Monday, August 27, 2012

I'm a Writer/ I'm an Actress

I'm the one in the green.
And in the grin.
This is my favorite picture of me ever. It's a copy of a copy, so I apologize for the low photo quality.

 This is me in my very first play. I love this picture, because I can see my joy reaching deep down to my fingertips.

I love acting. It brings me a kind of joy I don't feel doing anything else. There's something about reading an author's words, and knowing exactly how they should be spoken, knowing exactly what kind of inflection will bring the audience to laughter, and what kind of pause will bring an audience to feeling emotion, that I can't really explain. It just feels natural to me, like it's ingrained into my spirit, like I was created to do it. It's something that I can do without trying, and it's where I shine.

I was in at least one play every year from the time I was that old, until nine years ago. I loved it.

While I was in High School though, I learned something that filtered my perception on acting. People don't like you when you are better than them at something. Boys don't like girls who are weird, and when I was seventeen, I learned that acting was weird.

But I didn't care. Acting was part of who I was. When I played a character, everything made sense. I could speak, communicate, feel, shine, without even trying. I was the best. I could be in a room with a hundred kids, and I was the best. When you're a teenager who hates herself, being good at something meant I had hope, a reason to exist, a way to keep going, even when life sucked.

When I got to college, I wasn't the best anymore. I didn't understand where all these talented kids came from, or why they kept stealing the parts I should have been given. Reality snuck in, and I had to work my butt off, just to be noticed. I saw so many people who were so talented, so driven, living in a culture they created of alcohol, parties, infidelity, homosexuality, and creative genius. As a sheltered  young Mormon creative girl, I was lost. I wasn't good enough to fit in with the brilliance of the culture, and I wasn't bad enough to feel comfortable with the questionable morality. By trying to figure out who I was, and what I'd be, somehow I lost the joy in acting that I knew as that little girl in the picture.

That's where I was when I fell in love with the handsomest man that ever existed. We created children and a life that has brought me a different kind of joy. A brilliant beautiful happiness, that I wouldn't trade for anything; not for Broadway, or SNL, or any other dream I once had.

For nine years now, I haven't been in a play. For nine years, I thought I was okay with that. I expressed myself through my writing.  That should have been enough.

But in those nine years, I've been sad.

 I've been tired, and false. Something was missing, and I pretended so hard not to know what it was.

 I found myself trying to play the character of the Perfect Normal Mormon Woman, and hating myself for failing. I was so busy trying to fit myself into a mold that no one told me to try on, that I didn't understand why I felt broken all the time.

This last week, I tried out for a play. I tried not to. I really tried not to. I came up with as many excuses as I could for why I shouldn't do it, and I have plenty. But I still did it.

Maybe it's the nine year break I took, but that one hour of being the person I was created to be made me feel joy all the way to my fingertips again. It's not Broadway.  It's not living the dream. But I'm being authentic. I'm being the person I was created to be, and it feels SO good to stretch out of the mold no one used to create me.

Dream. Do it for the love. Do it because you can. Do it because when you shine, when you are the person you were created to be, you give permission to other people to be themselves.

But mostly, do it because it makes you happy down to your fingertips.


  1. Stop being so dang talented, oh wait you can't ;). Love you, you constantly amaze me.

  2. I Miss You!!!!! I'm so happy to hear that you auditioned!!!! You really are the best!! I always think of you everytime I go see a live theater production!!! I miss the days of feeling the best at something!!!! I recently got back into singing and it feels so good!!! Almost sinfully good!!! I hope that you are able to find the balance of being an Amazing Mother (because you are), Wife and Actress!! If so, The world will be a better place! Love You Bea!!!

    1. Thanks, Em. I miss you too. I'm glad to hear you're still singing.

  3. I was in drama at high school, and I know what you mean. There is nothing like performing live on a stage when you can feel the energy from the audience. It is something you have to experience to understand. I think it is awesome that you are getting back into it.

    Best of luck on your audition. Drop me an e-mail when you get a part in a play, it would be worth a trip up to Ogden to see you perform. :)

    1. MaryAnn, you and I are kindred spirits, I really think so.

      I'll be sure to let you all know.

  4. The first couple of years out of high school, I tried to be an actress. I got a couple of parts that required a lot of improv, and it was fun, but I was always broke and the hours were lousy. I missed having time to write, and I got sick of eating Cup of Noodles and oatmeal for every meal, so I quit.

    I'm really glad you found the courage to go back and audition. Your dreams are what make your life something special. Don't give up on those! I can't wait to hear what part you get.

  5. I thought Taylor Lautner was the handsomest man that has ever existed. At least that is what his abs told me.

  6. I'm so glad you're doing something you love again. You're amazingly talented. Go get 'em, girl!

  7. God never meant to create the "Perfect Normal Mormon Woman" and the angel choirs sing when one of us learns how to be the person we were meant to be instead. I'm so glad you're doing something you love!

  8. Awesome, Sheena! That picture is amazing. I can't wait to see the 2012/2013 update from your next role. Keep us posted, and thank you for sharing your moment of joy.


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