One of my favorite podcasts, David Tennant Does A Podcast With …, featured a conversation with Michael Sheen as part of its first season. And in the deleted scenes episode, was this little philosophical gem that has stuck with me ever since I heard it last year:
I realize now, you know, that idea of everything you do will be — there will be a tendency towards putting a little buffer between you and the good stuff. And your job as an actor in a way is to strip things away.
I always thought it was about adding things on, you know, like Olivier with the nose and the wig and the funny walk and the hump. And actually I’ve come to realize that it’s more about stripping things away [like] when people talk about sculptures already existing in the block of marble, and the sculptor’s job is just to release it. It’s just to get rid of stuff to show the actual sculpture that’s in there.Michael Sheen
I think that pretty much sums up my current thinking as I near the end of my so-called pandemic life. It’s been a year of shedding, of stripping away — and hopefully finding more of the me that is in there.
You know where this is going … I’m going to finally join the blogging masses who are recording their self-analysis of how this time period has shaped us, as we inch closer toward getting back to our loved ones again after a year of isolation. I have a much longer list in my head of things that fit into this category, but I’m fairly certain the following encompasses my top five:
1. Writing Shyness
I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t suffered this “loss”. While I’ve spent a significant amount of energy over the past decade supporting others’ writing goals and creating opportunities for their work to be seen, I have long carried a low opinion of sharing my own. “I write for me,” I would justify. This year, I decided to see what writing for me, in front of you, would feel like. To do so required pushing away the shy voices inside — or rather, letting them make their pleading speeches and express their oh-so-important fears about putting crap into the universe, and doing it anyway.
2. Social media addiction
I did the thing where you quit cold turkey for awhile and then slowly dip your toe back into the water but shy away from the deep end because those be shark infested waters. And I have to say, I believe it’s been one of the best decisions of my adult life.
3. Meat, Dairy & Sugar
Let’s face it – the past year has aged me, big time, and given me a wake-up call for taking better care of myself. After consulting with my doctor, I started on a healthier-eating journey. I focused on replacing animal stuff with plant stuff for a few months (although I still ate fish) and cutting added sugar from any groceries I bought for myself (but still let the kids have their fixes). Et voila – I lost weight, my skin got brighter (caveat: the wrinkles are here to stay), and my energy and emotional sense of “balance” is the best it’s ever been. So, yay COVID, or something.
4. Cold and flu season
As a full-time career woman and mother of three, can I get an “Amen” for this absolutely gorgeous development?! Nobody got the flu this year. There was hardly a sinus infection to be found. I’m talking zero cootie spreading from others’ households to mine thanks to my quarantine bubble’s ridiculously strict anti-plague protocols.
I debated what to put in spot #5 here, but I’m gonna do a shout-out to my budget. If it weren’t for ordering out, I could afford several significant European vacations at the moment — but as it stands, I’m not complaining. Mama’s gonna get herself some serious travel in 2022.
As I said, I sculpted away a lot more than the above, and it’s been a wild and weird and bewildering journey at times, but I’ve been one of the fortunate ones whose loss has been my gain.
And now that I’m fully vaccinated, I find myself wondering how much of this uncovering is going to stick.
But I have to admit – I can’t wait to find out.