Exploring The Animal
by third planet living
I recently had a conversation about theatre that illuminated an interesting aspect of this complex animal… One I thought I’d share to see if anyone had any ideas about.
I guess, before I get in to all that, I should pose the question, why do we do theatre? I don’t know the reasons why each of us, as individuals chose to hang out in the theatre, but I can tell you a few of the reasons I did. Often times, throughout my life, I have felt that I wasn’t making meaningful connections with people. Busy days lend themselves to feelings of isolation, and reading other people’s words and hearing other people’s stories is comforting. Working with other people towards a joint goal feels good…primal somehow… human. Relying on other people and having people rely on me is a necessity of mine.
I needed connection and support in a big way, and I stumbled into theatre at just the right time.
It’s been about ten years now since that fateful semester when I said fuck physical science/English and the lot, and filled my schedule with theatre classes… and it has served me very well. I’ve met some amazing people, have been a part of some killer shows… it’s been wonderful and surreal and generally bad ass. But there is also a part of theatre that’s bizarre and dark that I really can do without. Something that undermines the aforementioned reasons I started doing theatre in the first place.
Because our community is so small, and so tight, gossip burns hot and runs rampant. We all know everyone’s business: the good, the bad and the ugly. We take sides or feel we’re betraying someone if won’t take sides… I think we bond with each other over the dirt-dishing, trying for that closeness, enjoying feeling like we have inside information… But I think this has a negative effect on our psyches, whether we’re aware of it or not. I think there are ways to achieve the feeling of family that are in better alignment with the ultimate goal. Ways that will push the peace forward instead of chipping slowly away at it.
Being aware. Paying attention to when someone is overloaded, feeling insecure, or is just needing someone to listen to them … practicing non-judgment.
Letting people know how awesome they are on a regular basis. (It’s easy to think someone’s great and forget to say it… or choose not to say it.)
And a million other ways to uplift and empower…
Lord knows it ain’t easy… we’re all so used to relating to each other in a certain way… it almost feels like self denial to give up the gossip.
But I think it may be worth striving for.
I have done this experiment several times in the past (and have been largely unsuccessful) that is based on the idea that thought follows speech… So if you can refrain from saying negative things, you will, eventually, stop thinking negative thoughts. If you can go forty days without negative speech creeping in, supposedly you can kick the habit. I think I’ve made it to 23 days… if you screw up and scream obscenities in traffic; you have to start back at day one. I’m going to try this again, and keep trying and keep trying until positivity becomes second nature. Actually, until it becomes first nature. If anyone else feels up to the challenge, come on… we can sweat it out together. Maybe I’ll post progress reports, as being held accountable might help me along…