Sentiment Sediment

I used to think that maybe I was the biggest heartlessest bitchisest on the planet. That nothing affected me or got through to me or really touched me in that tender spot known as … my … heart. (Pigs. All of you. Settle down.) I thought that maybe I was a psychopath or a sociopath. That I’d veered off the path or maybe had never been on it in the first place. Now, I know that’s really really deep and meaningful, but that’s not where I’m going.
Where I’m going is this: I’m perhaps one of the most “sensitive” people you will ever meet. (Or not meet. Because, let’s face it, most of you I will never meet in real life. Really.) I care about things way too much, or maybe not “too” much but just “so” much. (Yes, there’s a difference.) I’m extremely observant and can ruminate for hours on something that so many other people would just dismiss as inconsequential and not worthy of a second thought let alone a first one.
So wait. I haven’t gotten anywhere yet. Where I’m going, really, is here: I may appear “insensitive” to some people because, well, the truth is, I know when I’m being manipulated; thus, I don’t respond or react the way I know is expected of me. I know when someone’s going for the so-called heartstrings, in a TV movie or movie-movie, in the theater (or theatre), or in literature or trash books, magazine articles, or in a “blog” entry. And that kind of cheap manipulation does not work with (or on) me.
I spent a heap of time in acting classes and even in a “theater program” (no, I won’t tell you where), and knew, immediately, when tears were being used to manipulate me or when someone was faking any other emotion. I was often called on the carpet (which was pretty difficult, given that most of the floors were scuffed linoleum, at best) for “not taking it in”. The truth was, and what no one — not even the so-called instructors (the truest embodiment of “those who can’t do, teach” on the planet) — understood was that I took it ALL in (yes, I know that sounds vaguely pornographic). I took it all in immediately, and instantly knew I was being “played”.
One day I will, indeed, treat you to some truly hilarious tales of my days in acting classes, where I was forced to pretend that I was feeling something for someone who felt nothing more than the desire to impress on the rest of the class that the ability to cry almost on cue was the equivalent of true emotion and a connection with the deepest core of “humanity”.
“Look at her. She’s amazing,” the other students would say of one of the actors in the “family” (yes, kids, in the realm of serious acting students, even the women are actors; not actresses, OK?) (and yes, they’re all part of a family!) as she curled in the fetal position in a corner of the room, her face red and wet with her manufactured tears. “She’s really crying. Now that’s acting! That’s an actor!”
Yes. Yes, it was. It was a person who spent five minutes outside the room, imagining her boyfriend leaving her for some other skank on the same day as her puppy was run over by a truck and her grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer and someone told her that her new pink-tipped hair looked retarded, and then coming back into the room to display her oh so genuine and spontaneous grief. Yes, she was an actor. Someone putting on an act.
And I always saw through it. I saw through it every time I was being set up like that. I’ve seen real grief. I’ve experienced it. I’ve seen unself-conscious wailing and real tears. I know the difference. I’m sensitive enough to know the huge difference.
You cannot pull the wool over my eyes. Especially when it’s acrylic.