Amen, Jim Carrey.

Amen, Jim Carrey.

The other night I watched Jim & Andy, the documentary about Jim Carrey portraying Andy Kaufman. It’s fascinating in two different ways. You watch Jim Carrey embody Andy Kaufman to an extreme, convincing himself that he literally is Andy Kaufman. And then you have an older, present-day Jim Carrey commenting on that time in his life, how he was escaping himself through this character. One quote in particular hit home for me:

“What is the dirt that the pearl is built around? And the pearl is the personality that you build around yourself as a protection against that thought: ‘If they ever find out that I’m worthless, if they ever find out that I’m not enough, I’ll be destroyed.'”

Like anyone else, I’ve accumulated my own “dirt” since being conscious that people can judge me, but the last few years piled it on. I was going through a really difficult time in my life, and I took the first chance to escape by taking a job in Connecticut. This was the perfect opportunity to restart. I knew zero people in Connecticut. I could be someone else. I started going by my middle name for work, convincing myself that it was more “professional,” but it was another attempt to escape. I was so anxious during this time because every word I uttered or move I made was a brush stroke on this new portrait I was creating, yet it seemed better than facing myself. It took a long time to be honest about how this affected me and even longer to realize that there were  stronger forces in my life pushing me away from my identity.

My anxieties were amplified by being manipulated and gaslighted by a toxic person in my life, a true narcissist with more power than me. I was slowly drained of confidence in my abilities including writing, the thing I loved most. I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know what to believe about myself or my life or my work. And I couldn’t let anyone know that. So the dirt piled on heavier and heavier.

But at a certain point, I broke. I reached out to someone who had experienced the exact same thing with this exact same person. They helped me snap out of it and realize this was not okay. It took time to build the strength and courage to stand up for myself and rid my life of that person but — I fucking did it. And it felt good. That situation alone was a lot of dirt to get rid of, but it was the beginning of loving and knowing myself again. It pushed me to be honest with myself. I finally went to therapy for the pain I was trying to escape in the first place. I made positive changes in my life that have led me to where I am now, and I’m excited for the future.

This will be a year of “Yes” for me. A year of punching my insecurities in the face and screaming BACK OFF. A year of dusting off the dirt. So far, I’ve joined an improv troupe, taken the first steps in producing a live show and podcast with friends, and I’m having fun writing a new play. And this blog! It feels really good.

I hope you’ll join me in saying, “Yes” to something in your life. To standing up to your insecurities, no matter how small. To being honest with how you feel. To just having fun. To getting rid of the dirt, whatever or whoever they are, that keeps you from shining. Start by just talking about it. Feel free to leave a comment (anonymously if you like.) <3

P.S. Check out Jim Carrey’s commencement speech at Maharishi University.