Finished improv I! Yes, I know, worst blogger ever, 6 classes 2 posts, but no fear world, I signed up for Intro II!
The right choice is often the brave choice. The character from the pattern game that you’re scared of doing. The opinion you’re worried the audience won’t agree with. The object work you think that no one will understand. But you just commit and do it. You visualize your spine made of flexible steel. Improv shows have a way of rewarding bravery. Maybe it’s pragmatic: brave things are difficult things or surprising things and therefore more enjoyable for the audience. Or maybe the audience can smell the bravery on you and they become fascinated. Or maybe there’s just magic afoot, and some invisible energy exists all around us that will be at your beck and call once you tell the universe that you are not scared. For me this includes doing an accent or dancing but your mileage may vary.
For me, the brave choice right now is keeping improv in my life, despite everyone’s instructions that it’s the wrong choice while I attempt to balance that nasty step 1 on June 18th.
Yes , and is the #1 rule of improv, and thus begins my most stereotypical blog post on improv. Done a million times before, I can’t help but comment on the foundation of improv. Disagreeing to a scene mate stalls the scene, it prevents forward movement and, quite frankly is really boring to watch. Without a doubt the same rule applies to real life, how many times have I held back from trying something just because I felt like I wasn’t ready, or not quite the right person for the job. While it seems somewhat of a contraindication I’m learning that I’m not the best judge of my own abilities. That many times someone else can envision a possibility for us that has escaped our own imaginations (or a path existing in an otherworldly dimension, what, a med student doing improv?), something that I’ve overlooked or underestimated in myself. There is a balance between saying “yes” and overcommitting vs. “yes” I don’t think I have the capabilities to do this, but I’m going to give it a hell of a shot. I’m finally starting to differentiate these “yesssses”. No more “no’s” using the half-hearted excuse I’m overcommitted, but examining the unplanned options laid before me as life unfolds. Because I think as lost as I am as a med student in terms of what I want out of a real career, life, etc., the best fit option is out there for me, and I probably haven’t even contemplated it yet. I’m not going to miss out on it, just because I haven’t dreamed of it, or felt “ready”, or “capable’ enough. Whenever it finally comes around I’m going to “yes” it! As will I likely “yes” a thousand other wrong things before I make it to this point, but I’m ready to stay open and going do change my fearful “no’s”, into a fearful “yes”. Keeping the fear, but hey, at least I’m moving forward in the right direction.
It’s been a hell of a year. Ever since I completed my first year of med school in May 2012, I’ve been on a seemingly non-stop losing streak. An aunt passing before her time, a grandma that watched my sister and I nearly everyday during my childhood, and a break up with a long-term boyfriend. All of this on top of the hell known as second year med school where we woefully get ready for the most important exam in our lives known as Step 1 in June. Let’s face it, I’m in a rut and with no end in sight, as the boards rapidly approach I don’t even know how to get through it. So I decided I need to try something different, and find somewhere I can get away from the soul-sucking monster known as med school even if it’s just for a little while. I signed up for an intro to improv class at Planet Ant which started about two weeks ago, and it’s been great! It’s hard to describe improv, it really is, I walked in just hoping not to find a single med student in sight and have some fun on Tuesdays, but it’s more than that. So much more I’ve decided to blog my way through the rest of this semester as it coincides with this wacky improv journey.
Improv is the thing you’ve been looking for your entire life that you didn’t even know you were searching for. At it’s core, it’s really a philosophy, improv rules are life rules. For example, we’ve all been told a million times that we need to “let go”, and as we repeat a mantra like that in our heads, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re letting go. I think a better interpretation is, I want to let go, but I can’t, so if I say it a million times it will come true eventually. An improv scene will fail if you can’t let go. It’s actual practice at moving on, and staying in the present moment. And I’m quickly learning that the only way I’m actually going to make it through boards with any sanity and empathy left is going to boil down to me laughing my way through these next few months. So here’s to a new hobby!