If I’m honest with myself, there’s one true reason why I act. It’s not for the accolades, or the applause, or the eventual AFI award, it’s really quite a simple reason. I act so I can be someone else.
You see, I have a pet. It’s a shitty pet. It varies in size depending on the day. It stinks to high heaven. It won’t heel, sit or play dead. I can’t let it off the leash, because it just runs amok, causing havoc wherever it goes. It sniffs people’s crotches, dry-humps legs, scratches the couch, leaves ‘gifts’ on the bed, yowls all night and keeps me awake. It won’t come when it’s called, it’s not micro-chipped and it’s certainly not registered with the local council.
I can’t get rid of it. There’s no euthanising this sucker, or leaving it at the pound. I can’t give it away to a good, loving home. It’s mine. To keep.
This pet gets in the way. It sticks its stupid nose into everything, jumps up onto my lap at the most inconvenient times, and it pushes me into predicaments I can, at times, see no way out of. It can sometimes make my life a living hell. It has, in the past, made it impossible to live normally.
There are many names for this pet and I could rattle them all off now, but really they’re just words to describe an animal I acquired a long time ago through no fault of my own which is now here to stay. I have to live with it every day. Some days are easier than others. Some years it has been medicated, so it behaved itself, but it’s been drug-free for a few years now. I’ve been training it, but lately the training has slipped because I’ve been tired and busy and distracted, and a couple of weeks ago it chewed through its lead and ruined my good relationship. The one I’ve put a lot of investment in. The one that counted.
Some may call this pet an excuse. Try living with it for a while, you’ll see it’s no excuse. There’s no choice involved, no willing signing of adoption papers. It’s attached to me, and I constantly apologise for it, but it’s not going anywhere. I just have to learn better ways to live with it. Don’t feel sorry for me. The last thing I want or need is pity. I am who I am in spite of this sneaky, manipulative creature; this thing who pushes me to the edge of the world and then feigns ignorance when I fall off.
So, you see dear reader, sometimes it’s just too hard to be who I am with this pet wrapping itself around my neck. So I act. Because then, at least for a while, I can forget it exists.