Friday, January 20, 2012

Be Careful What You Tell the Universe

I'm sitting at the KSL newsdesk in this photo.
It portends nothing.

Well, my life just keeps being weird.  This week it included phrases like 'screen test' and 'would you read for this part' and 'we were looking for a dowdy 50-year old and naturally thought of you.'

I gotta tell you, talk like that turns a girl's head.

What the project is and who is involved is not the point. Also, I'm pretty sure I'll be kneecapped if I spill any more beans than that, at least for the time being. And I have no idea if I turned out to be what they were looking for, so we'll all just have to wait and see.

Here's the real point: I discovered this week that I am what might best be described as an 'empathetic steamroller.' 

I was asked to read a few lines in front of a camera, lines that were spoken by a middle-aged woman who had pretty much been defeated by life.  This gal feels invisible, unseen and unheard by everyone except maybe Edward Cullen, who is -- evidently -- taken.

So I read. And I 'acted.' Oy. Acting. What's that all about? 

I realized that I was trying to portray the kind of woman I usually roll right over the top of.  I don't mean to do it; it's just that by the time I notice she's there my gigantic personality has already squashed her flat. And no amount of apologizing and attempts to fluff up her self-esteem is going to get me off the hook. From now on, she'll duck into the ladies' room whenever she sees me coming.

So after many numerous takes, the director said, "DeNae, I just don't believe you. I don't believe anything you're saying."

To which I wanted to respond, "Dude! I don't know this woman.  I've never been this woman.  And I have all the theatrical skills of an ironing board. At this point I could tell you my social security number and I wouldn't expect you to believe me."

So then he said, "You know, just talk. Forget the script. Just be this woman for a couple of minutes, and say whatever comes to mind."

Well, I didn't want to do that.  I didn't want to get inside the heart and feelings of a person I normally cast in the role of 'Road Kill Number 742.'  But the director was a friend, and I had announced to the universe by way of vlogging that I was going to do new things, and the camera was right there... I cleared my throat and said, "I know..."

And then I began to cry.

Real crying, not 'Vicks VapoRub under the eyes' crying. 

And the more I spoke the thoughts of this character, the more I cried.  I didn't like knowing how she felt.  I didn't enjoy understanding that it was steamrollers like me who often contributed to those tears.  Sometimes there isn't an "Oops, my bad" big enough to put the pieces together again.

I honestly don't know how to fix this, because none of it is deliberate so it's hard to deliberately change.  But I do know one thing for sure:

I am never vlogging again.


Wendys Hat said...

Can I have your autograph? I knew you {and laughed at your jokes} before you were REALLY famous!

Beka said...

Now, don't go blamin the vlog! It was inspired & inspiring!

It takes all kinds to make the world go round, after all. It's good for you to now see that other side, sure, but you should know that you are looked up to & admired for that personality of yours. Despite steamy & roll-y.

Opposition in all things, Denae. So that your eyes are opened.

Have a better day. :)

Becca said...

You know that quote from SWK about how the Lord usually answers our prayers through the hands of someone else? (Obviously I do not know that quote.) I find that when I pray to know what to work on (yeah, well, I don't do that anymore, natch) that He displays my biggest weaknesses through someone else. Like someone saying to me, in front of witnesses, "You are the worst _____ I've ever known." "You are unkind. You are unfeeling. You are unhelpful." All the kinds of things I think I have wrapped up. Um, not, apparently. And thank you, unnamed person who wants to "help" me with my weaknesses.

So what I'm saying is that even if I don't know the Steamroller role, I know the scenery. And ick. It's no fun.

JoLynne Lyon said...

Don't know what vlogging is, but I'm pretty sure that on-camera experience will add to your writing skills. Which are pretty awesome as they are.

esbboston said...

I have been blogging for almost five years, what is vlogging? ... "video" ? I would never dream of doing that, I have heard my own voice, and that is why I write and don't speak. Plus I think I am about as handsome as if you combined all the negative facial features of Steven King and Steve Wozniak. Perhaps I should shave more often? No, it wouldn't really help.

HailerStar said...

