How You Do, What You Do

How you do
what you do
is who you are.

How you do
what you do
is who you are.

 

Our improv sub said this to us today, and I was down with it. It’s simple, right? And so scary, for people like me — I often live in the Candyland that is my mind and it confuses and alarms me when things don’t abide by my Candyland law. But this is the stark truth that I’ve learned through improv:

.

What’s in your head isn’t s*@t.
It literally counts for nothing;
in fact, it probably weighs you down & makes you suck more.
It’s what you physically do, and how you do it, that counts for anything.

(And let’s be real; I do almost all my living in my head these days,
save for these blogs & my sporadic spurts of whateverthehell.)

.

That’s the funny thing about improv: It hasn’t, at all, in the least goddamn bit, been about becoming funnier. It has very little to do with comedy, actually, and almost everything to do with (you’re gonna have to put on your pretentious douchebag pants for this one. What’s that, you were BORN THAT WAY), brrbrrradrrrr: Self-actualization!
-ation.
-ation.

In our first class, my improv teacher (who, really, feels more like a furry, burping yogi) explained that Improv 101 is all about discovering the gap that lives between two very misunderstood places inside of you, especially if you’re a #twentysomething:
What You Think You’re Capable Of
and What You Actually Do.
Turns out the gap is gigantic. Tonka-sized. And in 101, we’re just attempting to bridge it. It’s terrifying and humbling to discover all the ways you’ve learned to inflate your potential in your mind (some may call that adulthood!).

.
Ain’t a better place to face that gap than onstage without a damn clue as to what might happen for the next 25 minutes.

How you do
what you do
is who you are.

 

I look forward to Monday nights not just because I get to play with funny people for 3 hours, but because improv is the most efficient and crash-course way I’ve found to clean out the crap that lives in the tunnel between What I Think I’m Capable Of and What I Actually Do. I’m not doin’ so hot figuring that out meself.

I’ve found that I’ve set up a FRIGHTENING amount of nets and obstacle courses and linebackers in that tunnel through the years; namely:

  • Fear of rejection
  • Pursuit of fake-ass perfection (Why is the concept still around? Why hasn’t anyone killed it?!)
  • Fear of being judged
  • Fear it being boring; of being not-funny
  • & Mostly, fear of not living up to my own expectations-that-I-confuse-with-potential

And I’ve found that it hinders literally everything I do.
And don’t do.

Videos! Initiating scenes! Pitches! Monologues!
All get stuck. Creative constipation.

How you do
what you do
is who you are.

 

I am a phlegmy baby, in need of her baba, and improv is my once-a-week 3-hour slap on the back — a safe place to sputter and cough through our crap in order to get to an honest, raw, just-effing-do-it place in ourselves. A place that, scarily, we rarely ever trust to do things, and that we have to work and relearn to trust. But that’s when improv is truly best; let the funny come, don’t make the funny happen, they remind us.

.
I spend so much energy thinking of all the crap I haven’t done.
Rewrite: I spend so much energy thinking. Of crap.
As hippie as it is, un-learning to think is what makes great improv: No filters, no hesitation, no jokes — just trusting that organic goodness exists, and if you let it, it’ll eke out of your regular, honest-ass self.
I’m starting to think that’ll make great livin’, too.

.
And they say all the world’s a stage, right?

How you do
what you do
is who you are.

 

——————-

.

Sidenote: I’ve observed a pattern. Writing, whether for keepsies or for blogsies, is a comforting hermit thing that I often gravitate towards on Monday nights because after improv I’m creatively inspired enough to poop something out, but too tired and ugly to make a video.

So check back, maybe?

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