Handling Feelings of Injustice
The thing about my situation is that I didn’t ask for it nor did I do anything wrong. Something rare happened and the outcome was a complete shift in who I was, am, and will become. It’s not surprising that I have feelings of injustice, frustration, and grief. Having never been through this before I do not know how long these will last or what happens next. I’m figuring it out as I go along. Some days are simple and others are a complex set of emotions.
It’s very difficult going from leader, teacher, performer to none of those things. I might still be some of those things and it might be in other formats but I’m talking about in the world of improv. I’ve managed to shield myself from a lot of what is going on around me in the local and global community so that I can continue to heal but things do trickle in and when they do that sense of injustice rises to the surface.
I can’t help but look at what I did, the paths I created, and doors I opened. Once you are out of sight and out of mind you are forgotten. Sure there are people who know who you are and found you to be valuable but there are those who know nothing of you. That doesn’t bother me as much as watching people who participate in this art form for selfish reasons get to continue to have opportunities and don’t face the hurdles and barriers to getting on stage as I did. They are looked upon as trailblazers when really they just followed the path I forged with my own finances, sweat, blood, and tears. It’s hard not to wave your fist and say “this isn’t fair”.
There are also the people who are kind, wonderful and love the art form as I do out there doing their things which is great and yet it hurts deep down. Not because of what they are doing but because of what I cannot do. It’s the duality of being happy for their success while grieving my loss. It’s a difficult terrain for me yet I do not have a choice but to traverse it.
This isn’t just on a local level. I used to travel often where I could meet new people and forge new connections. I know how wonderful that is and now I no longer do that too. I am sidelined and this part of my life is fading to black. While I will rise once more albeit different there is also the strong possibility that the words “the end” follow the fade-out for improv.
It’s complicated and messy. It’s being human.
I’m trying to discover what it is about improv I find disheartening while also remembering what it was that made me love it for so long. The purity of improv before the local scene politics, toxic competition that always seems to make its way into groups, theaters, and whatnot, people digging their heels in that their approach is the only approach, and of course the sexism, ageism, racism, that still exists and seems to poison a lot of experiences. It’s the purity that I’d like to focus on. How to help others find their voice, feel good about who they are, be accepted. As I said, it’s complicated.
For now, I’m staying away. Trying a thing or two here and there. What I do know is that I have yet to heal completely. Perhaps by the time I’m ready, the community will be ready too and together we know peace.