My constant state of vulnerability
I think one of my biggest strengths is my willingness to live in a heightened state of vulnerability. I am open about my journey, feelings, and what goes on behind the scenes as a leader. Doing this is scary. Even telling you that is vulnerable.
There are those who inevitably will use it to their advantage and will leave me with a shitty bag of bad emotions. The alternative though is me closed off and unconnected and that's not how I want to live my life.
Connection is extremely important for me. As a performer, there are things I can absolutely do in order to put on a professional performance. In order for me to really be at my best, I need to feel connected.
There's risk in letting myself feel connected especially with some of my personal improv projects and groups. I want to be surrounded by people who want to take care of me as much as I want to take care of them. Who see the light in me that I see in them. It's a tricky thing. Even now as I'm writing this I'm tiptoeing about details because it puts me in such a vulnerable place.
Getting to a place of connection is different for everyone. In order for me to feel connected means sharing information between two people. There also has to be a level of trust. Not just when I'm on the stage but when I'm off the stage. Trust that the person is showing up, trust that they want to be there, trust that they respect and love the art form in the weird crazy way I do. Sometimes I think my quirks are way too much for people but hey, if getting bumped and bruised along the way means really finding my improv connections, it's worth it.
When I am feeling bumped and bruised is when I have to remind myself that it is indeed worth it. My brain will sometimes do silly things that most of us have experienced. Things like comparison. Geez, that team seems to be wholly committed to one another, having the most fun on stage, and not letting anything else pull their focus. First of all, comparison is dumb and second, making these assumptions by watching a team on stage or their social media is not the real picture. I know this and yet sometimes my brain forgets so I have to snap at it and tell it to cut that shit out! No one team is perfect and like any long term relationship it takes work. Ongoing and lots of work.
This heightened state of vulnerability is a weird place and sometimes it does feel like too much. Right now, as I'm writing this post, for reasons that most would see as trite and insignificant feel more magnified and big to me. It's because of this ongoing heightened state. I'm aware of how it might seem to someone looking at from the outside. It's that self-awareness that guides me. I've developed healthy coping mechanisms and practicing gratitude and mindfulness are a big part of the package.
Some things I do that might help if you too live in this weird place are things like getting curious about your feelings or thoughts. I find that removes me from the narrative that might start up in my head. As I said mindfulness helps and when I say gratitude, I mean the act of sitting down with my journal and writing out what I'm thankful for.
Writing helps a lot. Sometimes I share it (like this blog post) and sometimes it just goes into the journal. I also put reminders in my calendar that are set to go off as often as I need it. So I'll have a "mantra for the day" and every two hours my phone pings me and there is my reminder. It's remarkable how 4-7 words can help realign and encourage me to stay open on this journey.
So for those of you who do get my quirks, thank you. For those of you who are willing to connect in the way I'm willing to connect, thank you. Really, THANK YOU. It might not be a big deal to you but It's a very big deal to me.
For those of you who think you could do with a little more vulnerability in your life. You can and you should. Trust me, it's worth it in the end!