October 31, 2010

Being Someone Else

I sat on the couch in pink plaid pajamas and his rugby striped sweater. My makeup was off. My hair was tucked behind my ears. And I was eating chicken and wild rice soup. In between carrots, I would sit the bowl down and hug my knees to my chest.

It had been a long day.

A rough day. A day where you just feel… lost.

You know the kind. Oh sure it starts off happy enough, walking on sunshine. But before you know it, you see that one thing- that one picture, that one blog post, that one update on twitter- and before you know it, you’re knee deep in the downward spiral I like to call the “I Suck Chronicles.”

A point by point checklist of all the things you haven’t done and all the reasons why you’ll never do them.

Because it feels like everything that could be done, has been done. And by somebody else. It’s like you showed up late for the school play tryouts and all the roles were already taken.

So you make yourself the understudy. You memorize all the lines, you perfect the stage direction. But you don’t dare stand in the spotlight. Because that spot has already been reserved for somebody else.

But here’s the thing. Understudies are forever bound by the lines of someone else. Bound to doing and saying things the way they’re *supposed* to because the script has already been written. And to be honest…it’s exhausting. It’s exhausting trying to be what you think you’re supposed to be. When, let’s face it, sometimes it’s hard enough just to be yourself.

So what I’ve decided is this: I would much rather risk going out and writing my own script, where at least the voice I hear is my own and the lead has not yet been cast, than to spend one more day practicing to become someone else. A script where what I do is not bound by what someone else has or hasn’t already done.

Because even if nobody else ever shows up to see it, at least that’s a story line I believe in.

So to anybody out there who might be feeling like the third understudy to their own lives, what I want to say to you is this: don’t let another day go by like that. Go out and write your own play.

Or heck, just join mine. Because I have plenty of roles to go around. :)

  1. Ann Nyberg

    Mary, I couldn’t agree with you more, thank you for putting this into words for so many others, there are so many feeling just like this. You’re right go out and do it your way because in the end that’s what counts. In doing it that way you will find your own answers. I’m with you!

  2. Shannon Grant

    This happens to me at least once a week. I so needed to read this.. :)

  3. dawn beirnes

    you guys are just awesome….you just summed up my life right now. Trying to be everything to everyone, and feeling like a failure at it….never good enough. And the entire time, not feeling happy enough just being me, although wanting to be just me badly. A line from a song that I love by Rascal Flatts "don’t wanna leave this world with why didn’t I" has kind of become my biggest fear these days…afraid that’s what’s happening. But I still keep working on being happy with being me, just hope I reach that point one of these days!

  4. Christina Sandberg

    Well said, Mary, and timely written! I often look to other blogs, facebook, etc… for inspiration, however, lately they’ve caused frustration and feelings of self-doubt; exactly what you wrote today. I’d rather "fail" at being myself, than succeed being a copy of someone else. Thank you for voicing your feelings, and reminding all of us, that we all have our own play to direct… no matter how great or small.

  5. deb

    I dislike Sad Mary, but I DO like that you are brave enough to write about the not-so-fancy feelings. We ALL have those moments and need to be reminded from time to time that no matter what we do or don’t do, say or don’t say and how we say or don’t say it, there are always a million people out there that love of us no matter what. So boo to the nay-sayers and props to you for keeping it real!!

  6. Christa

    Oh….my…..God…..you have no idea your timing. It’s like you were reading my mind as I was lying awake in bed last night. I was totally jumping on your band wagon of I Suck Chronicles!!! But you’re so right….thanks again miss awesome Mary :)

  7. Julie V.

    Mary, thank you for writing this. I have these moments often, but I keep them to myself or I only tell my husband. We will be moving soon- to a bigger market with what seems like a zillion fabulous photographers. I can’t help but wonder if there will be a place for me. But after reading this, I feel like if someone as amazing as Mary Marantz feels this way and can do incredible things, maybe I can, too! Thank you for your transparency.

  8. Katelyn James

    Love this Mary:) absolutely love it and needed to hear it.

  9. Ronnie

    Wow as a fellow member of the "I suck chronicles" on some days, I couldn’t find this post more inspiring. Thanks for reminding me that it’s OK to just be me!

  10. Jonni


    I want to thank you for the kind comments you left me on my blog. I was honored to receive them. I know that feeling you are talking about but I don’t see how you could possibly ever suffer from that. I really love your work and I don’t think you could ever suck. Maybe you just need a nice day in to nest and tomorrow will be better. Sending hugs your way. Your work is great. :)


  11. maggieb

    "be yourself…everyone else is already taken." It’s like musical chairs…sometimes somebody’s butt is bigger than yours and you get knocked off the chair that you got to first! Be patient with yourself and with time…cream always rises to the top…and you, my dear, is da cream!

  12. Heather Corporan

    I like your play : ) You’re great just the way you are –
    You would never have gotten this far ‘being like someone else’. It’s the YOU that keeps me coming back to your blog. Not the similarities that might appear to another person or photographer. You guys are just neat and great!

  13. Julia R

    I am SO SO SO having one of those days today. Work, school, and a pretty shocking loss on top of it. Thanks for your words! So very inspirational :-) You’re the best!

  14. Emma Sharkey

    Beautifully said and your timing is perfect! I so desperately needed to hear that after this week!
    Thank you

  15. Sandra Costello

    You are lovely Ms. Mary. Hugs to you and your hubby. – Sandra

  16. Paul Manke

    I’m in the middle of the "I suck Chronicles" right now.

  17. Jessie Emeric

    thanks for sharing this today! i know i’ve had my good share of these types of days, weeks…


  18. Alison

    Thank you. You have Impeccable timing my friend….

  19. Shellyanne

    Thanks for this M! My Monday was just like this. I got take out and sat in front of the tube popping in Ridley Scott films! I realized how ridiculous it is to wallow…so as per usual, I gave myself just that one moment, took a deep breath and gave myself ‘the talk’…well, in your words that I won’t be "the third understudy of [my] own [life]! "rise and rise again until lambs become lions"

  20. Marissa Rodriguez

    THIS right here, is powerful. Golden and everything I needed to hear today. Thank you for being so honest and open about things like this, they help and inspire me more than you know.

  21. robert norman

    OK—you win- that movie projection in the window idea ia GREAT!!!

  22. Jessica Sweeney

    Kudos for being so brutally honest here. Well said.

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