By Leah Nawrocki
I firmly believe that acting is a skill that is learned. A skill that develops as we continue to ignore the raw reality and stuff the pain that life dishes out.
I remember my first real acting job came between the ages of two and six years old when I experienced inappropriate sexual encounters through various neighbors and at least three family members, including my uncle.
Stage one of pretending: Don’t make a big deal out of something that happened so long ago. He probably doesn’t even remember what he did to me. I must be imagining the offense even though I can remember specific times and places.
My family life was a continuous whirlwind of turmoil. My mother left my unsuspecting father one day because of continued abuse. We found ourselves homeless, living in battered women’s shelters.
Stage two of pretending: Pretend that you’re not completely terrified and bewildered by what just happened. No one knows where you are, not friends or family. It’s all for your safety of course. You’re not allowed to go out of the building because you may be killed by your father. That’s what I was told anyway, that when he found out that we left he wanted to kill us. True or false, who knows? Remember, I was working on my pretending skills?
Fast forward to my teenage years. I graduated and immediately moved in with a boyfriend to escape the troubled relationship I had with my mother. Now I was acting like a grown up and doing whatever I wanted. The boyfriend proposed and I ended up leaving him for another guy who cheated on me. What a surprise. What goes around comes around, the actress outwitted by the new actor.
To my great surprise, in the midst of such a troubled life, God had a plan for me, and He saved me in October of 1995 during a children’s puppet ministry. But sadly I continued my acting career. I was married in June 1996 and soon after I had an extramarital affair with a married man. This went on until I was confronted by a friend who spoke truth to me and told me to tell my husband of the affair. I was so well trained at pretending that I told her I just wanted to end the affair and pretend it never happened then my husband would never have to know.
But instead of taking that familiar path, I took my first step in the right direction. I confessed my sin to my husband and to the wife of the man with whom I was involved. Through much pain and sorrow my husband and I worked with God to heal our marriage and I am glad to say that today we have been together for 16 years and our relationship is stronger than ever.
I guess the point in sharing part of my life with you is to say that a lot of people have hurt me and I have hurt a lot of people in return. Some wrongs may never get righted and I do wish that I had dealt with many situations differently. But one thing I know that I did do right is not pretending with my husband, speaking the truth about who I was and what I had done. When I confessed, my relationship was restored.
In conclusion I would like to tell you I am willing to quit my self-imposed job as an actress because pretending just simply costs way more than I am able to pay and there are absolutely no benefits!