Be yourself; everyone else is already taken – Oscar Wilde
This, in and of itself, is enough for me to admire her always. But it’s not just a book, it’s a really good book. You Look Like That Girl… is beautifully and entertainingly written — telling stories of Lisa’s life as a child actor and her decision to leave movies for a different life. Lisa writes with honesty and humor and wisdom about her unusual childhood and how, after a time, she made a different choice.
On the surface of it, this is not a book that I would read. I’m not a big fan of blockbuster movies (the only one of Lisa’s films I’ve seen is Rambling Rose and I didn’t remember there was a little girl in it) and celebrity stories don’t hold much interest for me.
Besides, what in the world could her experiences have to do with me? She spent her young life on television and movie sets, meeting Princess Diana at a premier and hanging out with Robert Duvall in a rocking chair. (I won’t even mention Sally Field and Robin Williams. Robin Williams, for pity’s sake!). Hers is a life I know nothing about, right?
Well, yes, right. I was falling off my bike and arguing with my sister and coloring pictures for my mom while she was shaking hands with royalty. BUT, that’s the brilliance of her story. Unexpectedly, what she experienced is what we all experience.
At a reading at the Virginia Festival of the Book last week, Lisa was answering questions in her kind and genuine way and this crazy phrase jumped out of her mouth: I did what we all do. To be honest, I can’t even remember what the question was, exactly, something about how did she make the shift from acting to not-acting, and Lisa smiled and looked at the questioner and said (paraphrase alert), I did what we all do. I got caught in the everyday-ness of life, of the laundry that needs to go in the dryer and whatever is pressing and I forgot that I always have a choice.
Lisa is right, we all do this. We all live our lives and we think, This is the way I do it. Or sadly, more often, This is the way I am expected to do it. We forget that we have a choice. Lisa had the courage, against all cultural pressure, to ask the essential question: Is what I’m doing now is in alignment with me? Lisa came to a point when she was acting that she realized she didn’t feel like herself…or wasn’t even sure who her Self was. So she made a different choice.
Lisa’s story is a fun read, but more than that, it invites us to make choices that feel authentic and true to who we are.
You can read a post about choice (or perhaps more accurately about the illusion of “no choice”) that I wrote a few years ago here but before you do, please read my friend Lisa’s story about choosing to be yourself…and working with Robin Williams.*
* Lisa also has a boffo blog that is the bomb. You can find here.