When I went to the Summer Intensive at iO Chicago in 2005, I had the pleasure of seeing TJ Jagodowski perform often. He was so electric and alive on stage in every choice he made, I walked away from that experience saying “I want to be as good as him.” This was an incredible motivator. I may never be as good as him, because even as I grew and continue to grow as an improvisor, so is he. But that’s not the concern, it’s the journey of the attempt that makes me an individual within the art form, hopefully inspiring the same in others. Especially as an educator in improvisation, that is all you can hope for. This goal gave me purpose for 13 years and in that timeline, many great things presented themselves to me. A theater, a community, a husband, best friends and a network of people all around the world that have enriched my life exponentially. This specific journey, although not over, has taken a much needed detour which has rocked my world in terms of how I saw my future and my stability in it. It destroyed my confidence in myself, my self worth and made me look in the mirror to see my created identity. I have been working pretty hard the last year to rebuild all of that and in doing so, have had the privilege to re-identify – blending who I was before that summer, who I was during my dedicated process to it and who I want to be – into an identity that feels right, real, truthful, unapologetic and joyful.
I met someone completely randomly on my travels that had the same profound affect on me. This person was charming, interesting and created a response in me that was just as electric as watching TJ perform. I have made it a secret goal within recent years to be the most charming person, why this is important to me, I can’t begin to fully understand, however, I know it has to do with the joy that someone can offer to another just through meaningful connections, fun experiences and love of humanity. I am changed from our encounter, and have a new motivation, it may be fleeting, life may subdue my vigor, but I am truly now seeking to be just as charming and interesting as this person. Perhaps it’s superficial, self motivated and/or slightly bizarre, but just like improv, it’s the journey of the attempt that will certainly open up new avenues to an unpredictable future. This is what I like… and it’s this idea that will assist me in my adventure to seek out what my future beholds. For those of you that know me well, I strived to clear out my life so that I may find happiness again without fearful anxiety and in doing that, that I may find passion for something to fuel every moment, the lack of clarity for the future creates a feeling of distress, as if I’m lost, and possibly lost for good. I must hold faith that my entire purpose is yet to be discovered and that the dream that something bigger lies ahead is not a fantasy. In attempting to be more interesting and charming than this person, I have a thirst for knowledge and self awareness that I believe will be the light needed for the journey ahead.
To what lies at the end of this series of tunnels, corridors and hallways… or to what ever doors, windows and shafts open along the way. I am not afraid to climb, and certainly not afraid to adventure.
UPDATE: As I have continued to go down rabbit holes of insight, inspiration and information I have encountered a few quotes after posting this about competing not with others but with yourself. I think in regards to the inspiration of wanting to be just as awesome as another, the process does end up focused on always superseding yourself through the journey. So, ultimately I do aim to be better… than me, for I can never be anyone else, nor should I try, because I am exactly who I am supposed to be. I hope that others can walk through life with the same gratitude of individuality.
Been thinking a bit about ego and how much of this new drive satisfies my ego. My reflection on it is that in all the years that improvisation and the art of it taught me how to set aside my ego. I focused on honing how to support another, setting aside my ego for the needs of others. Yes, anding my fellow to lift them to success. As strong of a skill as this is, the focus on another idea led me to not trusting, believing or supporting my own. My new focus, makes me the priority and now I am honing how to support myself, to trust myself, believe in myself – and most of all, how to love myself. I think in striving to be a better me, helps me to love myself and all of me, the whole picture, my past, present and future me.