Let me just say that I don’t think some people truly understand the depth of what actors go through. The “athletes of emotion” and “the bearer of burdens”. Honestly, I don’t think people really understand what that means. Yes, we portray other characters and people and we feel what they feel, but what about how we got to that point?
Speaking as an actor, I literally tear out my insides, poke around and find what makes me a person. Because until I truly know myself, I may never be able to genuinely play another living human being. And let me tell you: Ripping yourself apart like that hurts. Badly. And I not only do it for the sake of art. But for the sake of myself. My family. My fellow actors. And especially the audience.
I do it to know myself. So that I might learn to love all that I’ve overcome and all that makes me, me. I do it to feel every emotion possible even the bad ones, to truly know what makes me a living breathing human being. I do it so I can feel. I do it so I can empathize. I do it so I can understand something bigger and outside of myself. Because I’m selfish. And I desperately want to know what it’s like to see beyond my sight and mind and opinion.
I do it for my family. So that they may see who I have become because of and in spite of what they put me through. I do it because I love them. Because I want to show them the passion that I have for people. So that they may feel that passion too. A passion that grows beyond my mere self.
I do it for my fellow actors. Because I know that we all need a little support sometimes. I would be nowhere had it not been for the people who knew exactly what it’s like to stand where I am standing. I would be nowhere if not for the encouraging smiles, the nods of acknowledgement and acceptance and the snaps communicating I agree with you, or I have been where you have been and I know what you know.
I do it for the audience. I suffer for them, so they don’t have to. I distract them so they can remember what joy feels like. Or love. Or freedom. Or contentness. I push them, not to believing my point of view, but to expand their own and challenge themselves as I wish to be challenged. I threaten their feeling of security while comforting them in isolation. And just as my fellow actors did for me, I will show them that I have been there, and that I care and understand and that what they are feeling is not worthless. That they are not worthless. They are valid. Special. And here for a purpose and a reason.
Just like I am.