & changing – transforming. But over the last year, it’s been undeniably next level.
My understanding of who I am and what I’m meant to do has been flipped on its freakin’ head.
It began super randomly. I remember sitting in front of the TV early last year, watching an actor on some show. And I remember intimately feeling the emotions of the scene while this wave of acknowledgment came over me, infusing into every single cell in my body. It said,
If you do this, you will feel free.
Shortly after that experience, a bunch of synchronistic events occurred which resulted in getting signed to a talent agency and working on a movie. These moments came with such velocity and speed I barely had time to breathe.
OK, I had enough time, I was just SO fucking nervous my chest felt incapable of appropriate degrees of expansion for breathing to occur. But the consensus amidst all of the new experiences and the ever-present difficulty drawing in air was,
I am meant to be an actor.
Something about being on set lit me up, which was wild to realize because up until that point, life experience taught me that I was better off in the company of the most minimal of people.
Tons of people on a movie set. It’s chaotic and crazy and volatile which in my day to day life, is an environment I would steer clear of. It takes so long for me to shake stuff like that off: I’m empathic to the point of impairment at times.
Yet I remained so detached and unaffected by the chaos when it occurred on a movie set. It felt like I’d been there before – I’d done this kind of work before – and I knew how to handle it.
Whatever I felt resonated because whenever someone found out I’d never worked on a set before they were surprised. And as far as acting – at that point background performing, which is acting without words, where many actors start out to gain set experience and connections – the consensus from many people, including the director was, “You’re a natural.”
Acting with actual lines, I received the same results. After a few classes and huge degrees of fear-based hesitancy were worked through (who am I kidding? 😂 They are still being worked through!) acting came very naturally to me. I can tap into strong emotions very quickly and rather seamlessly integrate my flair for the comedic into improvisations.
Before this whole mid-life crisis inspired questioning-of-my-purpose began, I had zero inclination that acting would be my thing.
The people from my past who weren’t my biggest fans? They might have a different view of it. 😂 I mean, I was known for being dramatic. I understand why now, from a compassionate place, but for a long time it was a point of self-shame for me.
It was something that people judged me for. For the outsider with no understanding of the repercussions of trauma, or through the lens of those who see women who speak up and take up space as a negative, who I was wasn’t a celebratory thing. Just the opposite.
Sadly, for a very long time, I was the outsider.
I was the person who thought women shouldn’t take up so much space. I hadn’t done the digging into the reality of my childhood experiences, to see how they had conditioned me to abandon myself and my fellow females, and how they were inspiring my dramatic outbursts that no one seemed interested in witnessing.
I had no understanding of why I behaved the way I did, why I couldn’t just blend into the crowd. I just hated myself for it because no one seemed to like me in that form.
And I hadn’t built any foundation of self-esteem or self-love to see the power in my capacity to live from a deeply emotive state. Nor had I been able to see that the people I was drawn to were incapable of valuing the well of emotions that existed within me, or understanding how they could be channelled into powerful creative pursuits. I mean I didn’t know how, so how could I expect the people I was partying with to know?
But then came last spring when I realized that all the moments I was dramatic and over the top, either in my eyes or in the eyes of others, were for a purpose.
They were indications that I was meant to utilize my flair for the dramatic and my ability to be seen and take up space productively, through acting.
One of my driving forces in life is to share content and stories that make people think. To trigger them (this isn’t always fun to do but it comes with the territory when you speak out) to look within and ask WHY.
Why do you feel this way about that person? Why do you feel that way about yourself?
It’s in the willingness to answer those questions, and question everything we’ve normalized that transformation begins.
Asking why is one of the most powerful acts of self-love.
I’ve done a lot of work on myself to be able to get to this point. I used to be driven by a desire to lash out, do drugs, overeat and argue. I now know how to self-soothe, so all of the above isn’t as much of an issue for me.
I work hard to take ownership of my pain. I call myself out on what I need to work on instead of spreading it all over everything I touch and see. Even though I wince when I have to look the undesirable stuff in the face, especially when I have to head in the “what’s alive in you is alive in me” direction, I do the work.
