When Acting Makes You Hit The Wall
I heard Joaquin Phoenix interviewed on the radio.
Something was off about him and it started to get tense. Terry Gross tried her best to solicit information and keep it light.
Then he was fed up and said,
This is so fucking stupid. Why am I talking about this? … It’s not interesting, it’s so stupid. If I was driving and I heard this, I’d change the channel. … I’d be like, “Joaquin, shut up.”
He was exhausted.
Here he is on the radio being asked to be the Joaquin Phoenix from “The Master” but also be the Joaquin from “Her” and eventually really just be Joaquin Bottom, which is his real name except for as a kid he went by “Leaf.”
“Who do you want me to be!” I imagine little Leaf screaming.
It’s tiring to perform. To always try and be what you think you’re expected to be by an audience. You can’t do it forever because eventually you hit a wall and say Fuck on the radio to Terry Gross.
I hit a wall a year ago after realizing how much I had been performing.
It started with feeling like I had a reputation to uphold. The first symptom was to always say “everything’s good” whenever people ask. The worse things got the worse I’d cover it up with an act.
The next symptom was me always being agreeable saying “Yes, I think that too” and “Whatever you want to do.” I thought that was a way to be liked.
When you look up to people you tend to act to please them, instead of being yourself and knowing that you’re interests are just as important as theirs.
Then all of a sudden I’m in a meeting downtown and my brain just froze and I had my Joaquin Phoenix moment. Right as we were sitting down and starting to I had a panic attack. I left the meeting within 10 minutes of being there saying that “I must be sick with the flu.”
I got home feeling sick because I worried about what they would think of me and if other people would hear about it too and think less of me.
Somewhere along the line the thread had been plucked and the sweater unravels right before your eyes and then you’re naked in front of the world and there’s nowhere to run.
For awhile I stopped taking meetings and being social and learned how to pay attention to when I was acting or not. I became the watcher and slowly I returned to my real identity.
I got rid of the fear of ending up being a “nobody” and let my reputation come by being myself and not trying to please people.
It’s better just to let life happen and be fully you as it does.
Now I'm in my apartment, blinds open and in my boxers writing this post and giving advice.
But memories stick with us and when I look back I hope it's me that I see.