Would You Want Me When I'm Not Myself?
There is an ancient struggle when you're an artist of knowing yourself implicitly and seeing a stranger in the mirror. What I mean by that is sometimes I feel so incredibly confident in what I am creating and putting forth into the world. Other days, I haven't a clue and I rely on past versions of myself or examples of others to propel me forward.
I do not want to admit it but part of me thought my old New York self would come flooding back when I returned. I feel foolish for thinking this but I thought it and I might as well be honest. I thought I'd step back onto these streets and I would be that self assured actor who walked into every audition with the mindset of "You want to hire me". I'd get myself back; my funny, sarcastic, positive, happy fairy princess with a dark twist vibe.
That's not how life works.
I had lost so much of myself. I know I say that a lot but I really stopped knowing who I was for a long time. Everything I tried for the past three years that I thought I was good at shot me down and I let it disassemble who I was.
Auditions, work, new friends, job interviews. I was good at all of these things and for the past few years, I worked harder than ever to obtain them in a new environment. I got shut down so often, I questioned everything I had put my faith and trust in about myself. Was I no longer talented? Was I not a viable candidate for the work I was finding? Was I not a fun, outgoing, witty person any more?
Coming back, the energy of a fresh start and a familiar place helped me resurface. But it didn't all come rushing back like the naive part of me thought it would. It is actually taking work. I no longer am confident in what I want to do with my time here. But I am starting to get to know the new me.
I'm different. Having gone through a type of trauma and a deep depression featuring massive panic attacks, I don't think it would be possible for me to be the same person. I am the worst at appreciating the journey. I want instant gratification at all times and forget that is not always possible.
It's like being a cake. When I moved back here, there was a layer of frosting put over the Vermont me that I was for the past few years. Now I am the new New York me. All the other layers are underneath, still there, still edible, but not the freshest one. Is this layer the top? Probably not. Is it the best layer, perhaps cream filled or the deepest, darkest chocolate there is? It's possible.
This layer tastes like a blend of all the others below it. As I have written before, I am making a treasure map of things that make me happy and revisiting what makes me tick. Stories, magic, adventures. Letting my imagination wander. Not taking everything so seriously and predicting doom when it might just be a tiny hiccup. Exploring options of I want to do with my life instead of pigeonholing myself into just one.
I'm not who I was and I'm not who I thought I'd be. I might break again but I am not broken. I can see it cresting over the hill, a person who encompasses everything I've experienced in the past few years and might feel brand new in many ways. Yet, she's also familiar because she is still me, just with more layers.