Thursday, 26 March 2015

In the words of Jean Valjean - Who Am I?

I feel weird.

Actually, I don't know how I feel.

How should one feel after deciding to step away from their career for a bit? Grief-stricken? Disappointed? Hopeful?

I’ve not got a ‘bun in the oven’ or destined for pastures new, my acting career just hasn't been going as planned recently and so I've decided to take a step back, re-group and re-think.
But oh what a hard decision it's been. Maybe I'm not weeping and wailing now because I did all my grieving during the crappy auditions and dead-end decision process. There’s been months of uncertainty, questions and dwindling self-esteem.

But if I'm not actively looking for acting work for a while then, in the words of Jean Valjean, “who am I?” 
Unlike Jean Valjean and his tenor tones, I don't have an answer hidden under my shirt to rip off in a reveal (trust me, I’ve tried it!)

Ever since I was 8 and told Gary Wilmot after meeting him backstage that I was going to an actress that is what has defined me. It defined my education, my life choices and my personality. I was blinkered and that was my only goal. But when did those blinkers widen? When did my goals change? And what defines me now?

If I'm not "Daniella the actress" then who the hell am I? I certainly don't feel as exciting or interesting anymore. And definitely not defined; instead my edges seem blurry and the colouring has spilled over the lines. Friends and family expect me to be that person, family especially have enjoyed it, so am I letting people down? I have always told aspiring actors in my columns and blogs not to make your career your world and to nurture your normal life too. Did I take that too literally? Or am I so unhinged now because, unwittingly, acting was more of my life then I realised? An Oedipus-like figure wandering in the wilderness of options. Gosh, even my analogies have become epic!

Either way I'm scared now folks. Anxious/calm/over-thinking/relieved/unsure! What if I've done the wrong thing?

Will I be crawling about Grizabella-style haggard by my bad life choices? Will I be planning a come-back in my twilight years a la Norma Desmond? Will I ever be able to live a life not peppered with musical theatre imagery? I hope not, because that's how I like to see the world.

I'm hoping that if I keep humming Boubil and Schonbourg’s beautiful melody long enough, one day I may rip open my shirt and find the answer. 

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