Sunday, September 5, 2010

"Who am I in This Scene?

It's a great line in the climactic ending scene of 2009's "The Stepfather". Dylan Walsh's character has a nasty habit of changing identities to enter the lives of vulnerable unmarried women and then off them and their families when something goes awry. So, when Sela Ward's character begins to unravel his story and confronts him with his string of lies... he trips on his own "current name" and in an almost humorous way asks himself... "Who am I in this scene?"

And, I think the question applies to all of us!

Who am I in this scene? With these employees? With this partner? With my kids? In this relationship? Or, in this moment?

Am I the southern California surf dude? Am I the quiet and studious one? The outdoor guru? The reflective asker of good questions? The stern father? The compassionate friend? The kick-em-in-the butt leader?

Who knows!?! And, really... Who cares!?!

Well... I think it's important to recognize that we all fall into characters as a way of protecting ourselves from the "bad-thing-that-might-happen"... those personas that we adopted as kids, in school, away at college... they all become a cast of characters that are all riding on our bus. And sometimes, they are characters we don't necessarily like! And, sometimes those unruly characters jump into the driver's seat!

To me, the first step then is to recognize when the road is getting a little bumpy and I am moving into character. The sooner I can catch myself, take a breath... ask "Who am I in this scene?" and "What's really going on here?"... the sooner I can step into the mature posture of simply being me. Again.