The Imposter Syndrome: An Actor’s Guide

Hello all I have returned!!! This week has been packed with classes, rehearsals and shows and I can successfully say I have completed my first semester of drama school! I am so proud of myself for making it through these past few weeks and am ready for some lie ins and relaxing.

I’ve been wanting to write about this issue for months now but I never has a word to describe the feeling. Then a few weeks ago and actor I knew posted a video about ‘The Imposter Syndrome’ and it all made sense. The imposter syndrome is when a person is successful but has doubts about their accomplishments/fears they will be exposed as a fraud. I’m sure most people may have experienced this at some point and wanted to talk about it and how it relates to theatre.

Through actor’s lives, we are told ‘getting into drama school is soooo hard and you’ll probably get rejected.’ This is what I was told hundreds of times, yet still decided to go for a few. After a few rejections, I thought it was over until my last who accepted me. My joy was so explosive I couldn’t speak, it wasn’t long however until I doubted it. ‘What if they made a mistake? It could be an admin error. Their acceptance rate must be so high to accept someone like me.’ This was so irritating, it felt like I was an imposter to the school, that I didn’t belong to this group of talented ex-National Theatre and Fringe performers.

(https://www.executiveforum.com/leaders-defeat-imposter-syndrome/)

The excuses continued even to the point of only recently. It got to the point where the tutors had to literally tell everyone ‘you belong here’ and have one of them tell me ‘we aren’t going to kick you out.’ It was so irrational yet so rational in my mind that it got in the way of the enjoyment of it. One famous person who suffered the imposter syndrome was Albert Einstein, a man internationally recognised for his intelligence and yet believed he was fraudulent.

I’m not trying to be ungrateful for my place, I love where I am, but if something good happens in your life then let it happen. Yes sometimes schools are hard to get into and grades hard to achieve, but people get in and people get the grades. Why can’t that one person one day be you?

Have a good Christmas break! (Apologies to those who don’t have them)

Gabby

Gonna miss this new tapestry I got, makes my room feel less blank.

The ‘Death’ Word

Today I’m going to be talking about something a little bit different. Something that really needs to be talked about more, and that’s coming to terms with death. I’m full of laughs sometimes but this is more serious.

The thought came to me as I was laying on the floor in movement class in an almost meditative state. As we moved across the space, my mind began to feel more and more preoccupied. I began to think of all the changes that would happen whilst at drama school and the people back home. Then I thought of my aunt.

You see, my aunt was diagnosed last year with a malignant brain tumour. Hearing that news was truly breaking, the thought of losing someone so amazing so young was incomprehensible. I remember sitting in the car basically feeling nothing and later crying it out alone.

Coming to terms with it has not been easy, but when given a time of a year and a half you don’t have time to mourn. That comes after. Death is scary, it used to keep me up at night with anxiety and the fear of the unknown, but death’s certain. We fear the loss and the after, and forget the now. My aunt is still alive and beautiful, exploring the world and living life, and after she is gone her daughters will have so much to remember her by.

You have every right to be distraught over the loss of a loved one, but know you aren’t alone and that they’ll always be alive in your memory.

Take care everyone,

Gabby

For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one. – Khalil Gibran

Having An Off Day

I never intended this to become a daily blog, and on some days I may not update for days at a time. Today I wasn’t going to update because I didn’t want to show the more negative side of me, but then this blog wouldn’t be honest and I really want honesty.

Sometimes we have off days, where nothing has provoked us but the world seems dim. Yesterday I had a great talk with my boyfriend and yet I still felt bad waking up. Sometimes depression just takes your whole day and makes everything seem dismal and dark. My main concern has been my lack of close friends here, my mind has made this image that everyone here except me has best friends that always hang out. It’s the most isolating feeling, one that is hard to get out of right now.

To try and help, I went for a walk in the park and sat down just taking in the views. Walking by myself has the effect of getting my feelings out, even if it means returning to my room to have a cry in the bathroom (absolute peak of a day). But it worked, I feel less lonely than before. I still don’t feel great but I don’t expect that. Having depression means that you have those days where everything seems wrong, and having any lift in mood for me is a success.

In the end the main person who is going to make you feel better is yourself, you have to want to get better to be better, look after yourself and accept the feelings you have. Feeling sad is pure sh*t, but don’t beat yourself up. Know that your feelings are not forever and tell someone that you aren’t feeling too great. Having a good support network is key, especially any of those interested in the theatre path. For now I might play some music and read, maybe speak to a living person, whatever feels right for me.

Sorry if this was not helpful, but this is me at my most vulnerable without a façade and I’m no longer afraid to hide it from people.

Keep yourselves safe,

Gabby

Picture of Rose Bruford from the Park, looks so secretive from here.

Holding Yourself Back

This is the proper weekend of the course, my calves feel as if they are on fire and my back is solid. Yesterday’s workshop really took it’s toll on, me not only physically but mentally. An ETA graduate called Andrew came in for the 3 hour workshop and the first thing he did was get changed in front of all of us which was surprising to say the least. What followed was three hours of intense games, running and breaking down each person’s monologue through getting them to shout angrily until they felt something. The feeling of being pushed like in the room was hard to manage at first, being so exposed in a group of 20 was daunting.

There were moments I thought about just stopping, where I had reached a limit I couldn’t pass, but when I stopped thinking about stopping, it didn’t become a problem. Andrew made a comment to me saying ‘You really continued even though you showed signs of pain, but right at the end you should of held your ground, you quit.’ If he said that out of the studio my anxious mind would not be able to handle that, but there I just nodded my head, He was right, I tried really hard but in the end I did give in. And there is nothing wrong with that. Quitting or failing does not mean you have given up, it means you’re human. It only means giving up if you don’t stand up again and try.

That workshop made me determined, it changed my thinking of failure and testing the limits. I was physically broken at the end, but ready again for another one. My anxiety always made me afraid of failing, already that fear is being contested. One thing that won’t change is having some quality me time and my lean towards the more macabre. Already my room is becoming decorated in some excellent pound land Halloween stock, now this room is starting to feel like home. I still await my tree tapestry (real student feels) but if anyone would like to donate some old hippie tapestries, my wall is still very bare.

As I write to you, the close sounds of heavy bass play echo from my flat (creative lighting students and their tech) . Tonight may be a good one.

Stay hydrated ya’ll,

Gabby

“Once you enter into the performance state you can push your body to do things you absolutely could never normally do.”  – Marina Abramović

Enlight151[1297].JPGHaven’t named this skull yet, what should be the name? Also wish I could use real candles in this room 😦