outside the lines
October 13, 2009
As a little girl I loved colouring books. I loved the pretty black and white images just waiting for my Crayolas to give them life. I loved deciding on the right shade of blue for the sky and what green the leaves should be. It was perfect ecstasy coloring inside the lines. It was safe.
Safe. A word I know too well. I have spent my entire life so far keeping safe. I have stayed off the grass, fastened my seatbelt, looked both ways, worn my helmet, washed my apples before eating them, worn the right clothes, done the right thing, protected my body and protected my heart.
And all along I have been harbouring this other world inside of me. This world in which I defy all my natural instincts. This world that requires me to leap from cliffs into the great unknown. I have dreamt of this life that promises to be anything but safe. It is a dream that I have spent many years avoiding. Trying, in vain to find something, anything else that makes more sense. Something practical. Solid. Safe.
I have run from it, screamed at it, and stuffed it down. But in spite of all my efforts, the dream remains. This world inside of me remains.
And I am beginning to think that maybe it is the truest part of me. That it is what’s real. And I don’t want to let that go.
It is frightening to realize that the majority of my acting has not been in a rehearsal hall, or on a stage, but in my own life.
A couple of days before our inevitable end, my boyfriend turns to me and says, “You know the most real I have ever seen you, was on stage. There was light in your eyes. You were alive. You were you.”
And his words shake me. I know he is right. All the masks I’ve hidden behind, all the costumes I’ve worn to stop the audience of the people in my life from really knowing me. All the roles I’ve played, and the lines I’ve spoken out of fear, have all been played out here.
And I know too, that I cannot avoid the world inside of me, the truth, any longer.
There is a quote in one of my journals, I’m not sure who said it, but it reads, “In choosing to be actors you did not choose to live safely.”
There is something about those words lights this spark inside of me. I am choosing this life, or it is choosing me…or something, but either way, I cannot colour inside the lines anymore. And all of a sudden I have this overwhelming desire to buy a colouring book and scribble all over its pages. Messy, Bold, beautiful scribbles. And when I’ve completely desecrated it, I want to race through the grass in bare feet, and swim in the deepest part of the ocean, and eat an apple right from the tree, and fall recklessly in love, and run with the bulls, and find a cliff and dive!
No safety gear or parachute to break my fall.
Straight into the great wide open.
Sailing fearlessly into life.