Monday, 3 March 2008

Swallowed by a whale

Preface: I had a mindfuck weekend, this is what comes out of it. Just to warn you.

The Decemberists are the only people keeping me sane. Those and the seven other members of the improv team plus John and K, the coaches. Improv is just so much more important than school, right now. Not just improv as in training and doing well at regionals, which is very important, but also... improv is life. It is. Improv is being on stage, creating a situation, and living it. Through improv, I have learned to be better at life. No, really.

Improv is so different from normal acting. If you're in a play, you're assigned a character. In the process of putting on a play, you can take hours to explore the character and discover the backstory, feelings, insecurites... on stage, in improv, you literally have seconds, so what you have to do is find an aspect of yourself or of someone you know really well and play that. On stage. In front of people. You learn so much about yourself that you didn't know, on stage. I have learned more about myself in these past months and weeks in improv than I have in seventeen years. And I think I've also gained more confidence in myself. Improv makes me itch to get out there and live my life. I want to -- even if I don't feel ready.

On Saturday the team had a practice, but I couldn't be there because I had work (which was boring). Saturday night, some of the team hung out at Davis's empty appartment*. John even came with us, though he is older and infinitely cooler than any one of us. We played drunked catchphrase, which was awesome, and John told us stories of improv.

After most everyone had gone home, four of us stayed over, including John. By this point no one was thinking clearly at all** and we got to the nitty gritty bits. At one point, John pointed to Davis and I and said "Because there are two of you, you need to decide who is mom and who is girlfriend." I had this moment where I knew she was girlfriend and I was so, so jealous, just because I thought that was so much more important. But John continued, "Evey, I think you've got to be the mom. Because I think you've got one to draw from." That moment was everything from the past weeks coming to a head and suddenly, I was crying and I was mad at my mother. I was just so angry with her, for making me feel awful every time I walk in the door of my house, for trying to help with uni applications but just not actually helping at all, for making me feel so tied down all the time, for making everything better for seventeen years but not being able to anymore, for teaching me for years that she is the leader and I need to follow her, but I can't anymore. Mostly I'm angry because she is an incredible mother -- but I can't have her as such anymore. I can't follow her, I can't have her cleaning up my messes. I have to do it myself, and it breaks my heart. It breaks my heart to not be her baby anymore.

John said, "It's just as painful and heart breaking for her as it is for you."

Up until that point, I had played terrible mothers on stage. Not very good at all. I'd put on a voice, and do the motions; because of that, I'd play very shallow moms. And it was because I was afraid to play my mother on stage. I was afraid to play what I know, because I was afraid of what I'd realize about her while on stage. I'm still a little afraid, but now, I really want to do it.

Since that late-night, altered-state revelation, my mom and I can't talk anymore. I don't know how to interact with her anymore. It is so hard.

I owe so much to John for bringing this and a million other things up that night and making me think. As Davis said, John has had a bigger impact on my life than I can possibly know right now. And I'm glad for it.

I haven't really been able to do homework at all since that night, I've been so preoccupied with thinking. I didn't go to school today -- I stayed up late with my cousins talking and then slept in and only went to improv. Improv is my real education right now.

All I have left to say is mom, if you found this somehow and are reading this, please don't bring it up with me. Don't talk to me about it. Employ it in your life however you see fit, but I need to sit with my thoughts for a while and figure things out. And I have to do it myself.

*Davis's mom's boyfriend moved in and has this empty appartment until April, so we hang out/party there. We're teenagers, what can I say?
** I'll leave it at that. John is from Montreal -- use your imagination.

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