I saw a roundtable with showrunners in which the host asked each, “How are you different from when you were a kid?”

Like with most brandprov prompts, I asked myself the same question.


I came up with: I’m more unapologetically myself. I’ve always been like this; I just used to give a shit if you liked me because of it.

I used to *really* care about stuff like that.


But when I unpacked the boldness of the statement “I’m more unapologetically myself,” I thought about how there was a time BEFORE I cared a lot about whether or not someone liked me in which I was unapologetically myself.

It’s as though we start out truly who we are… then the socialization of school and acceptance and praise for being “good” or excelling at things shifts our self-concept as well as our self-love. We somehow feel “less than” for the exact things that we make us uniquely ourselves.


How messed up is THAT?

But then, if we’re lucky — and if we’re really lucky, early enough in life to allow us to be sane — we stop caring so much what others think about us. We just BE.

When I examine that the only major difference in who I’ve EVER been is the level of shit-giving I do about what others think, I’m pretty pleased. I’ll admit I’m also sad for the times I even entertained the idea of making changes in order to fit in. The times I indeed played small rather than facing rejection.


Many of the years spent in my acting pursuit were spent in careful calculation for how I could be who I am at my core while maintaining that steady stream of praise that comes with doing what “they” say you must do to be accepted.

No wonder leaving acting behind felt like such a relief.

Oh, but wait! The life of a writer is no less rejection-filled than the life of an actor. To make a living as a writer is just as uncommon as it is to make a living as an actor — and much less fancy, since many people will consume your words but never even know your name. (Yes, the number of people out there who list Self-Management for Actors as a book that changed their lives but who have no idea who Bonnie Gillespie is is significant.)


Thing is, at some point over the past 15, 16, 17 years, I’ve felt myself returning to the very wee me — the one who IS more fully herself not because she has *EVER* changed but because she is almost completely uninvested in what she could change about herself to suit someone’s opinion of her. (And she has switched to using third person, here, apparently.)

So I ask you: How are you different from when you were a kid?


You may have changed entirely and none of it may have anything to do with what you worry others may think of you. You may have a similar epiphany to mine. You may have a totally different take on this.

Whatever it may be, I’d love to know! BONUS POINTS if you have cute kiddo photos to share!

Stay inspired,

Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

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  1. Lore October 4, 2016 at 3:20 am

    Love this!

    I’ve been reading about this concept in “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle, who also posits that the ego is what takes us away from our core self – our self is not our thoughts (something has to think them), nor our feelings (again, something has to feel them) – but our pure state of being that is consciousness and essentially us. I’m working on being aware of and therefore transcending my thought patterns and emotions, but this is of course a lifelong journey.

    Personally, I would agree that I haven’t changed since I was a little kid in terms of my values and joy, however even as a seven year old I began to notice how I was being told to be something that I wasn’t, such as that I was boyish or too childish etc. and began to therefore feel uncomfortable in my own skin. I lot of my recent self-work has been giving all of that (ergo the values and criticisms society imposes) a big ‘screw you’ and finding my way back to that state of comfortable being.

  2. Dija October 4, 2016 at 5:18 am

    Wow Bonnie! I Love this so much! Your pics are so cute! The last one though! :)….and that dress! Love it!!

    I’ve actually been doing a lot of thinking about this exact topic for the past few weeks so this was right on time. I hate to say it but I think I started feeling pressure to be someone else at a very young age. I’m the oldest of three and I think it had some impact in both directions. I’m a natural born leader so having two little siblings to “lead” brought those qualities out. I love my little brother and sister very much (we are close to this day.) But I as I got older I couldn’t find a place to fit my introverted self and fire filled emotions. (Classic INFJ Aries) I also grew up when there were barely any mixed kids running around in the 80’s. Now the ethnically ambiguous is poppin’! Lol! So I learned to hide and be small. Being myself caused jealousy and the “mean girls” to come out so I got smaller to avoid it – because I do like harmony and all that jazz. Thanksfully I had gymnastics and theater as an outlet! When I went away to attend college it was the best thing. I found out that I was a people person (what!?!!) and actually started to find other young women who were ambitious like me. I’ve gone through the mommy stages of “feeling like I’m losing myself” to now fighting through MS. Now I see that when life “squeezes us” it causes our true selves to come out. And the older I get I realize life is too short to let Society or my inner Debby downer dictate my life. (I’m probably going to be that 92 year old woman doing salsa, learning languages and traveling the world making movies!) Right now I’m working on that phrase “I’m me, and that’s okay.” from a book I’m currently reading called “The missing Commandment-Love Yourself” by Denise and Jerry Basel. All that to say I’m slowly going back to who I used to be as an adventurous, confident, curious, gentle and fierce kid with more wisdom and patience on top!” Raising my own children I pray every day that I would be the type of mother to nurture them to be exactly who they were meant to be. I love that Emerson quote “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Cause it’s so damn true! Much Love For you being YOU Bonnie!

