Yesterday, I was looking through some old papers I had kept from my college days. I came across an assignment from when I attended the Florida School of the Arts my first two years of college. I was majoring in Musical Theatre, with an acting emphasis, and the assignment was to write a character study of myself. What was my backstory? What were my gifts and talents? Strengths and weaknesses? Things I enjoyed? It is a common exercise for an actor to do when playing a character, to explore what isn’t written in order to see the character as a real person, and thus play him or her in a more convincing manner. In reading the 17-year-old description of myself, I found that it was accurate. I knew myself fairly well, which is not surprising, being a self-analytical person. I described my ability to read people and situations well, and that I like to read people’s eyes. I still do. But most surprising to me was how much I talked about my love of writing. I mentioned I loved telling stories, and at one point I said of myself that “she just can’t seem to stop writing.” Did I mention acting at all, the degree I was currently in school to attain? Nope. Not a word about acting. But writing came up multiple times.
What I realized is I already knew what I loved to do, what I was best at, what I couldn’t seem to stop myself from doing. Yet, it was not the course I was currently pursuing. It would take a few more years before the realization would dawn on me that an English degree and a writing career was what I should be focused on. I guess my point is, we know, even if we don’t admit it to ourselves. So in my current time of life, is there anything hidden in my backstory that I should be pulling to the forefront? Is there a neglected gift? An unrealized dream? What do I already know about myself that I would tell someone else in a description of me? And when I discover that, I need to have the courage and the determination to make it a reality.