Years ago there was a child actor who played a character that turned out to be likeable and fairly popular. Being young and a little insecure, this actor had the thought that the character was more popular than the actor was capable of being, so the child stayed in character whenever around any other person. The character and the actor soon became indistinguishable from each other to everyone except the actor.
The character served the actor well. With no one to write a script, life experiences molded how the actor played the character. The lines between actor and character even blurred in the actor’s own mind sometimes. At other times, though, it was quite clear to the actor that there was a difference between actor and character. At these times, the actor longed to show the world who the actor really was, no matter the reaction. Those feelings would fade and the actor continued to live as the character. Every decision, every move and every word in front of others was filtered. Here is what I would say or do, but what would my character do? The actor then modified all behavior to conform to the character’s nature. Applying this filter and guarding behaviours became normal for the actor from a young age right up to mid life.
At this time though, the actor realized just how alone she was. Everyone knew the character, but no one knew her. The actor realized that by putting on this character to protect herself, she had indeed kept out some of the coldness and harshness of the world, but the character also insulated her from warmth and goodness. It was time for her to shed the character, quit acting and live as herself. It was an odd sensation at first. She felt naked and exposed without this covering she had worn for years. It took effort to not automatically use the filter. It did become freeing as well. What she found was that yes, some people disapproved of who she is, but that was far outweighed by the warmth other people showed and the happiness it brought her to be herself.
It has only been a couple of months now since she shed this character for good. Parts of that character is already starting to fade from her mind, though. Every now and then she catches herself thinking like the character and realizes now how uncomfortable she was in that role. The character definetely helped shape the person she grew to be, but the person she is today is the person that has always been there, mostly hidden at times by the mask of the character.