I had to grow up kind of quickly, so I've always felt older emotionally than my real age. For much of my life though, I thought I was fun to be around and maybe a bit outrageous from time to time. I like mimicking accents, I sing out loud anywhere, and some of you out there know I have a habit of talking to myself. (Maybe some some of these traits might be classified as insanity, now that I think about it a little bit more.)
Today, I got a potential perception vs. reality check. This afternoon I had a chance to interact with one of my new peers during an interview night. She was laughing and making some funny remarks, letting me know behind the scenes info, etc. After we had finished the task at hand, we had a chance to touch base before I left. She said, "I know you're the serious one, but you can lighten up a little bit." I left and got in my car. The serious one? This title feels so weird. To be taken seriously, yes ... to have my ideas valued as serious contributions, yes ... but to be known as the serious one?
In my last profession, I was encouraged to hold myself in check, because I was told it wasn't professional. I needed to be aware of the perceptions of my corporate onlookers. They would think less of me and my abilities, and I certainly didn't want that did I? I dropped dear, honey and sweetie from my vocabulary. I toned myself down and tried to keep my random singing in check, all in an effort to present myself in the way that was deemed worthy of a professional. Someone who could be in charge of a hundred people, make her numbers and be respected by her peers. Year after year, I was still presented with a thing or two that I could tweak, and out of respect and a desire to advance, I would. It often felt like I was presented as the gregarious one who made jokes (which I did do) and sometimes, it didn't come across pleasantly. In the past, but facts nonetheless.
Today's perception check may be nothing after all, we've had a limited number of interactions, often in very large group settings. I'm new, trying hard to learn ...it could be nothing. But I'll admit that as I drove home, that's not where my thoughts went. I questioned whether I was fun anymore, whether it had been so nitpicked out of me that I couldn't remember what I used to be like. How do my children perceive all this?
I'm an actor. All these arenas are just different parts to play. If you're forced to be someone else for too long, maybe you forget how to be the real you. My mother's death has a part to play - there was more to be joyful about, to look forward to. The world is gray now. I don't know which frightens me more, being stuck in the lock-step or not remembering how to get out.
Being a grown up sucks.