I was listening to a Nerdist podcast the other day, and something that Dax Shepard said really struck a chord with me. He was talking about his wife, Kristen Bell, and how she sees the world in a completely different, and much more positive way than he does. According to him, the world has been answering in kind.

One of his examples was how they each react when someone comes up to them. He tries to figure out what their angle is and what they want, while she, according to him, welcomes them like she thinks they are going to cure cancer. He does admit the reality is usually somewhere in the middle, but it got me thinking about how I react. In my mind, I am open and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I don’t assume they are going to cure cancer, but I hope they can be a new friend. I watch and listen and form attachments, but I rarely speak up. I will most likely be smiling, because that’s what I do, but I will probably be shy and not talk much. The problem isn’t necessarily with being like Dax or like Kristen, but with being afraid to act on which one is you.

There are all kinds of books and videos and movies about being your authentic self, which I try to be, but I am also so afraid to actually go out and be the person I imagine I am in my head. I am too shy to act on my positive view of life and people, which either makes me forgettable in social settings, or can come off as snobbish and mean.

It also keeps me from giving other people the chance to show me who they are. For instance, I am currently working on a bunch of short scenes or films that I want to start filming, first to put on demo reels, eventually to submit to festivals and such. I can’t do everything on my own, but part of me is terrified of putting myself out there and asking others to help me with filming or editing or even acting alonside me.

Luckily, I am working on it. I have two friends who have agreed to film scenes with me, and helped someone with a self tape last week. Because while not asking for help hurts me, I would often see posts from friends on facebook and would decide that the person probably didn’t think I was close enough to them to volunteer to help, or to come to their party, or whatever they were asking about. They never asked me personally, so they might not have thought anything of it. But what if they did? Would they assume I was just too busy? Or did I just reinforce my thought that we’re not close by not being there when they needed someone?

Now, when I see a post with someone asking for something that I can do, I volunteer. Or at least I try my best to. Even if we aren’t close. Even if I only met you once. Even if we are friends on facebook because we were going to be in a project together that fell through long before we met. Because things change. And even if we aren’t really close now, this could be the kind of thing that gives me an amazing new friend. It could also be a total bust where we both just feel awkward the entire time because we don’t know each other, but at least it won’t be because I was too afraid to try.

I am sharing this partly to hold myself accountable to this new resolution, partly so you know why I didn’t come to that thing you invited me to (or, on the contrary, why I answered the post when you have no idea who I am), but I am also asking you, How do you see the world? And do your actions reflect that, or are you afraid to be you because of what others might think?

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Also, don’t forget to come see the Keep Calm and Make Art screening today at 10 at the Cinema du Parc 🙂

“Be true to yourself. Make each day a masterpiece. Help others. Drink deeply from good books. Make friendship a fine art. Build a shelter against a rainy day.”

-John Wooden

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