Life has certainly been interesting. Just one month ago I became a “person” again. After giving up all of the foods I was allergic to, I developed an insane sickness that kept me in bed for almost two weeks. On top of being bed-ridden, not being able to work or make money because of it, and still discovering how to eat allergy-free, an intense sadness fell over me. I think that it was inevitable in that situation to completely avoid sadness, but I truly found it hard to stay positive. All of the support of people around me made it easier, and the fact that I got to watch movies and read books for hours and hours each day made me smile.
But then there were almost 12 hours a day where my head would just race, and think of things I never think of day to day. It is interesting: In a society that is so fast-paced, we
rarely take time to think, or to actually be present in where we are and what we are doing. One of my favorite improvisers and teachers, Dave Razowsky, often talks about [being present where you are, both in life and while you are improvising.]
So I did just that. I sat and was present in my sickness. But in all of this “thinking time”, I allowed myself to be present in what my life is, and where I am.
And this is where the table turned.
A huge wave of joy and positivity consumed me; I am in such an awesome place in my life right now, with such amazing people around me. There are two particular places that really exemplify this: Second City and The Groundlings, both part of the improv community, yet both very different schools. However, what I love most about both of these places is the support and comfort of being with my fellow improvisers. I have been at Second City for over a year now, and it has truly become my family in Los Angeles. Every time I enter that building, I am greeted with genuine smiles, creativity and love. There is no pressure to get anything “right”, because the process of improv is about the process of learning, not about product.
Having started to be a part of The Groundlings community in January, it is a much newer place to me. But in my class, I am surrounded by some of the most fun and fantastic people I have ever met. My teacher is one of the most passionate people I have ever met, and makes every single exercise we do absolutely thrilling. My favorite part? Every single time someone is asked up on stage, and every single time someone leaves the stage after an exercise, everyone is required to applaud. At first, this was hard to get used to, but I find it so wonderfully thrilling now. Giving absolute support for each and every person, no matter what happens on stage. Being there for each other no matter what happens, and applauding the act of getting on the stage and trying your best. What an amazing and positive action!
I began thinking about this, and why in Los Angeles this does not tend to happen with each other in every day life. Perhaps in a city full of self-conscious actors, we find it vulnerable to go out of our way to applaud someone else, seeing as the attention is not on us. But I think we should do the opposite. Yes, we will always have competition between one another. Yes, we will always be trying to get to the “top” (whatever the “top” means to you). Yet, I think we need to be each other’s support systems, and applaud each other for being in this city, being in this business, and for working hard at our dreams every single day.
So I pledge to support my creative friends, by going to their shows, asking about their accomplishments, and sending positive energy their way for auditions and other steps in their careers. Think how much stronger we can be as a supportive group of artists!