The Stage

We all aspire to be like someone. Whether it’s someone who you admire or a type of person you strive to become, these “someone’s” inspire us daily.

The beauty of acting is you get to step into the lives of any person at any time on stage. Then when the curtains are drawn and stages are swept, you get to go home to yourself. If that person is a villain, you don’t have to deal with the consequences of her actions. If that person is a successful superstar, you don’t have to deal with the responsibilities and complicated financial decisions. If that person is an unbelievably happy character and you’re having a rough time, you get to taste some joy for a bit.

As an avid writer, I keep a log of all the characters I’ve created over the years. Slowly, the new additions to my character log started resembling different facets of me and different types of people I aspire to be like.

Now the key to writing a successful story is not just knowing your characters but actually living inside them. I know their horoscopes, pet peeves, darkest thoughts, and biggest dreams. If you ask me what one of them would do in a certain situation, I could answer without giving it a second thought. Because I know who they are, I can wedge myself into their minds comfortably and become them as I record their story. Chapter by chapter, these characters come off the page and become a friend or enemy that readers feel like they almost know in person. And me, the author? I have an arsenal of different mindsets if I ever need to become like any of my characters.

But what people forget is that your life IS the stage. The only way to be just like your “someone” is thinking their thoughts. Her habits, her attitude, her approaches to situations all need to become a part of your mindset. If you know there is something in your life that you need to get rid of in order to become anything like your “someone,” remove it. She wouldn’t tolerate it, so why should you? You don’t need to look like her, dress like her, or walk like her. Costumes are for the audience. No matter how accurate they are, audiences are not convinced you are that character unless you embody their mindset. You just need to think like her. You need to understand and want her values. You need to be open to embracing some challenges and change and strong enough to accept them. And if you do choose to be in costume, you need to convince them that your words and actions are actually you, not someone you’re just pretending to be.

We evolve and grow every day. Sometimes it’s great! Other times, we don’t know how much longer we can push through obstacles. Getting to know the new “you” is going to take sometime. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Rome is still being built. So are you. As you go forth and figure out just who you want to become, there is one thing you need to keep in mind: your “someone,” whether she is a real person or just a persona, needs to become your mentor. She is NOT you. You are you. She is she. You can think like her, dress like her, and learn from her, be like her, but you cannot actually try to BE her. Every person is unique for a reason. She has some really great traits and values, but you have your own too. Don’t lose them. Don’t morph into someone else. There’s a very important balance you have to be mindful of. Aspire to be like her. But also aspire to be the best version of yourself, someone you are proud of and genuinely happy with.

She’s simply the director. YOU are on center stage.

Good luck, lady tartans! May you win the Oscar of a lifetime.