Years ago, I watched a documentary on filmmaking, in which, the producer explained the importance of sound and scenery. He explained how different backgrounds and different sounds or styles of music can change the moods of the film.
As an example, the producer took clips from different soap operas. He changed the heavy background music into something more lighthearted.
He injected sounds of laughter during the sad moments to change the emotional substance of the scene.
And it worked.
As another example, The producer used a computer to generate different backdrops to emphasize the importance of scenery as it relates to emotion. He expressed the importance of the crew.
He said, “Aside from the actors, you also need a good director to tie the scenes together.”
Here lies the emphasis on people, places, and things . . .
I see this as the perfect analogy for the people I choose to keep in my life:
After spending too many years with the wrong crowds, and listening to the wrong advice from the wrong people, I decided to remove myself and change my surroundings.
I moved away from their overbearing opinions and I refused to seek the attention from those who did not deserve my time. I chose to separate myself from their ideas of social snobbery because it undermined my value.
I moved away from those who would rather fill me with doubt than see me accomplish something, which they themselves could not do. In a word, I slid my chair away from the figurative table, stood up, and said, “When.”
I chose to switch directors and change my background.
I chose to surround myself with something better than the sound of passive/aggressive insults, or useless competitions. I stopped arguing in pointless arguments, and I stopped listening to those that would tell me, “You’ll never make it.”
But more than this, I learned to switch the backdrops on those who put me down or tried to knock me off balance.
I remember my early sobriety. I remember who bet I would fail and I remember the ones that said I would either be dead or in jail. I recall those who laughed at me as if I were a joke.
And it hurt . . .
But yet—here I am.
I’m still here and sober nearly 24 years.
I remember a conversation with someone I used to call a friend.
He said, “You shouldn’t compare yourself to me.”
He explained, “You don’t have the same advantages that I have.”
“And I feel bad,” he told me.
“I feel bad because I see who you are, and you try really hard to fit in, but I know you can’t relate to me because I come from a better background than you do.”
I am not sure why I listened to him or why I would allow someone to speak to me that way. Least of all, I am not sure why I would call someone like this a friend, or why someone who calls themselves a friend would speak to anyone like this.
Perhaps, this is another example of sound and scenery.
Maybe this was his way of affecting my backdrop so he could feel better about his own. At the time, I suppose I was too insecure to defend myself. At the time, I was too insecure to realize his limitations had nothing to do with me . . .
I refer to this often, but in “All I really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” Robert Fulghum writes,
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can break my heart.”
This very is true.
I can’t stop the sticks and stones. I can’t always stop the words that break my heart either. However, I can choose who I invest my time with, and that can make a make up the difference in how I play my scene.
There will always be someone there to point at my faults. There will always be someone looking to tear at the fabric of my background so they can throw off my setting and change the way I perform.
I Know this.
There will always be someone eager to break down my structure, or infiltrate my design, just so they can watch me fall.
There will always be someone looking to trigger my insecurities or make me question my choices.
I know that too. They do this as if it were their job.
And maybe it is. (In their eyes)
But I don’t have to surround myself with them and I don have to listen either.
If all the world is a stage, then I choose to have a better background.
I choose to surround myself with the sound of those who are better suited for my production.
If all the world is a stage, then let me listen to better music
Let me add the sound of laughter.
Let me change the sound of heavy background noise into something more lighthearted, or comedic.
If all the world is a stage, then let me choose who I will act with
Let me choose who I will list in my credits as an editor, or a director.
Let me choose who I will share are my life and background with.
If all the world is a stage, then I better choose my cast carefully.
Either way, next act is about to begin.
So I better get ready . . .
Are you ready?