Monday, July 26, 2010

Flower Child . . .

I should preface this by saying that I get pretty embarrassed when people tell me I look pretty. It sounds cliche and like I'm fishing for compliments, but I assure you I'm not; I have truly never thought of myself as an attractive girl. Growing up, I was the smart, serious one; I never dated, had a series of very serious crushes (for me) that were never reciprocated, and grew to feel I was the perpetual, asexual friend. I watched the pretty girls swoop in and do things so effortlessly while I just trudged along, never quite measuring up. So, I have a very hard time now hearing that someone thinks I'm pretty; deep down, I do not really believe I deserve that sort of attention.

So, this weekend was a little weird for me.

I think I've gotten used to hearing parents tell their children, "Look! Isn't she beautiful?" I know this is the effect of the makeup and costume talking; these same parents would not point at me in my street clothes and talk about me in the same awestruck voice. I don't take these things to heart anymore because I know it's not about me, but about the character. But, this weekend, I made a small change in the appearance of my character, taking her from Earth Soccer Mom to Summer of Love Faery, and suddenly it wasn't the parents saying how pretty I was. Instead, it was my fellow performers. These are peole who know me, who have seen me at 8am with no makeup and bags under my eyes, or covered in mud, or running with sweat. To hear people who know you saying how well you look . . . well, it's lovely and also excruciatingly embarrassing. There is a part of me that still doesn't believe them, or wants to turn it into an academic costuming discussion, to make it easier to process. I just don't take compliments well, I guess. That's not to say that I don't like them, I just don't know how to feel when someone I know says I look pretty. When 20 people say it, I turn bright red and want to curl up. It's strange to say that an actress doesn't always feel comfortable being looked at, but there it is; I suppose what made it difficult was that it felt like they weren't talking about the part but about me. Inside, I'm still that gangly, asexual, nerdy girl, and probably always will be.

I'm not sure I'll ever really be comfortable in pretty.

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