You know, I really don’t care about Kim Kardashian’s new colored contact lenses. Or her bangs (fringe) or lack thereof. I couldn’t give a rat’s bladder about any of the Real Housewives of (insert any city) and their plasticized bodies and faces and (semi) manufactured-for-TV dramatics.
To me, that’s all surreal, if not downright unreal–nothing to do with my daily life, which is far removed from fame and fortune and television cameras, or how I deal with my own fears and doubts, aches and pains, joys and sorrows.
I find I relate far more, far better, to the fictional creations of one Richard Armitage. On the surface, they would seem to have little in common with me. I’m no Victorian businessman or cheeky accountant, tough soldier or haunted henchman from the Middle Ages, certainly no warrior dwarf king from the pages of a children’s fantasy.
And yet, when I spent time with these characters, they become flesh and blood before my eyes. Their words ring true in my ears, their emotions– frustration, anger, fear, desire, tenderness, hope–ring true in my heart. I go on a journey of discovery with them and see their world through their eyes. The truths they wrangle with are the same as my own.
Their story somehow becomes part of my story. They battle with their flaws and imperfections, their personal demons and private ghosts, just as I do. And just as I do, they succeed better at certain times than they do others. Even the worst of them I can identify with on some level in ways I cannot with many reality show “stars.”
I do not believe I would be touched so deeply, so profoundly by these performances if it were not for the man who so carefully crafts these characters. It is raw talent, yes, and years of training and practice and plenty of technical proficiency; but it is also more than those things for me. Somehow the fundamental integrity of the man behind the characters seems to shine through.
It’s a fellow human being who is unashamed to admit to his own flaws and foibles, who does not feel the need to pretend to be what he isn’t, who shows no desire to be put on a pedestal, who admits to nerves and fear and occasional tears. A man who takes on tough challenges and just “gets on with it.” A man who tries his best to treat others the way he himself would wish to be treated. A man who respects himself and respects others in kind.
Throwing the biggest, most ridiculously expensive bashes or losing all their baby weight in the shortest possible amount of time or making the sleaziest sex tape or carving the most notches in their bed posts?
Give me the genuine, authentic human being who makes me believe in all those characters, who brings them to life in such an amazing, inspiring way, over most “reality stars” any old day of the week. Give me someone who makes me feel as i could become a finer person from spending time in his company, rather than a lesser one.
Sometimes “truth”–or what passes for it–is far more shallow and ultimately unsatisfying than “fiction.” In a world filled with so much that is pure poppycock, I want someone, something to encourage and inspire and teach and transport me.
Thank you, Richard Armitage, for doing that for me. Long may you continue to do so.