I've been reading you for awhile ... (Can't recall whose blog I found you on to get here, sorry!) Something you should remember is that while you may have this huge personality, that woman who has been crushed by life, wishes she was you. She wishes she'd stood up for herself more than she has. She wishes she could have that tenacity and strength of spirit that you project. While it is good for you to see the other side of the fence and perhaps think to rein it in a bit in her presence and be more conscious of her feelings, it is also good to know that she admires those traits in you and might want to emulate them herself.

Which is all a longwinded way of saying: you've seen the other side, so be gentler with those around you (but also realize that your gifts may also uplift them and help them move towards being who they want to be - more assertive, more fun, more vivacious!)

Garden of Egan said...

It's all because you moved to Utah you know.
You're all famous and stuff.

Loved the vlog and I look forward to seeing what KSL is gonna do with you next.

wendy said...

YOU CAN'T stop vlogging. That would be like ending a really good "season...2012" after the first episode.

well, on the upside, it is nice to know you couldn't quite DO the character of someone who feels invisible, insignificant...etc.

That means you are confident and sure of yourself (is that the same as confident?)

so, also, since you have a powerful presence, you have the talent to uplift others. Bring them out of their 'invisible" state.
that is why people are always asking you to be a speaker at events etc.
cause you got pazam.

plus you got this new acting career going for you too

Brittany said...

I had a friend give another friend the assignment to call me to work out new dates for conflicting baby showers in our ward because, in her words, she "didn't want to be bullied by me."
If you'd like to trade places with me, I'd rather be the "steamroller"with a great personality than the baby shower bully.

Karen Peterson said...

This is exactly why I don't vlog. Because someone will see me and think I need to be famous and I just can't handle that kind of pressure.

AS Amber said...

I think HailerStar nailed it. I really don't think I could improve on what she said.

I am very curious as to what you're up to, though!!! Sure do love you sister!

Kazzy said...

Oh yes you are!!

Acting sounds incredibly hard and scary.

You may have a big personality, but it seems to me like it would only steamroll someone who was weak to begin with. You have rolled me over with love and support and goodness.

Eliza said...

Interesting experience. As someone who has been on the other side, here is my two cents. I'm a balancer so when someone comes in the room with a huge personality and is funny and crazy (in a good way) I go into compensate mode so I lose all personality, humor, identity. I absolutely hate feeling so boring and vanilla. I want to blame it on the other person for sucking the life out of me, but honestly if I was just more comfortable with myself I could be "me" no matter what. Anyway, my long rambling point is that sometimes these people are actually really outgoing/funny/awesome in other circles, but they are just intimidated by you. Maybe just pause and ask them questions and try to draw them out (in private, not in the group!) and I think you'll be surprised how much they have to offer.

JoeinVegas said...


Mikki said...

I think HailerStar nailed it when she said that woman wishes she were you.
I suppose it is good for us to occasionally get a little insight into what other people are feeling, but don't feel bad for being yourself. Especially when you're not doing anything wrong. Maybe you'll be a litte more sensitive to that type of person, but please don't feel bad for being awesome!

Jen said...

This is exactly why you should shun empathy at all costs. Too much empathy and tears = a calling as the RS President. Nobody wants that. You and I should get in a room together with all the other steamrollers we can round up and we can try and out-talk one another. Those mimsy-whimsy empathy filled wallflowers can hang out in and adjoining room, looking at the ceiling, wincing at the yelling coming from the next room. It'd be a helluva good time--last one out wins. I'd film that.

Lara said...

I loved this. I think it's amazing how you were suddenly able to see this other type of woman, and understand. What a gift.

charrette said...

I watched it all first hand. I thought you were amazing.
And I think this post--unveiling your character arc--is amazing. No doubt you were prophetic, and 2012 is the year to do something different.

Ditto Kazzy--I've only seen (and felt) you roll over me with love and encouragement and support! XO

The Crash Test Dummy said...

First off all, I LOVE your new profile pic. Soooo dang HOT! Stick with that one.

Second of all, I loved this post. And I love you.

HUGS, ya big steamroller you!

Baltzers said...

Loved the vlog. You should do it more often for sure. BTW, Drake misses you! I think he misses chatting during his lessons more than he misses the piano part. :) Now I am off to catch up on your blog.