Acting and Paranoia; my mind, transparent

I’m sitting here, at 11:00 at night, after a long night of rehearsal. It’s tech week for my school musical, and I just walked home.

When I walk home from school, my mind wanders. Often to a song that’s on my mind, or maybe just some deep self-reflection.

Tonight, I thought about why I love acting. Because let’s be honest, I’m not a great singer, and I’m the polar opposite of what you’d call an “adequate dancer”. And I came to this conclusion:

I am always acting, but I love acting on stage, because when I’m on stage, everyone knows that I’m acting. I am not judged or held responsible for my character’s actions.

The main point here: I start acting the moment my feet hit the parking lot. I start trying to adjust the way I walk, the way I talk, and even the way I appear to feel to try and match those around me. I put on a show of conformity, and it’s a show I’m not good at.

And it makes me paranoid. I’m always looking through the lens of what others will think. Specifically other guys. Teenage guys tend to be very confused and often-times, straight-up-idiotic in how they treat and think of others (in many cases, girls, but also each other). And deep down, even though I disagree harshly with many of their thoughts and actions, I fake my contentment and play along, not even thinking about how I’m encouraging them to keep destroying their own reputations.

The sad truth is, I’m a very different person than what my peers at school see. Yes, there are moments where I really am myself, but most of the time, I’m just doing what I think the people around me will more easily accept.

And I’m not really even trying anymore. It’s a force of habit at this point. I don’t even think about it anymore, I just naturally start choosing to do the things I don’t feel like doing. Like participating in gossip. Like sitting in a group of castmates and joining in (or starting) to judge other castmates. Or swearing my mouth off every chance I get.

And I honestly make myself sick.

The worst part? When I am myself, people like it. When I really just let my inhibitions go and start acting like Benjamin Mariano, I don’t feel hated or judged, However, because I did feel judged for years (namely middle school), I’ve become to scared to just always live that way.

I’ve become too good at being a hypocrite. I’ve become too good at being one person at my church youth group (which is honestly close to a second-home to me) and being a totally different guy at school. And when I’m home, it becomes obvious that I’m split between these two worlds, as my relationship with my family members suffers from the Jekyll and Hyde that is my sanity.

And honestly, if I had let go of these confusions a long time ago, I feel like my life would be different. I might be more well-liked had I just been myself from the start. But there’s nothing that can change the past.

I realize now I’m writing this more for me than anyone else. To get all down; to let it all out. To get a bit more sound of a sleep knowing it’s out there, and that by chance, someone may read it and get it. Get me. Understand what my deal is.

And I only hope one day someone will stumble upon this, and suddenly not feel alone in this struggle; this confusion. Because I sure as hell do.

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One thought on “Acting and Paranoia; my mind, transparent

  1. Hey Benjamin –

    I get it.

    I don’t know if anybody else saw this post – it looks like you took it down shortly after it went up, but I saw it right away and have not been able to get it out of my mind/heart. You know me and how I value honesty and transparency. I love it when people are courageous enough to put it out there, and I wish more people did what you did here.

    I wish I could say that the struggle to be liked and accepted by those around us goes away. I don’t think it does – I think it just changes over time and over time we get better at managing the tension and living out of our real identity. What’s awesome here is that you’re noticing the disconnects between who you truly ARE and how you ACT at times, and you’re not cool with it. I love that. That’s the Holy Spirit working inside you, and I’m praising God today that you’re in the game. I love Romans 7 – specifically in verse 15-25 – I love it because of who writes it. Paul, the spiritual gladiator of his day, honestly shares about this very same struggle within himself…

    I don’t have a cool story or a profound bit of wisdom, other than to just let you know I’m with you in the journey, I’m not gonna stop tracking with you after you graduate, and I hope you know that I’m one of those people that really does like the real you more than any other “you”.

    Love ya man, Cory

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