It’s my job. I’m here to break the cycle of abuse I come from.
There are days when I can see that I’m being co-dependant, judgmental, or jealous. Angry. Resentful (now that’s a destructive feeling to hold near and dear. And I realize I need to process it in the company of no one, stat, so I don’t place the energy of those emotional states onto other people.
Sometimes I fail.
I always feel bad when I do. Guilty. More often than not, ashamed. I’m always trying to do better. But I remind myself consistently that it’s really about the art of the attempt – the intention to do better with this kind of work. And that takes me out of the inherited shame narratives I was taught to own.
The pathway to transformation is within and through your willingness to do better next time.
But now, after giving myself permission to embrace the performer within me, I channel ALL my experiences into my creative life. Even when I’ve been a grade-A asshole to my love, or felt survivalist narcissistic traits trying to take over a conversation or a choice: I don’t let those experiences go to waste, I utilize them so I can learn from them.
I see acting as an opportunity to transmute destructive feelings, both within myself and within others.
If I can give the feelings within me a chance to be witnessed and worked through via a creative performance, I can perhaps help others see and feel their feelings, and transmute them.
Connection through performance is powerful. It can incite empathy. It can inspire people to think and try to do things differently. To ask the inner questions that need to be asked.
Acting has given me an outlet for my capacity to feel.
All the years of absorbing what went unspoken and dealing with the trauma that came with my ability to do that can now be channelled into character development and scene work.
Realizing the power of this channelling of my abilities has been cathartic. It has inspired self-forgiveness.
I felt ashamed and guilty about my empathic abilities for the majority of my life. I had no clue why I couldn’t get a handle on the anxiety and depression, and the addictions I relied on to try to escape how I felt.
I felt inherently flawed which was affirmed by many people, including my parents, doctors and the media. I was lambasted with toxic medications that made me shake, and labels that made me cower in the corner.
I tried to outrun it all and it almost killed me.
Now I see the power in my experiences. They can be used to make art.
When I am rehearsing a monologue, I feel actualized. Like I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing. On point with my purpose. When I write a scene for a potential web series, I feel aligned with who I am.
It took me a long while to get there. I spent a good section of my life believing life was all about money – how I could make money. I wrestled with the toxic ancestral narrative: “You need to make money at what you do, all the time, or else there is no point in doing it.”
My mid-life catharsis, in conjunction with this apocalyptic state of the world has helped me see how the money-centric narrative needs to end.
Money first, life purpose second is not meant to live within me anymore. Or on this planet.
Since this pandemic began, I’ve been steering myself in directions I’m meant to go.
I’ve given myself permission to follow what my heart wants to do.
Every day I wake up and work on my fostering my creativity in some capacity. I make an effort to do something, no matter how small.
I research. I read a book. I rehearse a monologue. I watch a movie that inspires me or helps me formulate a character. I join a free webinar. I write. And write and write and write.
And I think a lot.
Through this viral outbreak has come an opportunity to disentangle with the stories that tell me I need to keep trying so hard at things that tell me to abandon myself.
I’ve been given an opportunity to be who I am to the fullest.
To be able to stop feeling ashamed for not doing what other people taught me I needed to do, in order to be able to accept myself has been fucking soul altering.
Mid-life crisis and this covid-19 outbreak have taught me to stop being led by something that isn’t meant to lead me.
They have taught me that resistance to change is viral.
So much change is happening as a result of this pandemic. The world will never be the same. We will never be the same.
It’s time to step into the new unknown, whether we feel ready to or not – To face the fear of it instead of letting it lead us.
Full disclosure: there is not one thing I’ve experienced over the past year I felt ready to do.
With every single experience that came up, I felt like I needed more time to process or learn, or someone to consult with before I took the leap and did it.
I received none of those things but I did it anyway. And I transformed.
So can you. We can do it together.
If you feel the pull to share how the alterations to your world – your normal – in the face of covid-19 have changed your life or your views, I’d love to hear from you.
Contact me privately or leave a comment below. 💗
So much love to you – to us all – during this time of unprecedented changes to the fibres of our lives.