Last week, I wrote about the importance of seeking joy, which came just before a post on knowing when to give up and a video blog recap in Malibu. It was a fun, relaxing Labor Day weekend filled with laughter, friendship, BBQs, improv shows, and community, and I couldn’t be happier to be back with today’s blog post.
Yesterday afternoon I was fortunate enough to attend a Q&A panel of Harold performers at UCB theater in LA. Harold auditions are coming up this weekend, so it was nice to be able to have the opportunity for open discussion with some really knowledgable members of the community on their experiences over the years.
It’s amazing just how much improv has helped me reaffirm my perspectives on a lot of things in life. Someone I know recently teased me and told me I’m one of those “the church of improv” people, and it’s true. I’ve always been the type of person willing to say yes, to follow the fun and the fear, and to try new things, which is what led me to Los Angeles in the first place. It’s nice to be able to remind yourself of those things you like about yourself since we all lose our way and forget sometimes.
A lot of the topics written about in this blog over the past several months resonated with me at yesterday’s panel. In addition to the qualities of saying yes and following the fun, some of the most important points that stuck out to me were staying present, being supportive to your teammate(s), making your scene partner(s) look good, admitting and letting go of past mistakes, not trying to win out over someone else, not comparing yourself to others, showing up with yourself and realizing that’s a really great foundation to improve upon, and working hard to be in a situation you want to be in. Staying positive and confident is so important, as is emotional commitment! Sure, they’re rules for improv. But I really believe they’re also rules for life.
We all make mistakes in life, but the rules of improv attempt to look at mistakes in a different light. When we look at mistakes as positive things, we are able to view them as gifts. Gifts are beautiful; they’re little treasures of foundation that help you form your identity for a better future. Other variations include viewing things as ‘blessings or lessons,’ which was a context I’m familiar with from growing up, but I love the idea that there are no mistakes and only gifts.
Mistakes imply regret and guilt. A certain amount of guilt and remorse is normal, natural, and healthy. Empathy is an amazing trait everyone should try to possess, but it’s important to let things go and be kind to yourself, too. It’s important to forgive yourself because no one is perfect. We’re all making it up and figuring it out as we go, and self-love is incredibly important in this journey we call life. There are plenty of times I’ve failed at things in life, and there are also plenty of times I wish I had made different choices. But in those moments when I feel the regrets kick in is when I love those parts of myself the hardest because they led me to where I am today. By viewing your mistakes as gifts, you can see them for what they are: an opportunity to learn, to improve, and to grow. I’m still not perfect, and I’ll never be perfect. But I love that and embrace it. Everyone is capable of embracing his or her imperfections and of learning to love themselves regardless of flaws. The imperfections we have are what set us apart and make us unique, whereas our empathy and shared experiences are what connect us. Love your imperfections; they’re not imperfect at all. Who you are now and who you can become in the future is all that matters. Embrace those flaws, everybody! Once you do, you'll see just how flawless you really are with all those flaws!
I have no idea where the future will take me or if anything at all will come of the upcoming Harold auditions, but I do remember feeling similarly last year to as I feel right now. Regardless of the outcome, I’m going to keep doing what I love. I’m going to keep performing with Garage Band and Camp Hickory and Carl and the 1607. I’m going to enjoy my final two free classes I earned while interning on Saturday nights at UCB Franklin. And I’m going to continue to grow into a community in which I’ve already gained so many beautiful and true friendships. And that to me is worth the entire experience ten times over.
And to everyone auditioning this weekend, break legs. You’re all so talented and brave for pursuing this crazy career path. Life’s a journey, and the most important thing on this journey is to surround yourself with people you love and with people who love you for you. I hope to see my friends on Harold teams or Mess Hall teams or around the Clubhouse or iO or Groundlings. No matter what happens, I can’t wait to continue this beautiful journey with all of you. Because that love, that calm, and that shared excitement I feel when I’m performing or hanging out with you is what it’s all about.
Thank you so much for reading, and, as always, if you have any pressing questions or if you want to discuss something further with me, feel free to subscribe below or reach out to me on the “contact” page. I’m so grateful you're here and that I’ve been getting a lot of really challenging questions and even better feedback from a community all over the world. I couldn’t do this without you! So THANK YOU! I’m here for you, and I love hearing from you, too! You’re the best, and you have everything you need inside of you! Please believe it! Starve your ego, feed your soul - and follow your heart!