My dark side is real and ever present. Some call it depression but I think of it as my truth. It doesn’t allow me to tell much of a lie. It doesn’t allow me to be phony or petty. It reminds me that there is a certain realness to life that maybe I sometimes forget. It reminds me that if I live in a limbo of distractions for too long, my life becomes unhealthy.
Maybe my phone shouldn’t be attached to me and a dinner party is not where I am most loved. Maybe the validation of who I am should not lie in the affection of a man. Maybe the weight of my body isn’t nearly as important as the weight of my heart. The weight of my love for my family and friends. The weight of the love I have for myself, or lack thereof at times. My dark side tells me, “Hey, slow down. Remember your purpose. Remember your truth.” It knocks me on my ass. It stops me in my tracks.
An acting coach once told me that I have depth and that comment has always stuck with me. When it comes to acting, all I search for is truth within myself, whether it’s on stage or in front of a camera. There is nothing harder to me than stashing all my insecurities in a drawer and showing myself to the world. To stand there naked and say, “Look at me. I am human. I am flawed,” and to look in the mirror and say those exact same things to myself. I sometimes wonder if not every actor has questioned their career choice. Not just because of rejection, but because it means challenging yourself constantly. You are always learning. You are always growing. I think most people are uncomfortable with that type of challenge.
I’ve struggled with it my whole life. Trying to be one way on the outside and live with who I am on the inside. Only now, that I am older, do I accept this challenge as a liberating one. That is where my darkness stems from but that is also where my truth rests. Within me, there is an eagerness to let it out and that is why I chose to be an actor.
There is a certain vulnerability that actors possess. I grapple with that vulnerability but when I tap into it, it’s euphoric. There is no better feeling. I love the stage and the way that I feel when I challenge myself and conquer my fears. I love the feeling of being able to share pieces of who I am with complete strangers who completely understand. I love that I’m seeking truth through a role and asking truth of the audience. There, in the dark, they too are vulnerable. They too let their guard down and allow themselves to be affected. I love being in the audience. I love the feeling I get when I leave a movie theater or a play and I feel like my life has been altered. That is the beauty of art. It affects everyone involved, no matter where they are standing.
Over time, I’ve learned that my dark side doesn’t need to be a bad thing. My greatest curse is actually my one true blessing. My dark side emerges when I try to run from who I am. When I try to escape from myself. It doesn’t need to make me sad. It needs to keep me honest and to keep me on my toes. It helps me relate to others and it helps them relate to me. My dark side is nothing other than truth knocking on the door yelling, “Hey! Let me out of here!”
I used to think that it was sadness that drove any art form and I always wondered if someone truly happy could produce something creative that was worthy of recognition. I think now, I just understand that honesty is what makes any art form worthy. People just want to be loved and they want something relatable. They want something honest. I think that is the key to touching people’s hearts.