Your Body Is Right

The Raw Naked Side of Myself (III)

Naive and Idealistic

I seemed to be quite confident in high-school, but I was rather shy and a good kid who wanted to make her dreams come true – naive and idealistic. Thank God I still am idealistic and that I haven’t lost that along the way!

I’ve started working with a renowned acting teacher from Bucharest. Now this teacher was very good from what I have heard at that time and I loved the acting classes with her as I felt that I was growing, learning a lot and getting better and better! But the strange thing that happened at some point was that she became very close to me. She was a very lonely lady and I was there to listen to her scattered dreams!

I felt at some point that I have became her friend, confident and even daughter, which was completely overwhelming for me, especially that her method of acting and the method that most teachers used was to strip you down of your personality and start building a version of you, basically putting their own shit there and what do you know?

You are just a kid with big dreams who thinks that this is right. It must be right. Of course, you are too young to understand the world – they tell you. The way that I saw the world was not really right and my body was definitely not right.

I wanted to be an actress so I was supposed to have long hair, be thinner – of course, and be all innocent and naive as this is what they were looking for: the Julieta type in Shakespeare’s classic. She did use some of my experiences, the ones she thought are interesting for our work and for myself, but to put me into the shoes of a ‘Julieta’ was so far from myself and not the right path to take.

The Rebellion

I was young and a bit crazy 🙂 partying a lot during that time and – I believe that in some sort of a protest to what my acting teacher was ‘forcing’ upon me – I shaved my head and then dyed it red just a couple of months before the admission. I believe I was so sick of playing the ‘nice girl’, ‘the good girl who has to listen to get the part’. This was my rebellion.

I still remember the moment when she saw me for the very first time like this. I was waiting in the big lobby of the University with my red bold head, black big circular earrings and a black flared retro jacket that I bought in London that year.

I was myself again. I felt GORGEOUS again!

It was night and there was almost no one there in the lobby. The light of the elevator blinked and the doors opened. She was starring at the ground, then easily raised her look. When she met my face, her large blue eyes enlarged heavily and she gasped, frightened, but in just a glimpse, the fright turned into anger.

I have started to be a bit afraid of her as I clearly haven’t thought of the consequences. I was 19 and it was a fun thing to do but now seeing her angry look I thought… what if she doesn’t  want to work with me anymore? What if I am not good enough, what if I was wrong, what if my hair is not right? I am definitely not Julieta now! 

***

We walked to class in complete and utterly scary silence. She didn’t even look at me. The minute we step in, she brutally asks me why have I done it, like I did something so atrocious. ‘It feels good’, I replied. She paused and then: ‘Well, we still have time and it will grow. Please don’t shave it again…’ 

Turning Into Somebody You Are Simply Not

I haven’t shaved my head ever since. 🙂 But, something really odd happened during that time and only now I realize why I felt that I do not belong for so many years. When I was 14 I tattooed on my back the meaning of ‘free spirit’, of having a free spirit and not being owned by a society or anyone. It was pure instinct and now I definitely thank my 14-year-old self for feeling this, because she was so raw and idealistic. I could not fit into norms, into boring clothes 😀 or that role of being a good girl, just like everyone else was expecting from me. So, definitely do not make me wear a boring dress! But, I wanted so badly to succeed that I followed exactly her lead…

I definitely looked older in that dress and she kept on insisting that I have to look decent. Why should I look decent? Because I shaved my head? By the way, my hair was already longer… quite, decent, I might say 😀

I didn’t feel good at all. Why some people try so badly to turn you into their little “alter-ego”? Parents, partners, teachers, mentors…

Why do they feel so badly to add their mark and to force upon you their values? Why don’t they let you be YOU and explore that and help you get to that persona, to the real you? To help you and guide you to show your true colors. There are some excellent people in your life right now that they are definitely right for you, but we both know that some of them are not and I am sure that we both experienced one or two similar things, especially when we were young. Those are the most fragile moments.

I flunked the second time too, at the very end of the competition. I knew that I was going to fail the minute I walked out of it and actually, the minute I walked in, as I wasn’t feeling MYSELF. I was not wearing my style, my personality was crushed and I felt manipulated. I clearly didn’t have the maturity and the knowledge to know how to handle everything. I felt so terrible and so bad and realized that instead of building my confidence, the teacher dug into my personality and eliminated the slight dose of trust I still had left and just let me hang in there.

I was completely miserable, crying for one week, I truly didn’t want to hear anything from her. I felt so wronged in many ways, because I was confident in my skills and personality, but just went along the way… her way, not mine… and my instincts were screaming at me that something is not right, so I only blame myself for this. But, it was definitely a life lesson, a powerful one.

You Never Give Up

One of the best private Universities of Drama was holding the admission in about one week from then. I really didn’t want to go at first, but I wasn’t going to wait for another year for another chance. I had nothing to lose at that point.

Some great Romanian film and theater personalities were teaching there and one of the true legends of Romania was taking a class in that precise year, so I have changed my repertoire, bought a purple flared dress and went there as MYSELF! I danced and laughed and played with them: I was a burst of energy and felt it through all my pores! I got in and they applauded my exam! 

I felt that pure electrifying happiness. Happy to finally be myself again and feel good about it! I didn’t want to be Julieta. Meryl Streep was no Julieta, if you think about it. But there is something profoundly wrong in our system very often and in the way that we are forced to get into boxes and norms and to look in a certain way.

Read The Naked Acting Exercise (IV)

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