Beware of undertaking too much at the start. Be content with quite a little. Allow for accidents. Allow for human nature, especially your own. Arnold BennettIt was a long day. A good day.
To unfold the story, we moved back in time. Back, before Conrad, before my separation from the girl's father. "We need to paint a picture of who you were, your life, what was important to you before you met him," the director said.
And so, paint we did. One little bit at a time. One question. One answer. Painting a life by numbers of questions set against the context of the story of a woman who fell in love with Prince Charming and awoke, lost and afraid on the road to hell.
We painted the four years nine months throughout the entire day.
With each question, the story unfolded and with its unfolding I unwound some of the pockets of sorrow that hid in the corridors of my mind. I dug out little moments I had forgotten and set them free. I unearthed facets of sadness that ate away at my joy and washed them in tears of release.
It was a long day and a good one.
By 6:30 we called it quits. Long enough for one day. Today, the crew is at my friend Jane's and Friday, Nan's. Jane and I will meet up with everyone for an hour of filming with the three of us on Friday night.
After we finished last night, I phoned Jane to tell her how it went. "They make it really easy," I told her. "Even though the telling can be hard, they make it easy to move through it."
I told her how at a couple of points I found the sadness overwhelming. "It's good though," I said. "It's good to be in your emotions when on camera."
Jane laughed. "I'm looking forward to the finished product," she said. "I know there's so much of the story you haven't shared. Stuff you went through we don't hear about. You always keep your feelings so quiet. Is it because you want to protect us?"
I laughed in return. "Mostly because I know I can't change what happened and repeating the truly awful stuff just makes me feel sad."
It is my nature. To smile when in pain. To smile when sad. To smile when life is getting me down.
Nature.. Habit... Learned behaviour.
I always felt safer as a child if I smiled. No one could see my hurt and if they didn't see me cry, they didn't make fun of me.
Time to unravel that lesson too. Time to let it go, to set it free.
Those I love do not make fun of me when I'm upset. They support me and cry with me. They lift me up when I am down. Just as Jane and Nan lifted me up when I was lost so long ago.
That is my experience. It is an experience to live by.
I am blessed.