Losing to find myself

Acting happened to me by accident. That’s how I originally opened this narrative- clichéd, acceptable and safe. And this came from a lifetime of playing safe by doing what is acceptable and keeping a low profile- the introvert’s survival guide. For a major part of my growing up years I didn’t know how to express myself. I couldn’t express what I thought even to my own self! There’s no story behind it. It’s just who I was and probably still am, at least partially.

So let me begin again with the truth this time, that acting was imposed on me. And because it held the promise of a better future I committed to it half-heartedly. Half-heartedly because this better future was not my idea. In fact, I couldn’t help but think of it as a massive gamble. Giving up a corporate job to taking up acting professionally is not just an introvert’s nightmare but also a huge sin for a middle-class college educated guy. Nevertheless, once I committed to it, I
dived in headfirst. I’ll stop right here because my reason for getting into acting (and later getting out of it) is a story for another day.

During my acting classes (yes, I took professional training), I realised that while initially I was faking interest and was a nervous wreck, I gradually started feeling light. From time to time I saw a different side of myself. I couldn’t decide whether that was genuine or I was acting to be like that during acting. Since nobody in the class knew me before the course, they couldn’t see any of that which I thought was a good thing.

Putting on mask brought out the real me. A strong believer in method acting, as I delved into the depths of the character, I discovered the layers within me. I discovered my range of good and evil. My conclusion was the each human being has an infinite potential for goodness and evil. And most of us will gravitate towards goodness because that is the natural state to be in. This is my personal belief but I don’t think that the truth is much different. Despite the wars and oppression and destruction caused by a few, there always are the just, the kind, and those who stand up for what’s right.
Coming back to the topic of my discovery of self, I took to comedy easily despite our teacher warning us that comedy is a serious business and quite difficult as a subject. I had never realised that I was funny until my classmates were rolling with laughter at even the smallest of things that I did unintentionally. I had never been this comfortable in my skin or had this level of clarity ever earlier. Never had I earlier cried so freely or displayed my passionate side. Acting was to me, what meditation is to some. While losing myself in the characters I played, I at long last found myself.

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