Since I have no clue what to write about today, I will use the daily prompt. Standing out in a crowd is a bit of a sensitive issue with me. So instead of screaming into the digital void about my broken heart, let us venture out into the history of how yours truly has ended up in this unenviable situation.
You see, as a child, although I had quite a bit of anxiety already, I was fine being in the thick of fun performing in dance recitals, plays, and so on. In fact, like my father, I am a natural extrovert. With the onset of ADHD-PI (or ADD, as it used to be called) things have started to change. Of course at the time I had no idea about any of that alphabet soup, nor did anyone else in my backward-ass place of birth. The way to deal with unruly kids was to pump them full of tranquilisers and stuff them in the room with padded walls. As my attention began to wonder quite a lot, I became more and more introverted. (The running joke/explanation was that I had “deep inner world.” So as much as I tried to concentrate, there was only so much information that would sift through the inattention filter. No matter how much I studied, my marks kept getting more and more depressing and so did I. The level of anxiety though, kept going up and up. That wouldn’t do in my society of birth and so I did the best I could (and my best was quite good – too good, as it turned out) to put up the appearances of normality and to lock down any out-of-place feeling or impulse.)
So how is it that I went from being completely locked inside my mind (more on that in the next post) to being someone with a bunch of friends and even appearing regularly on stage? Well, my medical condition can be controlled. I came a long way from the beaten down sorry waste of flesh to be someone that others might like and respect. I learned to venture out into outside world. It is still difficult to do so completely by myself, without a social buffer in form of friends, but I manage to do it. And every now and again I latch onto something and become obsessed with it (more on that in the next post as well). I started going to a bunch of local comedy shows and eventually paired my love for comedy with my photography obsession. So I got noticed by comedians and became friends with great many of them. These new connections brought me in contact with a lot of new people. It seems many of them liked me but I was close only to a few. Comedians like to party (evidently to keep inner demons buried under drugs and alcohol). I never got into drugs (too level-headed for that) but alcohol has always been fun for me. (Don’t worry – this story does not end in me becoming an alcoholic.) It’s a great dis-inhibitor and that’s what I need at parties. Nevertheless, I have mastered an ability to be alone in a room full of people. I tend to retreat into a corner of my mind. Even when I join a group or a conversation, I never really feel like I’m a part of it.
Then things changed. Through my association with the comedy scene, I eventually discovered improv and fell in love with it. It has so many fascinating sides: from games, to storytelling, to masks. (Eventually, there will probably be a long post dedicated to improv.)
See, this art form requires one to be fully in the moment, to discard whatever else is going in one’s life. I came to improv already with some experience in that from meditating (unsuccessfully) and rock climbing (rather successfully). Improv also allows you to become someone else, a character. Then there are the scene partners. Those that I have met mostly came to this also with all kinds of inner demons. It is such a wonderful feeling of being able to connect with others going through similar feelings and craft something wonderful with them that makes us and the audiences happy. Improv allows one to stand out without standing out. We all wear masks. I have conditioned myself early in life to keep mine on all the time. So through improv there is a secret me that gets to shine while the public known me can recede in the background. Therapy, it seems, can exist in the most unusual forms.