Acting asks us to do things that we avoid in life.
You know, like feel.
Emote. Get angry. Lose our shit. Live in desperateness. Be vulnerable. Do awkward things. Be physical. Trust our instinct. Live privately publicly. Be seen with our imperfections. Stay in conflict.
But it’s hard to call upon and then live in those deep expressions of being human in our work when A) we run away from them in life and B) our natural tendency is to avoid conflict and seek stasis.
Simply, in life when it comes to big conflict, our fight or flight response kicks in.
Generally we run away, shut down, deny, brace for impact, pretend nothing’s happening at all, or get passive-aggressive.
But those options aren’t really what makes for authentic, dynamic, voluminous, free storytelling when it comes to acting.
So life makes us not want to feel and acting is asking us to feel fully. WTF! It’s some major contradictory cosmic joke being played on artists.
But this is why we study. And practice. And attempt and try things. And experience.
This is why we build awareness and expand our consciousness. This is why we become empaths and stop judging (ourselves and others). And as we start to change our relationship to our feelings we are able to more effortlessly feel them and share them. In life and in our work.
It’s not a gender problem. It’s a human being problem. But since men and women both process and express feelings differently, and as feeling becomes more complex (and often more painful) both genders have ways to control and shut down. The goal is to let go of that which needs to be released in order to energetically give rise to story.
Sometimes, I’ve found it’s about allowing ourselves to be more like the other in our work. Basically it’s finding your spirit animal in the other sex! For men, it’s often allowing themselves to be more sensitive, to give themselves permission to feel things that culturally they don’t often allow themselves to feel. Vulnerability.
For women, it’s about getting into the unapologetic part of themselves. To stop saying, “Sorry!” for simply existing and to actually get more into their (manly) ownership of things. It’s okay to be strong.
From a scientific standpoint, we are both. We are all both masculine and feminine energy. We are all Yin and Yang. We’re really just a bunch of sex cells that are genderless until fertilization. We’re all potential.
So let us all allow our heroes to be both men and women. Seeing the qualities in others, regardless of gender, that inspire us to be better human beings. Not because we ascribe them as male or female, but instead as brave, honest, real, compassionate, strong, genuine and electric.