On Self-Expression


Self expression is a characteristic that makes us human. We as people feel the need to create something that exemplifies the lives we live and who we are. It is a way of saying, "I am here and I matter." We all express this through different means and I have been no different.

From the time I was a small child, I've felt the need to reveal the inner workings of my mind. Throughout my life, my medium of choice has been acting. My first recollections of performing were in elementary school. The teacher would ask for someone to read a passage and I'd excitedly raise my hand. When I got the chance to read, I'd take on the lives of the characters before me. For this, I received ridicule from my classmates because my reading style was far too dramatic for their taste. However, this need to take on the characteristics of other humans never faded, and I continued to gravitate toward it.

As time went on, acting became as much apart of identity as anything else. Before I knew it, I was at a performing arts high school where I was doing acting for three hours a day. And during shows seasons, which lasted for a minimum of two months of the year, I was acting for eight hours a day. Under these pressures and demands I began to feel confined by the very thing that had brought me so much freedom. I felt immense guilt for feeling this way. I had been chosen out of hundreds of other kids who auditioned and here I was feeling as though it was trap. For years I tried to push these feelings down and this created a double edged relationship with my craft. I loved it but I also held a lot of resentment for it.

Some time has passed now and I can recognize the inner workings of adolescent brain. The reason why I had feelings of being restrained was because I craved complexity as a human being.

We are not meant to be two dimensional.

I think that we are told both consciously and unconsciously that we much choose one thing to be passionate about and we must dedicate our lives to it. But if that were truly the case then we'd have a bunch of people who are carbon copies of one another. The combination of our passions adds beautiful dimensions to everything that we decide to dedicate time to and to share with others.

As I've grown, I have acquired a more complex understanding of the world and my place in it. This acquisition has lead to me discovering a love of activism. Marching, protesting and advocating ignites passion within me. It is also a way of making me feel as though I'm dedicating a part of myself to something that can have a positive impact.

More and more I'm realizing the equal power of artistry and activism. Both have the ability to hold a mirror up to oppressive belief systems and those who uphold them. My activism has given me the opportunity to understand complex human emotion which makes my acting multidimensional and much more realistic. Both passions feed off of one another. And this has lead to immense fulfillment for me.

Self expression is like water in that it takes the form of the mold it has been given.  It is up to us to give it a mold big enough to encapsulate all that we possess. This is the only way to arrive at our highest potential and to contribute something meaningful to the world around us.

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