"Well, Penny, like anything worth writing, it came inexplicably and without method." ~~ Karen to Penny in, "Stranger than Fiction"
Watching the bonus features on the DVD for the movie "Stranger than Fiction" rekindled something which has been flickering in my mind for years.
I've always loathed Will Ferrell. The characters he has played have, to me, been vulgar and stupid. The few interviews I've seen with him were silly, nausea provoking, and quick, gimme the remote - turn this OFF! idiocy.
"Stranger Than Fiction" was recommended to me by people I trust, so I kept an open mind when I learned Ferrell was the lead. To my pleasant surprise he was excellent in this mostly serious role. Just brilliant. Huh? Will Ferrell?
For some reason I found the incidental interviews on the DVD's bonus features somewhat perturbing. The cast and crew described the lead actor in words incongruous with my perception of "Will Ferrell." Humble? In the moment? Intelligent? Interviews with Ferrell himself astonished me. He behaved like a normal, mature adult. "Remember," I told myself, "he's a performer, playing a part. Stupid is the act, not the whole man. There is more."
Just as there is to each one of us. Rumination began.
Let's face it, not unlike a celebrity with his professional and private persona, most of us have our public and private personas, the public image being remarkably different from our private genuine selves. In order to fit in, or be invisible, to hide, or to impress, a facade is created and projected to the world: this is me!
Masked, lest we be found out, we walk our paths. Society is a cruel mistress, rejection is hard and fast, crippling even. Posing prevents our true faces from being seen and thus judged, and yet to be false, to bury ourselves in fakery induces a sort of madness. We search. We stumble. We excuse and we rationalize. In our conditioned states we sense something is terribly wrong, but what? Out of touch with our integrity, our honesty crusted and scabbed over, we play the roles which protect us, roles we've created from trial and error all our lives. Ridiculously complicated roles.
To stop the sham. To just stop. To quit piling on the crusty muddy costume of pretense so that what is normal and true can be revealed would be incredible relief. Right? To cease the posing!
But to be seen! To be known! Vulnerability terrifies! I know some of the evil that lurks in my heart, and I am not certain of what is good about me. Do I have the courage to look deeper, further, to come to realize the full extent of both? And to reveal them outwardly? To make use of my good gifts, I must discover them. To eradicate my evil, I must face it, admitting it exists. Vulnerability is required.
How I long to sort of unzip my costume from head to toe, kicking the rumpled heap aside, in order to step away from it in courage and confidence that the truth of who I am is enough to accomplish my purpose from God. I don't have to fake. I don't have to hide. I don't have to perform.
Besides hiding me and shielding me from unsettling aspects about myself, does this costume protect others from me?
More ruminating is required. And prayer.
I still don't like Will Ferrell's typical work, but I do have a tad more respect for the man. How weird that bonus features on a DVD would stir me to contemplate personal authenticity.
Postscript: I'm back to brooding again, yes, 'tis true. Maybe it's just me. Maybe I just need some sun. Sigh.......