Pretending vs Acting

Each moment
we try to act,
as we struggle
to find ourselves in different roles:
a son,
an adult,
a parent,
a professional,
an employee,

And just
as a novice actor struggles
as she mistakes acting
for pretending
to be someone they are not,
we struggle
as we mistake playing roles
for being who we are.

As our minds
try their best
to keep us calm,
to seek and to retain certainty,
they construct false notions
of what it means to be good,
or even authentic
from clichés and stereotypes
we mistake for the real meaning
behind those words.

Our very desires
to “be somebody,”
even if it’s as benign
as a good son
or a good friend,
often result in nothing more
than bad acting.

pg 168 Realizing Empathy: An Inquiry into the Meaning of Making.

To Be or Not To Be

I still remember the day I realized I was not living my own life.

I was shocked.


Because I prided myself on living my own life.
I had been intentionally deviating from what my friends were doing.
I thought I was living my own life.

But no.
It turns out I’d been conforming to nonconformity.
I’d been playing the role of a “rebel.”

Much of our lives are spent playing roles: a good son, a caring parent, a resilient entrepreneur, a modernist painter, a stoic physician, …

As we do, we mistake pretending for being ourselves.
Actually. No.
We mistake pretending for being.

Hamlet once said “To be or not to be, that is the question.”
Let us ask this question.
Lest we die having never lived.