Saturday, August 25, 2007

It's not too late

"It's not too late!"

That's the phrase I desperately hope that my students hear.

As a modeling/acting instructor, I run across so very many who are struggling with low self-esteem. The result? Drug abuse. Self-mutilation. Eating disorders.

These are just kids by my standards as a thirty-five year old. Thirteen. Eighteen. Twenty-two. And though I want to remain professional, detached, I find it tough to do.

I want to shake them, explain: "You have years ahead of you! These times will pass... and you will survive unless you lose the will to live."

Unfortunately, I think a few of the kids I've encountered have lost that will. They just don't know it yet.

They are killing themselves... slowly... achingly slowly... with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, cigarettes, illegal (and legal) substances, poor decisions.

When I muse about this too long, a little piece of me dies... and cries for the world.


SzélsőFa said...

As a teacher (?), it must be really difficult to separate your responsibility. How far can a teacher's responsibility and ability to intervene go...?
Can a teacher address the whole class, or should s/he seek the most unfortunate individuals? Or the most promising ones? Or the ones s/he just likes the best?

I imagine how hard it must be for a teacher.

the individual voice said...

Even if you mentioned it, none of them would get help until they are ready. Nevertheless, you could mention that actors and models are especially emotionally vulnerable people and that the ones who end up most successful (ie ALIVE) are the ones who get help early if they are having trouble coping with self-esteem issues that plague the profession. Just normalize emotional difficulty as part of the profession and you get coaching for acting, you can get coaching for the emotional coping aspects of the profession as well.

the individual voice said...

Oh, and I adore the new photo of you and your little man in the sunglasses, though the subtitle about the papparazzi two pictures ago was really hilarious and could be an ongoing theme. Your son is at such a fun, snuggly age.

Anonymous said...

Too late....

That's a devastating, life changing blow, if you believe it.

The Quoibler said...

Szelsofa: It really is difficult to separate being an instructor/coach from being a pseudo-therapist. I mean, I don't want to get too involved with my students' lives because I have my own family upon which to focus... but I also cannot switch off my emotions. It's a balancing act, and one at which I'm not always successful.

tiv: You are so right. I rarely make the "first step", but if a student starts telling me about her bulimia, her "cutting" behavior, her toxic relationships, et cetera, I do feel an obligation to at least provide some kind of direction or feedback. Your suggestion on normalizing the emotional difficulty is right on the money. How much do I owe you? :) Oh, and thanks for the kind words on the pics! I have to post another "papparazzi" one, you're right. They crack me up.

Jason: I agree. I just don't want anyone in my sphere of influence to ever lose the will to go on. That's such a waste.