Full Circle by Andrea Barber Read Online (FREE)
Read Full Circle: From Hollywood to Real Life and Back by Andrea Barber full book online for free here.
Cue panic. My world suddenly narrows to the size of a pinhole. I can’t think about anything except the spinning insecurities swirling in my head. Can I do this . . . again?
The year is 2015, and it’s been exactly twenty years since I’ve last stepped into a scene as one of television’s most iconic characters, Kimmy Gibbler. My heart feels as though it’s beating outside of my chest, and I can’t seem to catch my breath no matter how hard I try. My head is pounding with loud thoughts—none of which include the lines I’m minutes away from having to deliver.
I’ve been on television for over thirty-five years, and I still feel uncomfortable calling myself a “celebrity.” I am an introverted, anxious, quiet person who plays a very extroverted, confident, loud character on television. And often, during the eight-year run of Full House, I would go to the bathroom before tapings to vomit.
At the time, I thought getting sick before performing was something everyone did. I didn’t realize that these were the first signs of a lifelong battle with anxiety and depression, something I would hate about myself for years to come. At the time I was just a kid, just playing a role.
The interesting thing about acting, though, is that it always seems to counteract those anxious feelings that I struggle with so much. I love the thrill of getting into character. I love making people laugh. The camera turns on, and my muscle memory takes over. The stress melts away when the director yells “Action!” and, for a few minutes, I get to be someone else. I get to play this fiercely confident character who’s outlandish and zany but owns everything about herself. She isn’t plagued with spiraling doubts and worries. I get to be . . . well, Not Me. And then the audience claps and hollers for this Not Me, this other person who I created. It’s a liberating feeling.
* * *
After Full House ended, I basically quit Hollywood. I went to college, lived abroad, married my boyfriend, had kids, got walloped by debilitating depression and anxiety, and went through a divorce. In short, I got lost. And then I found my way back. Literally. I found my way back to the Tanner family home on the spin-off series Fuller House. How’s that for going full circle?
I’ve played a weird but bold character my entire life, and now I want you to know me. All of me. The good, the bad, and especially the strange. I have the unique perspective of not only having been a child actor, but then returning to that same character as an adult after twenty years away from her, and from showbiz as a whole. I can tell you what it’s like to survive Hollywood, both as a child and as an adult, and come out the other side as a relatively normal person. People think celebrities live these very different lives. Especially with the rise of social media, celebrity lives become celebrity highlight reels. You don’t ever really see that person binge-eating cake, stewing over a nasty comment (or ten) someone left on their Instagram page, fighting with her boyfriend, or crying herself to sleep. You only see the staged snapshots of moments intended to create an illusion of perfection. But we’re really not that different. Just because you don’t see those moments of struggle doesn’t mean they don’t happen.