Sometimes, what goes unsaid can be deafening.
Back in my high school drama club days, I always wanted the biggest part with the most lines. Lines translated to importance. Yes, I was shit at memorizing them, but I still wanted them. I wanted the stature. The more I had to say, the more relevant I thought I’d be. I even went to acting camp in pursuit of this vanity. But whether it was favoritism or the fact that I was always a performer rather than an actor, more often than not, I was left saying little to nothing. I was set dressing.
I always tried to make the role my own anyway. I’d give my character an inner life and a rationale for his stoic silence. It helped figuring why I liked to be silent in real life. But whereas in everyday life it was a choice, I had no option but to say little to nothing under those bright lights.
Eventually, I started feeling as though I wasn’t good enough. And maybe I wasn’t. The world doesn’t have to give me everything I want just because I cry for it like a baby. Besides, it wouldn’t be fair to the people who actually deserved those roles, who had the dream and the talent to go with it. Still, to be told over and over through auditions and interviews that I was not worthy of more lines, that I was not allowed to say a word…
Acting was a passion for me back then, just as writing is now. It’s hard to remember because it was a long time ago, but for a while, it was my everything. Eventually, I left it behind when I realized that what I really wanted was to be able to communicate with people and have them listen. To be able to command attention and make a connection. If I had been assigned a voice, if I had been given that chance, would I still have turned to writing my own lines? Would I have been satisfied with simply being heard, not thinking about what I wanted to say? Or would I have gotten tired of telling stories that were never my own?
Maybe that’s why I started writing what to say for myself.