This post was supposed to be about physicality in Improv. It was also supposed to be titled The Body Keeps the Score. It is neither of those things because it turns out even a girl with ADHD can’t truly have an original thought. My brain can’t stay inside the box, but it certainly can stay within the bounds of the total accumulation of all of the centuries of human thought. Unless the author is writing in their native cuneiform, even the next Great American novel will most likely share overarching plot themes with thousands of other plot elements throughout history – and that’s okay!
As my new Improv teacher describes it: “You remember that movie about that guy and that girl? And they seemed like they were good together and you thought they’d get together? Then something happened, and they didn’t get together – but then they did and it was okay? What was that called?” There is nothing original under the sun, and we’re encouraged in Improv to tap into universality for comedic effect. Improv encourages us to mine tv tropes for concepts to explore in a pinch.
Realizing I’m not that original after all is why this post is no longer about physicality in Improv, which was the topic of the first session of the next series of classes that I finally started this week, but is instead about the use of call-backs, Chekhov’s gun and strategic use of Breaking of the Fourth Wall to meta-analyze my own motivations for talking about physicality in Improv (and/or life) instead of exploring physicality in Improv (and/or life.)
It’s also a good example of why you should never look a gift call-back in the mouth, of what stream of what unedited stream-of-consciousness ADHD thinking looks like, and, of course, of pressing the punchline in general.
I first intended to post about the fact that statistical algorithms can pick out individuals with various mental health diagnoses from the type of language they use on social media last November, but I lost my hyperfocus on the topic almost immediately after I read the original media blurb about a new study. I also forgot to ever read the study itself, which was sad because it should have been right up my alley. (In my defense, I was probably exhausted at the time. I usually am.)
I suppose in hindsight there was nothing stopping me from writing the post after November – when I finally remembered it existed – but I’d have felt like a failure as a blogger. I mean, aren’t bloggers supposed to produce semi-current content for their readers? I’d also hate to disappoint any of my readers who might be statistical outliers, but apparently statistical algorithms can also pick that out. At least online, I’m not the only one with the attention span of a gnat. Articles over a month old are ancient in the blogosphere. Got to play to my audience and pretend I’m aware of the passing of time.
I truly thought my chance had come and gone. I could have cried with relief when another article came out this month referencing similar research about the language used by individuals with mental health diagnoses on social media. Sometimes I do get a second chance to make a first impression. (I will confess my own self-regulation of my own science ideals vs. science practice hasn’t improved since November. I haven’t read the original research cited in this new article, either.)
I managed to get a timely post up, and I know that – this time- I won’t disappoint my readers. I posted extremely relevant content and I intentionally set myself up to succeed…
…by failing forward. I mean, after all, I did just manage to write the most statistically obnoxious – I mean “optimal” – example ever of a social media post by someone with ADHD above. It should trigger as many automated flags as possible during data mining that I truly have the diagnosis that I know I have. I was, however, only diagnosed in adulthood.
I entered the columnist Nick Kristof’s Trump poetry contest. It closed October 8th, and no one has contacted me from the New York Times. Last time he did a poetry contest, he published the winners about a week after the entry date. I’m assuming that means if I had somehow won, I’d know by now.
That’s okay. I didn’t enter thinking I’d ever actually win. That wasn’t the point. Actual National Endowment for the Arts poetry fellows entered the last one, and I’ve only written two real poems in my life (of which this is one.) I mostly just liked the idea of venting about how horrible things are in humorous verse, and the topic came to me when I read the column.
I called it Improv practice, since there are talented Improv artists who can write limericks on stage and make up song lyrics. I might like to be one of them someday if I manage to get through 601 and still think I’m ok enough at it to try the musical Improv class. I did semi-sing in a 101 class Improv game called Emotion Chorus. It basically involved having to rhythmically chant something about a topic of the audience’s choice in an emotional tone assigned to us by the instructor as part of an acapella chorus. I got “loving,” and the topic was “Donald Trump.” This meant I ended up making googly eyes and cooing “nuclear war” in a longing tone.
The bully in my brain hasn’t yet wised up and rescinded the strange exemption that it seems to have granted to Improv, but the migraines have.
The previous week was a five-out-of-seven migraine days week. This week has been the same. That’s 5 days * 2 weeks equals 10 migraine days. If this continues next week, I will squeak into chronic migraine territory for September while well-managed medically. While this has been my norm for much of my life, it hasn’t been for a while.
I have an approach/avoidance relationship to mindfulness. Creating an intentionally mindful state is a battle, but hyperfocus, which comes naturally, has trance-like qualities.
The more upsetting recent events have been, the more I have hyperfocused on my labyrinthine coloring book. Can I call it mindful meditation that I completed two posts worth of Where’s Whoopsies in one weekend? Does it help that it was actually soothing?
Or does it no longer count since I derive no comfort from the meditation mantras themselves, just from their repetitive motions? I have only heard one suggested meditation mantra among many that I partially identified with.
Dealing with people is not easy for girls with the hyperactive flavor of ADHD. We miss social cues, we talk over people, we fidget, we can’t modulate the volume of our voice, we interrupt. We see the complete picture of how to bring a project together, but can’t explain why you should believe us. We do all of these and more in an RSD spiral.
I’ve had some varient of “needs to stop clipping people’s sentence with her own reply” written on every performance evaluation I’ve ever gotten. This was true before dysautonomia, but trying to talk coherently when your blood pressure is 80-something over 50-something during your review doesn’t help. Thank heavens for planned out replies. I had a reasonable review, even though the new diagnosis amped up the challenge rating.
Dysautonomia alone shouldn’t further deteriorate social skills. My history of corporate ridiculousness practically guaranteed it would. My boss set my review for 8am, the earliest possible slot of the whole team. Between dysautonomia and ADHD, mornings are not my most clear-headed. Mornings after a night out “bonding” didn’t help. (We were on retreat at a hotel with corporate meeting rooms.) The others drank. I didn’t, and I left at a sensible time. However, even those few extra hours of socializing apparently were too much for dysautonomia. ADHD is socially awkward, but dysautonomia is just asocial.