Thursday, January 26, 2012

Terror and Intrigue

A few years ago I signed up for an improv class.  The prospect was terrifying and intriguing.

I thought it would be good to do something that scared me a little bit.  And I was feeling clumsy at the time.  By clumsy I really mean I wasn't feeling like I was good at anything.  

I thought I might be good at improv.  I can be quick to make remarks.  Sometimes these remarks are funny.  Perhaps there was something more I could do with my quips.  I attended many improv shows and often had my own ideas about where I would have taken the situation if I was on-stage (I realized coming up with ideas here and there from the safe environment of the audience wouldn't translate to brilliance on-stage). 

The first class made me uncomfortable.  I know, I know that's the point. 
The second class I was on stage acting like a vulture ordering a smoothie.  
I felt like an asshole.
I was not able to attend the third class due to work.
The week after that, work was an excuse not to attend.
The week after that missing two straight weeks was an excuse to drop the class.

I quit.  I bailed.  I was a wussy.  I never felt quite right about it and often thought I should take the class in order to conquer the things that led me to bail.  In part because those things (anxiety, self consciousness, not liking be out of control) are my Achilles heel.

Last week I attended Part One of storytelling workshop.  It was led by the guy who started The Monti.  

The leader made some remarks and then asked who wanted to start.


I finished my wine like I was doing a shot.
I stood up.
Told my story.
I was happy with it but knew I could improve based on the feedback from the audience and my own self-assessment.  

A week later, Part Two.  And this times there's a mic with the option to record.  Several folks had yet to share so I hadn't planned on telling another story. Until everyone had gone with much time left in the session.  I chugged my wine and during the short walk between the couch and the mic (5 feet) I thought of a story and told it.

There's something intriguing and terrifying about telling a personal story in front of a live audience. 

Of course after listening to it I've thought of a several things to change and improve.  That said I was happy with my (relatively) slower pace and (relatively) less anxiety in my voice.  

And, how much and how little I've changed since high school. 

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