Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Thumbsucking and life

I have this routine. I get off work on Tuesdays and generally head over to the video store because on Tuesday the new releases come out (same with cds). Then I hie myself home and watch one of the three (yes I always get three don't ask why because I don't know). Today was no different really. Roman Polanski's Oliver Twist came out today as did The Aristocrats (lots of comedians telling the same dirty joke) but the one I really wanted was Thumbsucker. I had heard about it and really really wanted to see it although I didn't know much about it. Now I'm glad that I did. Matter of fact it's going on my top 100 list of movies. I'll let you read the description yourself but I definately think that it's a great movie.

The movie made me do a bit of thinking. Yup, you guessed it, time to peak inside my brain again and see what's going on and ya know what? I'm not sure it's all that pretty but here we go nonetheless....

I want to thank my parents for something. They taught me how to pretend really well. Mom taught me that you can just gloss over anything, pretend it isn't there, it doesn't happen. She showed me how you pretend that everything is fine and happy, even when you're not. Maybe if you try and pretend hard enough and try and make it all sunshine and roses....but ya know it won't be that way so you just gloss over it and still pretend.

My dad? He taught me how to be a man. Yup. Men don't talk about certain things, unless they are among friends. Men don't show the pain that builds up and eats away at you until it gets to critical mass. Men get up and go to work pretending that it means something somwhere if you work hard and you'll supposedly get ahead in life. You pretend to have a life, although you do nothing more than work and come home to Tv. Being a man is about taking your lumps and keeping silent about it, and all those secret things that you have in your head? Well, let's just pretend that they are, or aren't there....but only in private.

See, I'm an entertainer at heart. I can switch before your very eyes into someone completely different if I want and part of me thinks that it was a coping mechanism. From 6th grade until my 10th grade year, I was the "fat geeky kid". Being from a family of pretenders, I was told that I could come to them with anything...yeah right. They wouldn't have known how to handle what I was thinking and going through. I liked the attention when I made folks laugh. I hated the attention when I was getting picked on and didn't know how to defend myself. Finally, I found theatre and things began to be a bit better for me but that wasn't until I was in 10th grade. At that point, all that I had seen between my parents just showed me how different I was from them and guess what....I became the pretender son.

I have no idea where life is supposed to be going for me, only where I want it to be and what I would like to be doing. I have no clue how to get there. I also don't do well in social situations where I don't know anyone very well. I became The Shadow early on, yes indeed I did. I can be the fly on the wall who hears a lot but never says a word. Conversely, I can try and be the life of the party, only inside I'm scared shitless and petrified of what other people are thinking of me and how I look.

I'm starting to think that all this "pretending" has very little to do with acting. It's about finding out who I am and how can I cope with things beyond my capabilities. And what spurred all of this? Thumbsucker. That is the reason why I wanted to be an actor. I wanted to make movies, or perform in a play, that would affect someone on this level. I haven't given up hope completely yet, but there is a large portion of me that is simply pretending that it would be nice if it happened. The other portion of me is out there looking to see where I am.


Rey a.k.a. "Mr. Secret" said...

If you move out to NYC, I can hook you up with one of my best friends who is a casting agent for movies, commercials and music videos, as a start (just dangling an incentive... let's see if he bites).

But yeah, pretending and acting are two different things, especially in life. When you pretend, you enter a fantasy world where real world physics doesn't exist. Whereas acting, you're just putting on a mask... same place, same time, same problems.

I think it's time to take off the mask, Michael... Step out of the shadows and into the spotlight.

I hear you can do a mean tap dance.

joey said...

Excuse me. That was a little rude poking inside my brain and pulling out this post. :)

Yup. I wonder how many of us who grew up to be wannabe actors started out exactly the same.

Martin said...

Well, I'm no actor, but I'm great at "pretending", so I understand what you're saying.
Keep looking for that path that will lead you where you want to go and I'm sure you'll make it there.

Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed reading this, beautifully written - why does the word 'pretend' come in to it at all.
You are a good friend, and so very much appreciated, just the way you are.
Be proud of yourself, my good friend.

Miladysa said...

I think you have reached an awful lot of people with this post Michael.

Beautifully written!

ScandinavienNova said...

It looks like we come from the same family Michael.. My family does also live in a fantasy world, tha's why they hate me so much since I refuse to live in a fake reality. If I am hurting I am..if I am happy I am.. If my life is crap I tell people that and so on..they would die before doing the same.

Ryan said...

hey bro we will talk sometime this weekend. i just been sleeping alot i missed your call the other day.