Thursday, October 18, 2007

My Own Indelible Smallness

No one will believe me. No matter how I say it. Why won’t they listen? Do I say it with too much humor? Too much nonchalance?

You believe me, though, right? You believe when I say: I am not as strong as you think I am. I’m not even as strong as I pretend to be. Everyone looks at me and sees innocence. So, maybe I’ve never done drugs or drank a drop of alcohol but does that make me innocent? I’m a Scorpio people; you know it’s not really there. I just know how to let you see only what I want you to see. Even if I’ve told you, I can make you forget. It’s part of my power. Power I don’t really want.

Everyone looks at me when I teach and they see exactly what I put up there for them to see. They see confidence in the topic and in my ability to be up there talking about it. There’s no way to explain it, really. It’s just years of practice. It’s not really there.

Stop thinking that I’m strong. Stop thinking that I can handle things. Stop thinking that I can carry on. Stop thinking that there are great things in my future. Stop thinking of me as someone who can handle what life gives to her. Stop thinking and rescue me from this façade! I am not strong. Nor do I want to be strong. I want everyone to see past the nearly six feet tallness of me and see how small I am inside! Innocence?! Yes, but it’s hidden behind the strength you all keep piling on top of me! I am not strong. I need help to survive! Why will no one recognize that! Why don’t I cry? Really have you ever asked yourself that? Why doesn’t Maaike cry? I’ll tell you why…you can choose to believe it or not, but it’s the truth as I see it. I don’t cry because NO ONE wants to comfort the “big” girl. I can carry four bags and a petite blonde can carry two and men will rush up to help her. Why? Oh, Maaike’s big enough, she can handle it. A big girl cries and someone hands her a tissue. A petite girl cries and men rush to hold her in their arms. Being always the tallest girl in my classes growing up I learned this. Over the years it has become more and more true—so why would I unlearn it. I doesn’t matter how much my heart breaks, all anyone can say is, “She’s a big girl. She can handle it.” Why should I bother with tears.

Sometimes I wish there were a reason to be as strong as people seem to think I am. A gun to my head and someone shouting at me, “What do you really believe!” Or “Who would you really die for?” Or maybe some type of apocalyptic event to make me prove myself. But this? This day to day stuff. This isn’t strength. This is a cover. This is me acting. Rest assured, 95% of the time when I say, “No, it’s okay…I’m fine.” Those are not the words my mind is screaming. Is it really always my fault that no one can hear?

That’s why I cannot do the scene I’ve been asked to do for acting class. It is a scene that would require me to LIVE OUT MY GREATEST FEAR IN FRONT OF A CLASS THAT IS THEN GOING TO CRITIQUE MY BELIEVABILITY.

This is not a scene asking me to become someone I’m not. This is a scene asking me to take down every carefully built wall around me and exposing all my weaknesses to strangers. Things I try not to even tell myself…or even my best friends! This scene is asking me to strip bare and walk into class knowing that every part of me is exposed to eyes that will see every flaw. Eyes I wouldn’t necessarily trust with the simplest part of me, let alone my greatest fear.

Let me play someone I am not. Then I will act. Let me be the strong woman who doesn’t need to be rescued. Let me be the gun-wielding psychopath. Let me be the mysterious stranger selling elixirs to the simple-minded peasants. But DO NOT ask me to be myself on stage, call me by another name, so that I can pretend that I am acting.


sally said...


But that's what acting is.

That's what I face every time I go on stage. Doesn't matter if it's in a class or in front of a paying audience. That's why you've been assigned this scene. It's everybody's greatest fear. Being yourself. In public. And not measuring up.

But you know what? Give other people a chance to see who you are. You will measure up. How very well you measure up may surprise you.

Katie said...

You don't have to be strong.