It wasn’t until just recently that I realized Michelle Pfeiffer and I are quite similar.
I mean, except that she’s stunningly gorgeous, famous, an Academy award-winning actor, of a vastly differing life style, and three years younger than I am. (Yes, three, not 30. Even ditching the glasses, putting on my contact lens and what passes for my make-up, I couldn’t bridge the gap. Maybe, with hair dye? Sigh.)
But, physical and lifestyle attributes, and talents aside, I did learn from an article in The New Yorker called “Michelle Pfeiffer Chooses Carefully” that we have certain commonalities I would never, ever have guessed.
In the interview on which the article is based, Michelle confessed she doesn’t like looking at her work, because she’s never satisfied. I recently posted a Facebook blurb on how I terrify myself looking back on previous writings, always finding them lacking.
Explaining she has virtually no formal training as an actor, Michelle thinks of herself as a fraud, afraid people will “find her out” for what she’s always known about herself. Moi aussi, for a long, long time. It wasn’t so far in my past that I finally shut up the sabotaging inner voice that told me I have no right to write, no business public speaking as if I’m a speaker, or leading seminars as if I’m a trainer. Yep, I’ve messed up and fallen short more times than I care to recall in all those areas. I know I’m an amateur, not a Pfeiffer professional, but I also know I can’t be a fraud when I’m being true to my heart and acting out my passion, however unpolished my outputs may be.
One final thing that resonated with me from the interview article was when Michelle said “[A]s a kid…I made a pair of shoes out of duct tape and cardboard. I was very, very pleased with those shoes. I’ve always been happiest when I’m creating something.” As an adult, the things I’m creating still often look like they’re made out of duct tape and cardboard, but am I ever so happy making them!
Curious to learn more about my doppelgänger (well, my vague “lookalike” in a certain, very limited, non-biological, non-talent, non-lifestyle sense) I did a little further research and found out Michelle’s always been a very private person, afraid of being vulnerable. For most of my life, I prided myself as being “unknowable”. I reasoned if people didn’t know who I really was, they couldn’t hurt the real me. They could be unkind or thoughtless or unloving or disappointing to the version of me I put out there, but the real me stayed safe, secure and protected. The only thing is, the real me, safely hidden away, couldn’t really feel loved, appreciated or connected either.
When I stumbled upon a quote of Michelle’s, I knew we had in common an understanding of one of the most important things in life: happiness is loving and enabling your flawsome self. This is how she said it: “I find the less you focus on your flaws, the better off you are. Be yourself and be glad of who you are.”