Monday, 5 October 2015

We are all merely actors here...

As it is October, and I have been thinking about what I shall be for Halloween, I found myself pondering what is it about Halloween that I love so much? I've always loved the excitement of choosing a character to play. My birthday happens to be one week before Halloween so I've often been able to incorporate the hallowed night into my parties. But why do I love it so much? For starters, the lack of expectation. With Christmas there is always the air of obligation to family. And as someone who has never had a stable family unit in terms of mother and father, most holidays are filled with anxiety and dread. But Halloween was always mine.

I loved figuring out what I wanted to be and how to create this character out of things I already had and using items creatively. But why have I always loved it so much? I started thinking about it in relation to my illness. It suddenly became very clear and then I wondered if other 
Borderlines, as well as others with personality disorders, liked Halloween as much as I do. I realised the reason I loved becoming a character is because I didn't have to try and be something I wasn't.

Let me explain. Those of us with Borderline Personality Disorder create personas to fit whatever situation we are in whether it be for work, a social gathering, particular circles of friends, etc. We learn to adapt and conform.  BPD's are all actors in this thing we call life. We never develop our own personality. We are the chameleons of the human world. It enables us to survive in a world we don't understand. And we are very good at it. Sadly our souls remain hollow since we never are able to develop and maintain true relationships. (Footnote: of course years of therapy and support can help us overcome our identity crisis, but even if we do, we still find it very easy and necessary to revert to our chameleon state if needed.)

But there's Halloween. The one day of the year we don't have to pretend to be something we aren't. We get to choose our character. I realised there is an amazing freedom in that. Not HAVING to be someone but rather CHOOSING who we are for one night. We don't have to think about the emptiness inside and struggle to be something we aren't. We get to drop the charade and easily blend in without the exhausting effort, because everyone is something they aren't. It's our one true night of freedom.

I then expanded this line of thinking to actual professional actors. There were times in my life when I thought how easy and fun it would be to be an actor. To get paid to do something I found so easy. Hmmm... How many actors out there are like me? How many have Borderline or similar personality disorders which make them easily slide in and out of fictional roles? I can easily think of a few off the top of my head that surely do based on things I've read about regarding their personal lives: manic episodes, drug abuse, cleptomania, sudden desire to shave one's head, etc. It does make me wonder, how many are like me? And is that the reason they chose acting? Because it comes so naturally.

Just my random thoughts of the day. And for those wondering about what I will be this year for Halloween, you'll just have to wait. But here's last years character... Who am I?