I figured I’d blog about this because it seems to be a recurring theme in my life the past few weeks. Not only have I personally experienced my inner brat rearing her sweaty little head lately, but I’ve watched a few friends struggle with their inner brats as well.
I first heard the saying, “The brat dies hard,” in a meeting. As soon as the woman said it, I recognized exactly who she was talking about. I could not only identify, I could totally, completely, wholeheartedly get what she meant. I saw images of a little Jenny stomping her feet and pouting when she didn’t get what she wanted. It was like a silent movie playing in my head with the little Brat as the star. My childhood flashed by with regular appearances by that girl.
But it didn’t stop there. My mind filled with images of that same little-spoiled girl acting up when my husband told me I couldn’t buy that new outfit or go away on a girls’ weekend. Snapshots appeared in my head of that obstinate Brat quitting yet another job even though she had no idea of where her next paycheck would come from. There she was again, avoiding people who could help her because she could handle it on her own. This Brat didn’t only have cameo appearances in my life. She had a recurring role.
Since I’ve been in recovery and god has taken over as the casting director of my life, the Brat’s lines have been slashed. She’s more of an understudy now. My director has called on other actors, like Obedience and selflessness to play bigger parts in my life. These girls aren’t as experienced as the Brat, but they’re learning. They’ve been practicing pretty hard and usually remember their lines, although sometimes they still need prompting.
It’s only when these new lead actors are unavailable, blocked by those trouble makers, pride and ego that the Brat appears, all too happy to soak up the limelight again. And it’s weird. Even though I know that she’s there and bound to put on a disastrous show, the director doesn’t stop her and neither do I. It’s almost like watching a car driving in the wrong direction on the highway. I know what’s about to happen. I can actually feel the impending doom, but I’m unable to stop it.
After talking with my sponsor and spending some one on one time with my casting director, I’ve realized that the Brat, even though she’s a bit of a diva, isn’t really all that bad. She has talents that when used properly, could actually add value to this performance. For instance, she has a very strong voice. But when she’s ready to speak, we could teach her to count to 10 or 20 or maybe even 100 before she does. This way, she has time to be quiet and take cues from the other actors before she opens her mouth.
I thought that was a great idea so I kept listening. My sponsor suggested that I learn to recognize that the Brat might be afraid of being cut from the show altogether. That might be why she is so rude and pushy. I had never looked at her that way. So I took some time and really reflected on how I could alleviate her fears. I decided to ask my director to help me with this and He suggested that we tell the Brat that acting on the same stage with others gives her the opportunity to share her experience and also learn new skills like humility and compassion. These traits will only add to her acting repertoire and ultimately, will increase her value and make her even more sought after.
I think she liked hearing that because she’s been a bit quieter lately. Rather than jumping onto the stage screaming at the top of her lungs, the Brat has been hanging out off stage. I can sense that she’s there, just out of view behind the velvet curtains, but I can’t see her. I can feel her anticipation, her fear and nervousness, but she stays silent during most performances. Don’t get me wrong, there have been a few nights when she hasn’t been able to control herself and she’s tried to steal the show. But even those have been less disastrous than before.
I think the casting director really made her think when He said there would be agents in the audience. It’s like the Brat is more concerned now about how others view her. I think she wants to be seen as someone who works well with Obedience, Selflessness and even big named stars like Humility. Not that we’ve had too much experience with Humility, but she’s made an appearance or two. Those were great shows!
Regardless, I’ve seen a difference with the Brat. I think back to that line from the meeting, “The brat dies hard,” and don’t even know if I want the Brat to die. I certainly don’t want to be the one to kill her. I think I’d rather see her shed her costume of self-righteousness and instead try on faith and service. Those two outfits make even the ugliest actors shine.
Yeah, I think I’d like to try to work with the Brat. I mean I’ve known her for most of my life and I have a bit of a soft spot in my heart for her. And if my casting director thinks she can be turned around and become an asset to this show, who am I to question Him? After all, He worked miracles with me. Wish us luck!
Written by: Jen Wilson, Author of Clumsy Christian – More about me here.