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Do You Want Tears With That?

If you have known me for more than a week, you’ve probably seen me cry.

I’m practically famous for it in my class. Something tense happens? Tears. Someone shares a touching story and gets choked up? I’m choking back my own swell of emotion. The wind blows the wrong way? Hit the waterworks. Whether it’s conflict, frustration, high pressure situations, mere disagreements, nerves or anything that turns my inner systems slightly out of wake. There’s a high chance that water will spill from my eyes.

This used to be (and still sort of is…) something I’ve been extremely embarrassed about. It has always led to concern of bystanders and always put into my mind, “well damn, now they think I’m weak and fragile.”

Thankfully I’ve gotten better at managing these conversations and more or less warning people that it’s nothing to be concerned over. I’ve also gotten responses of, “Wow that must really help your acting.”

And honestly sometimes it does. Having such easy access to that sort of emotion can be an asset. It’s easy for my to emotionally connect to things and to express that.

However.

It easily becomes overwhelming. Intention gets fuzzy, words get lost and the sobs can take over. A large portion of my training has been centered on learning to control it and channel it. Moving the obstacle into an opportunity. Finding the tricks and tools of the body and voice to express emotion rather than have it control everything I do. And I have made a lot of progress

But the work isn’t over.

Even now I find myself stumbling over the blocks of a lump in my throat, tears in my eyes and a tremor in my voice. I have the tools to navigate it now but that does not mean I have full mastery of them or myself. My art and my personal challenges are something that require constant practice and stretching.

And that is not a bad thing. I work to remember that this is a part of being an artist. Knowing yourself and knowing what needs constant attention. That mastery of a skill or craft does not just mean having the tools, but knowing how to use them.

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