I was working on a play a long time ago–directing it–and one of my actors was really struggling to connect to the inner truth of the lines she had to say. She was playing a queen, and every time she started to say her lines, it was like her heart turned into this rampaging horse darting about and bucking wildly. She started to feel so many things personally that she could hardly remember what the words were that she needed to say in the play.
It was like there was a disconnect, as if the actor went through her everyday life without feeling her own depth of emotion and then, once she was on stage and needing to access emotion on behalf of the character, she first ran into all the feelings she wasn’t processing in daily life.
What a tangle!
So then there was a delicate balance, for me as the director, between honoring this actor’s need–her real need–to experience her own emotions and develop a healthier connection to her authentic self, and the overall need of the show and all the other actors, where she needed to leave herself behind and turn into someone else.
And I think this is the great struggle of relationships of any kind, and connecting out towards other people, that you often have a barrier inside yourself–created of emotions you have, for whatever reason, not consciously felt–that you have to find a way through before you can bridge out to make an authentic meeting of selves with another person.
The other person has the same issue
Have you ever known people who–or a couple, I suppose–who get into a seemingly life-long dance of their outer barriers rubbing up against each other, their unresolved personal feelings becoming the only connection between them? And meanwhile, the truth inside each of those two people is that they are exquisitely, seemingly permanently alone?
When you avoid yourself and try to bury your loneliness in others, you end up creating a kind of reverse-magnet push, where no matter how apparently close you get to another being, your deepest self is even more alone.
Because of the rift between you and what you really feel
The solution, of course, is for one or the other of the parties involved (and ideally, both) to consciously navigate their own thorny barriers and the emotional moat and barricaded wall of the other in order to make a tenuous thread of genuine connection and emotional sharing, a kind of yarn, like in that telephone game where you make a rudimentary phone out of string and two empty plastic cups?
One or the other of you makes that thread, and then the preservation of the relationship relies on the protection and honoring of that little string, which, over time and with great effort, can become a giant, sturdy rope, or even, ideally, a kind of living artery connecting one soul to the other.
So what do people want from inside each other, Victor Poole?
People want the cessation of isolation and metaphysical abandonment, in the sense of feeling–no matter who else is there or what is going on–completely alone. People want company. And they want reliable, trustworthy company, too.
You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my current novel, something really sad just happened (connected to childbirth), and the prince is vacillating between tears and numb resignation.