Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Embracing (my inner) George Clooney

Last night I had another dream with George Clooney. I’m sure I’m not the only one to think lustful thoughts of him, in day or night dreams. But for me, these early morning trysts are less about the charismatic actor and more about my own evolving psyche.

I’ve always had a crush on Clooney but only recently unraveled its possible meaning. Of course he’s handsome and charming, but so are most other movie stars. Then why Clooney? When I think about his public persona--what I perceive from his interviews and movies--I see a conman, thief, scoundrel, and rake. But in G.C. these aren’t negative qualities, but part of his appeal. Maybe this is because he doesn’t deny his “dark” side but celebrates and uses it with confidence. Confidence. That’s why I dream of him.

As I get older (and wiser?) I’m beginning to recognize my own swaggering, arrogant, con-woman inside. I’ve denied her existence for years, but she’s been there, scheming and intervening in my artistic pursuits and career ambitions. The trouble is, when I try to bury this Conniver under my cultivated “good girl” image--I also bury my courage and audacity, traits I desperately need as an artist. When I embrace George Clooney in my dreams, I embrace all of these repressed parts of myself. That’s why it feels so right. That’s why I feel so whole.

Is it my Catholic-Jewish heritage that makes me so prone to fear and shame? George Clooney teaches me to relax when my husband and I are discovered in an intimate moment--exposed in a supposedly isolated wilderness. He teaches me to chill when I practice my worry habit. Why should I worry about an IRS audit, or losing my job, or any other catastrophe outside of my control? Clooney had it much worse in “Ocean’s Eleven,” and he survived.

Why am I so horrified by a devious side of myself when G.C lives it out so freely? If I could solve this mystery, I could solve my own internal split. Would I then start robbing casinos? No. But I would live more freely, following my own internal logical and impulses, even if that meant to make unconventional or morally ambiguous choices. In other words, I would risk being judged by others. I would risk their disapproval.

George Clooney (at least in my imagination) doesn’t care about disapproval. This is his ultimate allure and the reason millions of women AND men are enamored with him. We’re all trying to get a piece of this “cool,” this self-assurance. My goal these days is to cherish my inner Clooney: to love and nurture my flamboyant, risk-taking, adventurer-self; the one who sometimes fails, sometimes endures rejection, but always embraces life fully.

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