  3. Tonya Kay October 4, 2016 at 6:57 am

    Thanks Bonnie!

    I still move from the exact same place as when I was a child: seek, surround myself with and communicate beauty.

    A difference is to work as a professional performer, I’ve lived in all big cities when I used to spend 70% of my days in remote nature (I miss the beauty of the woods, wind and soil deeply). I also have become a very networked and business-social creature where as a child, I was energetically introverted, spending better than half my waking hours alone, alone, alone (due to injury and drama of 2016 I’m actually finding myself quite isolated socially again and secretly love it – people are fascinating but: meh). Finally, I’m so much more aware of death and the swiftness with which it comes to our loved ones and our lives. It certainly helps my adult give love to those whom bring beauty to my life with a mature devotion and romantic fatalism unavailable to my youth.

    Re: the work, I seem to book and shine in villain roles. Friends say it’s so strange, but to me it makes sense. Where else do the (dominately male) writers, producers, directors of urrent society have to feature an unyieldingly smart, driven, straight shooting, baus woman? We’re certainly not (frequently) yet perceived as love interests, victims or supporting roles filled by female actors. Plus villains are written to express how little respect they have for other (characters) whom are anything less than full out. Gives me my outlet to be me, as you say; unapologetically, through the work.

    With respect to your and others’ bold center which does change society simply by living it…

  4. Tischa October 4, 2016 at 8:43 am

    I can honestly say that I don’t believe I’ve changed all that much (except for a little less energy LOL). To think about that made me really happy. Thank you for this!

  5. Julia October 4, 2016 at 9:53 am

    So interesting, Bonnie! Many thanks for sharing – love the photos. 🙂

    Personally, I’ve experienced a similar process of “socialization” through trying to please adults more than trusting my own inner voice. Responding to when adults encouraged me in certain areas and toning down the behaviour that was frowned upon.
    As an adult, I have become much more assertive, a fighter who will stand up for herself. As a kid, I was an easy target and let myself be bullied because of my good grades and my overall difference.
    I’m slowly finding back to the authentic me inside, and I can feel that this is also making a difference in how I present myself as an actor – more as me, authentic, strong, big.

  6. Caity October 4, 2016 at 10:47 am

    Oh I loved this too! I’ve been working on this for the last year – reuniting the younger me and not judging her anymore. Doing that helps me to stop caring what others think. Letting her laugh, play, and be a part of my now.

    Thanks for sharing this and I loved the pictures! 🙂

  7. Heather Pache October 4, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    Man, can I relate to this. I felt like I was born to stand out, but my family did not agree. We were supposed to blend into society and be ladylike. I ask you in all seriousness, how does being a lady fit in today’s society. From my perspective, I see ‘ladies’ as fragile, delicate things that need to be taken care of. I’m the opposite of that. But, in order to fit in, I needed to be more ladylike. *makes me wanna hurl now. I got married, had kids and did the ‘feminine thing’ but I also expressed my opinions to my kids. I’m not convinced the appreciate it because it means I’m living out loud. I’m no longer hiding or blending in. Living alone or with someone else who isn’t afraid of life/society, might help, but I haven’t found that person. I love acting because it makes me feel like a kid. That feeling you got on the playground when your mind could be free…. that’s my favorite feeling, and I think it’s because I’m accepting of myself. I’m not holding back anymore and it feels REALLY good!

  8. Bonnie Gillespie November 6, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    Thank you all soooooooooo much for these comments! Love ’em all!

    Lore — I love this! That “screw you” you’re giving to that past layering-on of how you SHOULD feel about your essence is so empowering and I’m excited for you and where this comfort continues to take you!

    Dija — Glad you enjoyed the photos and the post! Yes, yes, yes on the “getting smaller” thing. Isn’t is odd how we did that to avoid the conflict of it all? I love your vision of your 92-year-old self! That’s glorious and I share that vision with you. YES on that Emerson quote! YES! Love you and thank you, sweetie!

    Tonya — A true Libra with all that beauty swirling around and through you. I love it! And indeed, society changes by our being fully, unapologetically ourselves. Thank goodness!

    Tischa — Having spent time with you yesterday, I can say I bet that’s true!

    Julia — Yes! Find yourself back to that authentic YOU, babe! So damn good! Beneficial to you, your acting, and the world. 🙂 Glad you liked the photos.

    Caity — Isn’t that judgment a biggie? God yes, on the letting her laugh and play! Yes! I cheer that on. 🙂 And thanks for loving the photos! Hee!

    Heather — That “makes me wanna hurl” thing is all that energy, now ready to explode and take shape in a constructive, beautiful way. Yes! Think of what a great parent you are, modeling leadership instead of “smallness.”

    Keep your KID-NESS everyone! It’s damn good!


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