“They asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’.
They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
- John Lennon
I laughed at the first few suggestions from my friends/colleagues for me to write a blog, but after enough unrelated people brought this to my attention I felt the overwhelming need to ask: "Why?" They always had trouble answering, but shared a conclusion: they would be interested in what I would have to say.
Flattery and fear crashed through me. What would I have to say?
I spend a good deal of my life balancing my head, my heart, and my gut in order to choose my actions. When is it right to speak my mind vs suppressing my inner monologue? Should I wear my heart on my sleeve, or lock it in my chest? Do I trust my impulses, or am I instinctively devious? As you can imagine, my tongue never quite heals from the constant biting and the idea of writing a blog, for me, could lead to a mouth full of blood.
I hurdle this same obstacle in my line of work as an artist. In contemporary acting "playing an emotion" is frowned upon. Beliefs, feelings, and impulses are reactions that can happen simultaneously and change in an instant. One cannot choose these responses, or choose "to be" anything other than what they are, therefore actors are encouraged to play only what they as people are able to choose: actions. (IE. choosing to slap (action) vs. choosing to be angry (emotion)). Which means in my world, "to be happy," is not a choice.
But happiness is all that I can ever remember truly desiring. It's all that my loved ones have ever desired for me. What does being happy mean to me? To be carefree, to be in love, to be inspiring to others, to be accomplished, to be proud, to be playful, to be grateful, to be...
Wait. Were some of those actions? I may not be able to choose to be in love, but I can certainly choose to love. Maybe I can't to choose to be playful but I can play. I can't choose to be grateful but I can sure as hell show my gratitude.