Afraid To Stand Out Part 1

On my way to work one night I had a thought cross my mind. It’s been awhile since I’ve got to see a movie with the busy lifestyle my husband, kids and I have so I was asking myself what movie I’d like to see.

First, I ran through movies I have seen in the past and have loved; Electra, Aeon Flux, Ghost In a Shell, Resident Evil, Underworld, Matrix, Maleficent, all the Avenger movies, Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars. I am action action kind of girl, 100%.

I just love strong character roles where strength and wit lead the way, and fear and timidity has no place, where the main character is challenged both in it’s destined purpose and appealing to the human race both which generally conflict with each other.

The main character always has quite a backstory and once you are graced by their history you then can understand the current character all the more and probably find yourself even drawn to it. But that’s only in the movies, right?

I don’t believe so. In my heart, I see as a society we have allowed something to beat us down into a mold foreign to our original form.  We don’t know how to stand firm anymore because once we make known what we stand for, 10,000 stones in the forms of ridicule and blunt opinions are unlovingly hurled at us and we get hurt. We don’t like conflict. We don’t like to be set apart. We want to blend. To fit. In order to do so, we have found that to conform to the world’s ideas of who we should be merits much more ease and acceptance than standing in the mold unique to our creature. Why are we so afraid to stand out?

In most movies to play mentioned role, you would be called a background actor; an extra.

A background actor or extra is a performer in a film, television show, stage, musical, opera or ballet production, who appears in a silent capacity, usually in the background for example, in an audience or busy street scene. They are usually paid a much lower wage compared to the main actors, obviously.

I read an article online from someone who has walked in these very shoes and here is his take. “Extras aren’t supposed to say anything during a take, for as the saying goes, you aren’t being paid to talk. Nor are you allowed to talk between takes when everything is being reset and put back to the way it was two minutes before. A gentle murmur of conversation will inevitably well up among some groups, at which point one of the assistant directors will immediately bellow for silence, even while the actors are still loudly laughing and singing, or in the case of one particular actor, emitting little shrieks and mewling noises for her own entertainment.

There are many other rules that must also be obeyed and failing to do so could result in you being immediately fired and forever blacklisted from the industry. Your contract specifically orders you not to talk to any of the actors, much as you are advised not to feed animals in a zoo. On one production I was introduced to the lead actor and told what my role would be in that particular scene. I smiled at him in a mild attempt at camaraderie and he stared right through me, as though trying to see his own reflection in my eyes. Until that day I had never known someone to literally look down their nose at me, but when the lead actress was brought out, the expression on her face expressed quite clearly that she had decided not to make an effort with me. You’d have thought she might try to act a little to cover it up.”

See what I mean? This sounds so familiar, it even feels familiar. Though many of us have never been in any form of limelight, we are on stage in this thing called life. And we are terrified to stand out.

As it is, I find myself taking time to think this through. To evaluate my life. At the age of 38 I sure don’t want to come to my life’s end and have the regret of being in the background of my own life when I could have, should have, stood up and out. Each one of us has a gift to contribute to the good of this world and if we find ourselves so afraid to stand out, what are we teaching those watching us; those on whom our example leaves an impression?

Let us be bold. Let us each stand out in our own lives. Don’t be afraid to be who you are and of the purpose you play in this world down here. (To be continued)