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  • Writer's pictureJasmine Brooks

Acting for Anxiety

I need to perform. It's an actual need for me. I'm so sorry I couldn't find a less cliche way to describe my passion. Acting is a form of connecting for me, of understanding. I studied so many subjects in school because I was compelled to figure out my peers and how to interact with them. I've always had social anxiety. It's a bit more manageable now, but that wasn't always the case. I was always "too" something. Too quiet. Too loud. Too obnoxious. Too blunt. Too depressing. Fill in the blank based on who you ask. I could never quite get it right. I learned how to conform when absolutely necessary. In order to maintain relationships and jobs. But it makes me feel like a volcanic soda bottle being shaken up and where can I explode? Where can I put all of my rage? My obsessive, possessive love? My pretentious, melodramatic, all-consuming sadness?

On stage I can scream and cry and curse and undress and go crazy. I can be free. Maybe I'm not so much acting as I am releasing suppression. Regardless, I need it. Acting is my umbilical cord to Mother Nature and her Earth. I'd detach and lose myself forever if I couldn't cling to my characters. Art is based on real life. And that relatability that attaches my character to the viewer is my best shot at remaining present. It's all that matters when my heart is pounding just because I left the house. When I get cold sweats on the metro. When I look for the nearest exit in every building I enter. When I cling to my daughter like she's literal life support.When I mood swing all up and down my poor mother and boyfriend. Art is all that matters.

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