Cape Gazette
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Smiles that Hide the Sadness Inside...

By William Singleton | Aug 13, 2014
Popeye, Robin Williams "I am what I am"

When I had heard that Robin Williams, died I immediately thought about my favorite movies with him playing Mrs. Doubtfire, running around putting the “F” in frumpy.  I remember Peter Pan and how he was able to pull off being the childlike man at heart who had never grown up.  But my absolute favorite amongst many great theatrical shows was “Popeye, The Sailor Man.”  I remember watching that movie as a kid and how he endeavored to show children the honor of integrity, with actions that make promises true and a heart that had courage and compassion, not to mention eating spinach makes you strong (LOL).

All of his movies had meaning.  I don’t remember any shows where there was just mindless gunfire, cursing and big boob women running around the set.   The storylines were not just showy they had substance and depth.  His movies made you think, cry, laugh and learn.  But then he was just the actor…  He was a great actor and extraordinary performer who had the ability to pull emotions from the audience they didn’t even know they had.

It really makes you think when you recall his smile, charm and laughter and you can’t help but wonder and speculate what was really behind those pearly whites?  I can’t even begin to analyze someone of his stature.  I’m sure there will be many polished professionals lending their insights and wisdom to the question why.  I’m just a small town counselor who knows from personal experience what I’ve hidden with my dimples and dental work.

How many of us fall into the category of the thespian, artiste or actor, where we use slight of hand, tone of voice and dazzling charm and wit to throw others of the trail of how we are really feeling?  I know I’m a funny guy; being on stage to do stand-up is on my bucket list.  But my greatest secret about my silliness was that it hid my shame and pain within the shadows of laughter.

I loved making people laugh, where the men would guffaw with gusto and the women would snort like a Shrek.  I knew instinctively how much laughter relieved stress, making myself and my audience feel a little better about life.  But the natural high of laughing till your lungs burst still leaves you feeling alone when the comedy routine is over.  The magical mask that turned tears into butterflies, falls when the world becomes silent again, leaving the player alone without a play.

No costumes to wear, disguises to share, no company, acquaintance had clearance to enter our flawed presence, of who we really are.  When the door shuts and we are truly alone, the bubbly personality melts revealing pain to the bone.

What many fail to realize is that people display a dual identity, a secret agent unto themselves, trying not only to fool the world but to fool themselves, ever haunted with the failure, shame and the fear of never being good enough!

The truth is even though we can fool the millions that see us, the one person we can never fool is ourselves.  We have lost our faith and cannot face our reflection honestly.  We’ve laid layers of protection in deception like a psychological cover-up, blending in to be larger than life, showcasing no sin, sorrow or shortcoming. But the stage is a trap and an illusion of lies that swallows the true soul that silently cries.. until no one knows who they truly are.  A malicious magic trick, where we make ourselves disappear, where others have learned to love the persona instead of the person.

How terrible it must be for the actors and actresses of the world to exist invisibly, where others have come to love the performance instead of the personality.  The real character that lies within the core, completely unique original, never a bore, desperately needing to stand in the light and be seen as a real person without any fear, anxiety or fright.  We are not meant to merely entertain, to give joy and never receive it, to show love and never feel it, to always forgive in exchange for resentment.

We are born human with a magical myriad of emotions meant to be felt and expressed, to live through the blessings and curses without a mask.  Robin Williams was an incredible performer, no doubt, but I’m willing to bet he was an even better man.  We are uniquely designed with our own copyright.  No one else has our special blend of pain, problems, potential or insight!  Don’t deny people the true integrity of your own individuality.  You are simply too important to continue living in a world of illusions, deceptions and lies, guilty of aborting the real YOU for an empty disguise…

Rest in Peace Mr. Williams may God grant you the peace and happiness you've brought to so many others...

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