Day off. M. came down and we went out to lunch. It was good to see her, talk, and absorb a bit of her, before heading in to the final week.
Over lunch, I had a "AHA!" moment. I was telling M. about conversations that faculty and participants have been initiating with me about the way I carry myself physically and my apparent attitude to myself and others. I am told there are two Davids. One slouches, puts his hands in pockets, doesn't quite hold his interlocuters' eyes, and seems not to trust himself. Robin said this David seems to think he's "some kind of monster," not one that'd hurt anyone, but not quite human. The other David is quite different. He stands erect, calmly listens to others, extends generosity, is verbally spontaneous and articulate, exudes confidence, and seems to know who he is. 'What gives?' people have been wondering.
What I tell them is that being so much taller than everyone around me is a bit lonely. My eyeline lands over most people's heads. I lean down and inward to connect. Also, I'm genuinely insecure, in that mode. But, also, something else, which I realized over lunch with M. By slouching--thus throwing away 'status'--I shed the accumulated authority that has come with surviving to middle age. That is, by slouching, I'm trying not to grow up, as if by walking not quite in the manner of a mature man, I could retain the status of the 'up and coming young man,' the protege, the kid without a past that he carries with him. The slouching David doesn't want to grow old.
The other David--the guy who knows who he is and extends as much generosity to the world as he knows how--accepts his past, more or less. He is the guy whom some participants thought had been acting on stage for years--and perhaps headed a theater department at a university, as Josie said--and exudes confidence. This David has been showing up with increasing regularity over the last two or three years. For him, theater is a place where his past counts for something and is no failure, because theater is fuelled by the deep, human experience of actors, who must bring every dram of Being to animating the characters we dramatize on stage. Every moment of his past is useful, there.
It's time to say goodbye to slouching David.