- an aerobed
- a towel
- a few changes of clothes
Somehow I made it for a month until I could get the rest of my life moved here. I have no idea how.
Needless to say, I had nothing to do in my apartment so I ventured out and explored the city instead.
One of the most interesting quotes I remember after I first arrived was this: “Don’t wait until you are ‘settled’ in NYC before you go out, make friends, and do things. You will never be settled and a year will go by and you will be lost.”
I don’t remember the author, but it stuck with me.
So I did just that. I embraced the city. I decided to take some risks. Risk #1, I signed up for a beginner improv class.
I talked myself in and out of attending the first session. At work in NJ, facing the 1.5 hr commute back into the city for a 7:00 start, I tried convincing myself that I couldn’t make it. That I was too tired (likely true). That this was a stupid idea, that people would laugh at me and not in the good way when you are really funny but in the bad way when you are totally inept and ridiculous…I had a million excuses. I went anyway.
When I arrived everyone was sitting in a circle. I don’t know why the circle was started, but I pulled up a chair and waited with 11 other people for the instructor to arrive. I was very uneasy, but noticed that around me people were also fidgeting and avoiding eye contact. Could they be as nervous as I was?
Turns out – yes. Also turns out – improv was a very good idea. I had a blast.
We did the exercises I recognized as “icebreakers” in the business world, and some that went beyond. I learned about being more agreeable – always trying to elevate what your partner or team is doing with ‘yes and…’ No matter how silly or confusing the skit becomes, you just say to yourself – ok, let’s do that too!
I learned to watch the nonverbal cues of my partner. Recognize when I am being too monopolizing, and notice when they may be struggling so I can jump in to help.
I tried, very hard, to learn how not to want to curl up into a ball and hide when whatever I was doing fell flat. Like bombed. Crickets.
I grew more and more excited to go to class. I liked the people I met there, and thankfully because of a game where you had to add a descriptor and a gesture to your name – I remembered all of their names. I was “head banging Metallica Mindee” (insert head banging move)
Hey – there were other silly ones, like “Mudpie throwing Melissa” and “Occupy Wall Street Drumming Dan” (then we had to make drumming motions and sounds). It was awesome.
I want to take more classes. I went to the Peoples Improv Theater for the 1st class, and think I’ll go back. After Improv 1, you put on a show for your friends and classmates.
I won’t be telling anyone. ;)