Catalyst.

Yours Truly has been unencumbered by a single creative thought for quite some time. I used to post all the time but then I got a little happier and couple of months afterwards I have gotten a lot worse and about a month ago that recurrence of misery began to subside. And throughout all that I have not been able to make myself to write consistently. What did change is that I have gotten to a place of certain uneasy peace with my feelings for my ex. I do not love her any less than before but it is somehow possible to keep going one day at a time. Does I have to be completely miserable and despondent to write?

That was what I was thinking and writing in the morning. Fast forward to the early afternoon and on my way to the theatre I discovered that some wanker broke into my vehicle and stole my rather expensive sunglasses. (Two weeks ago my bicycle was stolen as well. At this point, is it allowed to think that someone is after Yours Truly?)

Fast forward to late afternoon. My mother decided to cheer me up by telling me of her troubles that included a detailed description of my grandmother’s grave that the gardeners did not maintain very well. Great! That story was a real picker-upper.

Now, I am back at the theatre doing something I have never done before. One supposes I will have something to write about in the next few days.

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Day 34. Whoa!

(This article got started independently of today’s Daily Prompt but it fits nicely with the theme.)

My six word story:

Feel it.
Do it.
Keep improvising.

 

This morning, as I was talking to my Mind Technician (that is how he likes to think of himself), he said something that made me sit back and go:

We were discussing my established patterns of thinking negatively. In the cognitive behavioural therapy, there is a thing called “cognitive distortions.” These are perverted cognitive processes that negatively distort the thinking. There are 10 of those buggers though my “go to favourites” seem to be Overgeneralisation (viewing a negative event as a never ending pattern of defeat) and Emotional Reasoning (assuming that negative emotions necessarily reflect the reality:  “I feel it, therefore it must be true.”). So basically whenever something bad or negative happens, I start cursing and putting down myself for all sorts of things. In fact, I sometimes manage to do this when something positive happens if I find that I did not do well enough. So the doc suggested that I do not automatically trust my thinking since it seems to be so negatively predisposed against myself.

That set off a minor inner explosion. This is precisely what has been plaguing my improv performances. I need to stop thinking or relying on my ideas for scenes because my thinking has been damaged by years of self-neglect and self-hate. And nobody wants to see that on stage! So for the next while what I need to do instead is go in with an emotional choice rather than a cognitive one. Maybe even pair it with a statement (e.g., “Oranges are awesome!”) and figure out the rest along the way and trust my scene partners to support me. (Improvisation – what a concept!) There is nothing inherently wrong with making a cognitive choice for a scene (e.g., “Three rabbits are discussing forest gossip”) but, for the moment, it is not the right way for me. Thinking triggers more thinking and in my case it is all negative.

In my recent post on getting back into improv, I have discussed getting bogged down in my mind and forgetting one of the cardinal rules of improv: play and have fun. I need to get back to being playful and emotional. Also, in my case, I should probably stick to positive emotions for awhile. Not too long ago, Joe Friedman (thetalkingtherapist)  commented on my post Being Funny saying that I might not be funny for awhile but that I might get deeper. Let us hope so. The reason audiences care about the characters on stage is because they connect with them. If I manage to become more emotionally moving on stage, that can only improve the overall experience for the spectators and for myself and maybe help me discover more of my true self through that experience.

For the first time in quite some time, there is actually something to look forward to in my life.

Day 8. Yours Truly: Front and Centre (Part I).

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.

Childhood

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.)

Present

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.)

One of those characters is me.

One of those characters is me.

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.