Hum, something is different about this guy. Is he one of those “close-talkers”? He expressed a kind of affectionate interest when I spoke. He never turned away. He looked straight in my eyes. He was in a special kind of good mood. It was fun being around him. He knew exactly how to turn any situation in having fun with his gallant gestures! But why?
I invited Chumaro to share his story of how he stopped living his life the way others expected him to and pursue his childhood dream. Chumaro goes on to talk about how he discovered himself and gained a self-awareness that took his passion to whole new level!
At six years old, I was dressing up in my parents’ clothes, pretending to be some make believe character of my imagination. My mom found this to be adorable. She liked watching me play a scene so much that she went out and bought me a few costumes and wigs just to have me entertain her. It gave me the confidence to participate in all the drama activities and variety shows throughout grade school.
Living Someone Else’s Dogma: Do What Other People Expected Me to Do
By the age of fourteen, my mom and especially my dad, no longer found this to be adorable. A fourteen year old should not be playing make believe. It was even more forbidden for a boy. It was an unacceptable behavior for his son. It had to stop otherwise it would have a negative impact on my life. Of course, I believed them. I mean these were my parents, they knew better. All my friends were playing soccer. Everything around me sent me messages that having a passion for the theatre was not “normal”. So, I started playing soccer to be like everyone else.
In my last year of high school, I auditioned and got a part in a play that would take place during the graduation ceremony. All my emotions from childhood resurfaced. I felt the perfect balance of what I wanted to do.
However, at the time in Chile, the theatre was not considered to be a way to make a living. Once again, I was influenced by what my parents and teachers believed to be the best thing for me to do. I felt I was living in a fantasy world and had to face reality. So, when my dad handed me a pamphlet with information regarding pursuing a career in commerce, I figured it was the best path. After all, the opportunities to find a job in this field were almost guaranteed.
My first year of university was the longest year of my life. I was miserable. I would sit in class, the teacher would be talking, but, I could not hear what she was saying. I found myself wondering, “what am I doing here?” All I could think about was being in the theater. It absorbed my every thought. I just could not find any interest in my studies. So, to ease the pain, I turned to the bottle. I was drinking heavily and partying almost every night. When I was drunk, I did not have to face being with myself.
One night, as I was listening to the radio, I heard that a Mimo/Teatro school had opened in Valparaiso. I decided I was not going to continue to torture myself studying something that was destroying me. I was going to go to Valparaiso and follow my heart, no matter where that would lead me. That summer, I secretly went to Valparaiso to write the entry exam. I was immediately admitted to begin the next session. My next step was the most difficult one, telling my parents that I would quit going to university and enroll in a school of Mime.
Living My Childhood Dream
I finally worked up the courage. I sat my parents down and ask them to get comfortable. “Mom, dad, I have decide to quit university. I have enrolled in a school of theatre in Valparaiso. This has always been my passion, it is what I really want to do.”
They just sat there, staring at me with their mouths wide open. I sat there staring back waiting for one of them to say something. Then my dad started. “THE THEATRE!!! What are you thinking? Life is not about make believe, you are not a kid anymore! There is no future in the theatre, how are you going to live? You are a man. You have to get married and have kids. How are you going to support your family?”
It just went on and on. I felt I was drowning with both my parents pushing me under water. At some point, I just stood up in front of them. “I hear what both of you are saying but my decision is made! I am going in the theatre. If I fail, I want to have the opportunity of having tried and failed.”
I set off for Valparaiso, leaving my family and friends behind. The world was waiting for me!
Mime is not only about physical expression. It is about rediscovering yourself through action while mastering the art of silence. In order to make our way back to this process, we were sent out to observe people’s behaviors, their interactions, their postures, their movements and the energy in three completely different locations; the market, a mental institution and a prison.
This exercise was absolutely fascinating! It provided me with a learning experience not only in the art of Mime, but, in personal growth. Only when we take the time to completely understand that people’s behaviors are connected to their past experiences and environment, will we eliminate judgment, even if some behaviors seem weird. We will be able to learn to improvise in the moment to be in sync with others and ourselves.
Discovering Myself Again
I discovered myself, the many different emotions I have deep inside, and most of all, not to be afraid of my emotions. It woke me up to see the world in a whole new way. We are all made up of energy. We have the power to release whatever energy we desire. It is not a certain situation that has the power to control our energy. We chose the energy we will release given a certain situation.
When I started drinking, I chose this method to forget about the situation I was in. It was not the situation that lead to it. I was afraid to show my emotions at the time. I was afraid to be the person I really wanted to be. I was not able to balance the positive and negative flow of energy in my mind, body and soul.
While I was studying in the theater, I was working part time for the Government in social services. I was assigned to work with the children that came from a very poor neighborhood. Since they were young kids, I adapted myself to perform as a clown.
Looking in their eyes, hearing their laughter, and improvising on their reaction made me feel a new emotion. It was a warm and exciting sensation that I had never felt before. They would start performing with me, their creativity and imagination helped me to release my inner child that had been buried by negative energy. I was introduced to something new, I wanted more… To this present day, apart from performing in the theatre, I am what they call a “street clown”.
When I am on stage, I do not look at the people. My focus is straight ahead. All I see is the big bright lights hanging up on the ceiling. On the streets, my focus is directly with the people. It is an exchange of energy. The same behavior happens in everyday life when two people are having a conversation. Are they present with each other, looking in each other eyes? Their body language tells if they are looking straight ahead at the lights or if there is actually an exchange of energy going on.
The Beginning to Self Awareness
I truly believe that we all have the ability to let ourselves go and begin our journey to self awareness. Release the old negative energies and old memories related to them. When you allow the positive energy to flow within, you will release all blocks to full realization of yourself. As a child, this was so easy for us. As we get older, we are exposed to messages from society that blocks that natural flow we once had. Our true unique self we once were, gets locked up inside.
It could definitely be unlocked, but, people are afraid to step outside from society. What we do not realize is that everything that society tells us, whether it is on TV, the newspapers, or magazines have not been given by taking YOU and everything that you are worth in consideration. How can we actually believe that everything that is out there applies to us and will be good for us? We all have a part of our childhood within us. If you have a passion, a dream that you have buried inside, it is time to wake it! It is never too late to fulfill your childhood dream!
Chumaro has been in the theatre and performing mime as a “street clown” all across South America and Europe for over ten years. I met him on his tour performing in the “Invasion Callejera” festival. I would like to leave you with the below footage of Chumaro in the park for your entertainment. Enjoy!
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