William Matheson (nova_one) wrote,
William Matheson

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9. All the world's a stage

I had a rough day in the theatre today. The facilitator was directing an exercise for pronouncing “r”s. I don’t think I’ve managed to get a real one out yet. (The language laboratory will mercifully be opening soon. I have great need of it.)

Anyway, I’m handed the sheet, and it’s a line about three fat rats. I knew I didn’t have a hope in hell of getting through it. I was about to further expose my complete dearth of puissance.

[“Oh boy,”] I mutter.

“What was that?”

“My God.”

“The next time, it’s a warning.”

He was very much in the right and he really could have given me an official warning right then and there. Nevertheless, at the moment I felt more than a little put upon.

I tried getting through the phrase, but I stumbled so much that it was passed on to the next person. I was called upon again, later – and I got so caught up in trying to get “r”s out that I wasn’t elevating my voice to stage standards like I was supposed to. I didn’t know if I was getting stopped for that or stopped for my “r”s, and it ended like this:

“I hate this! I hate this program! I hate you!”

My God, really. If I can’t handle a fucking theatre workshop, what fucking hope have I? I can barely hold back my tears right now. Learning is very hard – I know it is. I just don’t know if I’m not motivated enough, or if I’m lazy, or if I’m stupid, or if I’m a clinical narcissist, or if I’m schizophrenic, or all of the above!

The facilitator spoke to me at length after everyone left. I half-heartedly broached the idea of changing workshops, and he confirmed the impossibility. He said, among other things, that I am worrying too much, and that I am not projecting my voice. I told him that I really have no physiological problem with projecting my voice, it’s just that I can’t pronounce anything properly and that I want to be a mouse (in other words, not drawing attention to myself).

Maybe I am a clinical narcissist. I go through life thinking I’m unworthy and I go to great lengths to hide my weaknesses. But at the same time I hide my weaknesses, I unavoidably hide myself. Perhaps this is why people fear and hate me. They can likely sense that something is amiss and they instinctively turn the other way.

The unavoidable conclusion is that I must be, who? myself and express, who? myself. This conclusion is subject to uncertainty and disclaiming like any other assertion.

When I came back to the residence, one of my neighbours (my favourite, really, but don’t tell anyone) had her door open, so after depositing my kitbag in my room, I doubled back and spoke to her for a moment. I’m glad that I did, not because it got me anywhere in particular with her, but more because it got my mind off my problems for a few seconds. If I had just stayed in my room, I would be curled up on the bed or perhaps even the floor right now, wailing sotto voce and choking back tears.

My problem isn’t that I can’t get girls. I think that’s actually a symptom of a deeper issue. It’s not really the program that’s making me cry – the program is just forcing me to confront who I am and what makes me tick.

“With your attitude, I pity those that have to be around you.” – a correspondent on OKCupid

My attitude, mercifully, is something that is under my control. And for fuck’s sake, I am not advocating silly claptrap like “Attitude is everything! Attitudes are contagious! Anything is possible!” – what’s wrong with these phrases is that they are only partially true, and they don’t account for attitude being – to that person – an emotionally valid and potentially even self-reasonable reaction to a given situation. When people who are in authority tell their subordinates to have a good attitude, in many ways they are in fact shifting the shame and guilt associated with any systematic, institutional shortcomings onto the shoulders of the listeners. It is important to have a good attitude, and our life is what our thoughts make it, but if something outright sucks it should be ameliorated, if it can be. If it can’t, then think more about adjusting your attitude.

This post will be unscreened after the program.
Tags: sainte-anne, sainte-anne 2011

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