The summer is quickly coming to a close and soon we’ll be saying goodbye to 104 degree days and hopefully hello to a little rain. This is the time of year when the tide turns and I can start bragging about the winter temperatures while my more northern state living friends bundle-up, say goodbye to their lawns, break out the snow tires and ready their shovels. Meanwhile, I’ll be saying my own goodbye to whiney mobile uploads popping up on Facebook showing car thermometers that read a “sweltering” 91 degrees. (It sounds like a cold front to me.) Goodbye cheerful notes in my email with claiming temperatures in the 70’s. Goodbye, Texas Summer! (Yes, I understand that my desert dwelling friends just rolled their eyes at me, but remember you live in A DESERT – nobody can compete with you when it comes to heat. You win. Good work.)
This summer I tried several new things – sewing, joining a writing group, joining Toastmasters and a little improv. It was one of those summers where I just threw things at the wall to see what would stick – a time for some self-discovery and a shrinking wallet.
What I discovered along this adventure: I’m not a writer – not really. I’m ok with that. I’m also not a Toastmaster. I’m VERY ok with that.
That leaves improv (and sewing, but sewing is sewing is sewing and I need to purchase a sewing machine). I think of all the things I did this summer, most people would have placed bets on the writing group being the best fit and maybe a small handful (one of you) might have guessed it would be improv. Well, the results are in and it’s most definitely improv. Start paying up!
Improv classes are freedom, joy, silliness and an escape from a very critical inner-voice that strongly asserts “I can’t”. It’s the first class I’ve joined where I’ve walked into a room full of strangers and felt safe and unafraid (or as unafraid as I can feel). I’ve even managed to avoid Jonathan’s “Rule of Five”. (Those not in the know, the Rule of Five states that if there are five or more people in a room (strangers, friends, family – it doesn’t matter to me), I will disengage and move straight into observation mode. It’s not something I can help. It just is. The Zen of Beth.)
Granted, if two chairs appear on the stage, I will not be the first person to wave my hand up in the air and say “I wanna come down”, but you add the third chair and it becomes a little more difficult to resist.
Every Saturday, I get to go play with complete strangers who make it ok for me to take risks and speak in front of them. I get to practice feeling ok with 13 other people (and two instructors) focusing on me. I’ve even actually managed to not implode when more than five people hear my voice and I’ve avoided my classic meltdowns. (Although, I’ve come perilously close on two occasions – April claims no one noticed. April is a good friend like that. We like her.)
Granted, I’m not good by a long shot. There are a few folks that have been around awhile who are very talented and when they’re on stage, what they do seems effortless. There are some actors (EXTROVERTS!) and then there are some who are just naturally talented (I personally bow to the genius that is David). The class is filled with a ton of interesting people – very artistic (photographers, writers, yoga masters and the like – you know, “overachievers”) who are also very involved in the community. It’s actually quite an honor to be in their company and in turn I bring my extreme nerdiness. Lucky them!
I’ve enjoyed two months laughing. Two months of being inspired by fantastic teachers. I’ve met new people. I’ve learned a few things about myself and I’ve taken big risks for me (probably small for you).
So, post summer update – I threw some things at the wall and improv stuck.
I’ll see y’all in Improv 201!
P.S. No, there’s not a performance at the end of this class either. No, you can’t come and see.
P.S.S. Yankees (people north of the Red River), get ready for the Winter Temperature Smack Down 2010/11! You thought with all that improv talk I’d somehow forgotten about you. How could I forget? You hold a special place in my heart.