Act 1, Scene 1
I have always been fascinated by dramatized storytelling. I am a lover of stories, regardless of how they’re told. In songs, animations, pictures, arts/crafts and in nature. Give me all of it. Inject it in my veins and see how I come alive.
I used to act. A lot. To the charging of my father of course. It was the one performing art he could not comprehend fully. He will say ‘ I see it, but I don’t appreciate it’ and that will draw out a chuckle or giggle from me. Perhaps I persisted in a bid to get him to fall in love with it a little bit. If there was any hope, I killed it the day I fake-fainted in church without warning and spiked his blood pressure. — I’m sorry Daddy, I couldn’t warn you because we needed your shocked reaction for authenticity and genuineness to be added to our playlet.
I love mimicking people, a favourite pastime. I used to enjoy embodying characters. Now, I detest anything that would make me perform. And this adds to my struggle with life in general. I always undersell myself and my skills and end up surprising people with my capabilities. It is a safe place to be. That way, I cannot disappoint or at the very least, I won’t be expected to churn out that kind of output every waking moment. Whew. Such a deep confession. Under-promise, over-deliver.
I guess we’re all performing. At work, school, and even in our relationships. I have found that I am the weirdo who brings her barest self to every relationship she’s interested in. I do not know how to put my best foot forward, always my craziest. This is so people are well aware of what they’re getting into. Well, it will be untrue to say every relationship if we look closely. But for those that I want to matter, I come naked. It reminds me of that IG trend asking what if we could get a 30 secs trailer into people’s lives. LOL. Mine will be chaotic and colourful. I do not wish to change it for anything normal.
Capitalism encourages and rewards performance. In my opinion, there is nothing inherently wrong with performing. But you see that unhealthy way we tend to scale the value of people and their performance? Yeah, everything is wrong with it. That may be why we have so many charlatans masquerading, or as Nigerian pidgin will say, “weyrey dey disguise.” We were not created to find our worth in the measure of our output. Our quality of life ought not to be dependent on the outcome of our performance reviews, grades and other metrics. And still, we need them to measure our growth, motivate us to reach goals, sit up, or cut off. It is a tension you see.
Like in every play, we should know when to start and when to stop. I won’t dare say you should stop performing, for even I am performing (though I detest it). It is a necessary evil, like an ugly costume in a play. However, I will say that you remember to pay attention to the cues. Sometimes, you get carried away performing so much that you miss the cues to get off the stage, turn off the lights or change your costume. Pay attention to how it affects the quality of life you live and that of those around you.
When the lights go out, please come naked, your barest self and bask in your own skin. Be it bruised, bloody, scarred or coated. Learn to step out of character and be you. Be at peace with yourself.