[THE GROWN UP CHILD ACTOR] INSECURITIES

I was going to write about acting, but this insecurities thing is burning on my mind and last time I checked this is my bloody blog and I can write whatever I want to.

I’m quite open about insecurities because I know everyone has them. Recently I’ve had to face some insecurities I thought I was done with. It’s sobering to learn that some insecurities just don’t go away. Not completely.

So much of being an actor is about facing and living with your insecurities, but I feel that’s really because we’re all human. We all have insecurities, actor or not. Maybe this blog post could be a standalone outside of this series; or to be honest, I could probably also start a one called “Insecurity is My Middle Name”.

Before we go into the things I’m insecure about, let’s start with some ground rules. Try not to judge or bitch too much. If you’re going to tell me I have no right to feel a certain way, or that I’m just ungrateful, you might not understand what insecurities are. Insecurities can be irrational, which is why they’re a bitch to live with, but also why we stand a chance at working through them.

So. Shall we begin?

I’m insecure about:

  1. My thighs, and calves… let’s just say my legs
  2. My tummy, the way it sticks out after a meal… even though I know it’s supposed to do that
  3. My eye brows
  4. My profile, as in how my face looks from the side
  5. My face, actually
  6. My laugh
  7. My nails, please don’t look at them
  8. My singing, not that I actually need to sing for anyone
  9. My personality
  10. My sentimentality, it makes me feel like I care more than others do, as if that’s a crime

I think this is becoming a list of things I don’t love about myself, and could go on forever, but while it lasted – all ten points of it – it was great to get off my chest and to openly say that those are the things that would drain my confidence if you paid attention to it.

Naturally, being an actor means you’re always under the world’s microscope. I get it, we signed up for a very public job, it’s what we get paid to do. What really bothered and hurt me though, was the kind of scrutiny that comes from within the business. To be fair, it happens but it’s not the actors who do this the most, it’s the crew who feel safe enough to let their mouths run with no repercussions. They are not the ones in front of a camera. They are the ones making the magic happen, but also tearing you down with seemingly innocent comments (yea right) like you’re too thin or are you sure you want to eat that? I get that if they’re not the ones on the receiving end they really might not understand it, but they’re in this world with you and you’d think they will know not to act like little shits. It hurts because you think you’re on the same team.

When you have a job, you need to take feedback. When you are a performer, the feedback becomes immensely personal. If you can’t take it as mere objective professional feedback, and when the subjective personal ones come and you can’t brush it off, your insecurities will consume you. I have battled eating disorder twice in my life (we’ll get to this in a later blog post), so if I’ve rapidly gained weight over the last month or two, I know what’s up. It’s bad enough when the world already tells you your body has to be a certain way when you’re still learning about yourself, but when people around you tell you you’ve gotten fat? No shit I had no idea my own body that I live in is going through some changes, which, just so it’s clear, I don’t like either. That’s when you long for constructive criticism that you can actually focus and work on. 

They say we are our own biggest enemy, and I think when it comes to insecurities it’s true. People can say whatever they want, but I think it only hurts because we believe it. I hated seeing myself on screen. I hated hearing my own voice. I hated watching playbacks and not knowing if I’m unhappy with the scene because of how I actually performed, or if I was only unsettled by the way my chin looked when I made a face. So you start working on delivering lines and reactions in front of a mirror, in a way where you can do it with an attractive face without compromising the quality of the emotion or whatever it is. You know how actresses cry on screen with full emotions and still look flawless? That’s what it is; but more on this when we get to the acting post.

You start off paying more attention to something that affects your job, but next thing you know you’re obsessing over whether your eyebrows are symmetrical, and then you realize your face isn’t even symmetrical. Then you try to figure out which side looks better but you just get frustrated because you’ve been staring at it for so long your eyes can’t even focus anymore. So you go and do your nails, and then you worry about the tiny wrinkles on your fingers… I know, wtf? It’s never-ending.

These insecurities come and go. Sometimes I swat it off like a fly, other times I let it haunt and paralyze me. There are ones that I know are very insignificant and irrational, but then there are the ones that threaten to become your demons. I know where the small insecurities come from (small like, what if someone realizes there are wrinkles on my fingers?). There may be detours if you try to trace it, but they all come from the big question of: Is my true self likeable?

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