"I was rarely sure I liked myself, but I was certain I loved myself when I gutted myself onstage and filled the hole with a fictional character. Also: everyone else knew that I came to New York to become someone. I felt desperate to succeed on a massive scale---to take that small bit of joy I felt while in a costume and pump it into an aura of greatness that everyone could see, admire, and respect.
Going to New York was easy; doing something when I got there, not so much. If I pursued my purpose and failed, I'd have to acknowledge that I wasn't good enough to do what I was meant to do, and worse yet, I'd confirm what I assumed to be my family members' suspicions: that I was inadequate and a horrible disappointment."
I relate to every word of this passage except for the part about going to New York, considering I've never even been. (But I want to visit so bad!!!)
I used to act before I started writing. Well actually, I've been writing for as long as I can remember, but I acted before writing became my first and foremost passion to pursue. And reading this particular part of the book literally made my jaw drop because I realized that I pursued acting for the same exact reasons as Lori. First, I wanted to do something big. I wanted to be the next Dakota Fanning. (Isn't she rad?) And second, acting was an escape from myself. Being a fictional character was easier than being the awkward, lame girl that I considered myself to be in middle school. I always thought of acting as an escape. I could shed my skin and get into the skin of someone else. That was my talent---being comfortable with being anyone other than myself.
But don't get me wrong! I really loved acting and it was my way of expressing myself and coming out of my shell. I only realized later when the interest dwindled (as most of my interests often did), the deeper reason why I loved it so much. It was because I loved having permission to be someone else for a day or an hour or however long my character lasted.
And I also relate to what Lori said about her fear of failing and confirming what she assumed to be her family members' suspicions: that she was inadequate and a horrible disappointment. I have to be honest. I still have that fear. I had it when I wanted to be an actress and I have it now that I want to be a writer. It's not this intense, crippling fear that keeps me from pursuing that dream, but there is this subconscious thought in the back of my mind that my family thinks I'll fail and be of no importance as the years of my life continue to pass me by.
We all want to feel supported and accepted by our families, but unfortunately, that's just not always the case. What I've learned is that if someone truly loves you, they will support you no matter what. They won't make you feel inadequate. They won't assume that you're going to fail at everything you do in life. They will fully embrace you just as you are, dreams and all. They will be your biggest fans.
So with that said, I try my best to limit the amount of time I spend with people who make me feel bad about myself, whether it's intentional or not. I get my feelings hurt very easily and if I were to constantly spend time with people who made me feel bad, I'd still be depressed and not wanting to try or pursue anything because nothing would ever feel good enough.
So I guess that's all I wanted to share today. I wanted to explain how this excerpt was so relevant to me and also to remind you to know the difference between who really supports you and who doesn't. It feels amazing to only listen to people who encourage me and compliment my writing, both online and offline.
And just for the record...You are good enough and I will support you if no one else will.