It’s day 7 of a week of shows at Alden Biesen.
i have just finished telling stories to young teachers in training. All around 18 or 19 years old. i told them i was free to take questions after the performance was officially over as they were quite shy about asking as a group. One young woman came up and waited to speak with me. Then she posed this question:
You have a great personality. How have you done this? How do you live a life without shame?
She meant, as she went on to say, how am i able to be so silly, and to be myself and not worry or feel shame about being judged while on stage. i was stunned by this beautiful question. Isn’t that amazing? (here is one of the silliest pictures that have ever been taken of me)
Shame is something that i have felt a lot in my life. For a lot of reasons. The stage is one of the places that has taught me to be myself and embody the human experience of making mistakes, to let go of control, give your best then let go. i don’t always manage it, but being present on stage is a constant reminder to what being present in life is like.
i said something to her about how strange it is that we think when we become adults we are supposed to know what we are doing. We often don’t, but we are afraid to say so and we feel shame. We feel like we are supposed to hold it all together. We are terrified to make mistakes. i didn’t learn that til my 30s that it was good for me to say i don’t know.
Shame, like guilt, is a toxic emotion for me. It glues me to the ground, impedes movement, prevents growth. i don’t know how i’ve manged to live a life without shame. Or if i have? It still comes. But i do love the question. that’ll stay with me a long time.
i hope i see her again.