After the rough spell last night, I’ve been reminded of a theater class I took years ago… my very first semester out of high school.
That phase of my life has been on my mind some lately anyway… as has parts of that class, for reasons I won’t go into here… so it wasn’t as big of a leap as it seems.
This class was an acting class.
It remains the weirdest class that I’ve ever taken.
As someone who was looking at a theater tech minor, I would have to take it, even though I was going for tech… and the actors still had to take a basic setbuilding class… in an aim to keep everyone understanding of each other.
As much as the theater classes seemed like the least useful thing in the world to be taking at the time, they have actually been some of the things I’ve used the most. (Yes, partially just from the use of power tools.. lol)
As weird as this acting class was… I found that the process used for grounding to clear your personal thoughts and emotions before your entry was actually almost identical to the one I would later be taught in therapy for dealing with anxiety.
And I’ve found that the skills taught in the improv section have been things that I’ve actually found myself using a lot in real life. For example: Opposing someone’s declarations directly just escalates conflict and creates tension, where going with their energy allows you to be able to steer it and direct it.
But what has really come to mind has to do with the method of the class.
What the instructor wanted wasn’t to project fake emtions, or to make ourselves feel the emotions of the character.
He focused on mapping the energy dynamics of the scene.
We were taught that there are really only four things that you can do while interacting with someone (or something), which was actually an interaction between their energy and yours.
* You can be pulling it towards you (or trying to).
* You can be pushing it away from you (or trying to, and a pull away of yourself is actually a push against the other)
* You can hold it… which is actually both a push and a pull at the same time to keep the object/person in place by your influence. * You can release it, which is neither a push nor a pull, so that you have no inflence on its actions/motion.
The theory being that each “beat” of a scene had each person doing one of those four towards each other person on stage. So by charting this, you knew what your character was really trying to do at each step along the way, so if you followed and matched the same tpye and strength with the energies on stage between you and the other actors, the emotions would follow based on the character’s success with their attempts.
Like I said, it was a weird class. That was actually one of the more normal concepts.
But in this process, he offered a few hints.
One of which was that what we usually think of as a hold, is in many cases actually a pull, it’s just one that has something/someone pushing against it.
Think of holding a teddy bear. You are pulling the bear against your body, it can’t go through your body so your body resists and pushes back against the bear. But your arm isn’t doing both the push and the pull, it’s only doing the pull… but the opposing push creates the hold. So even though there is a hold, that’s only because your pull is opposed… your actions are still just a pull.
Another of the hints was that a lot of the times we think we are releasing something, we are actually pushing it.
Example, just releasing a hug would put you still standing right against the person, in the person’s face. Most of the time, you are also going to step backwards, to push back from them… a push, not a release. If you release your grip on something, unless you are trying to balance it or place it somewhere sitting still, you are probably also pushing it away from your hand.
And another hint was that unless you are being dragged offstage or pulling someone with you, any exit is almost always going to be a push. You are leaving the scene, pushing away from it.
So you can see where it came to mind.
I think that when I finally got my feet under me a couple of weeks ago, I switched to a strong push more than a release.
I care about him, I do love him, but I’m very tired of dealing with this.
I have little tolerance for drama and games, and while I still like to believe the best of him that he’s not doing so intentionally and being manipulative… the end result on my end is essentially the same regardless of his intent.
I quit. I’m not playing anymore. I’m done with it… and that meant done with him… and so as much as I’d pulled and pulled for the previous 2 1/2 months, it was time to push and shove myself out of the mess.
I was at a place this weekend where I can say that I was honestly and truly dissapointed that the freedom and disconnection I’d expected the weekend to bring did not happen.
I was very disappointed that my pushing hadn’t gotten me away.
I think I’d honestly forgotten that the same thing I’d assumed early on would pull him back also applied just as much to me once I’d finally gotten my grip and attempted my escape as well.
The weekend reminded me that the remaining cord is not of my doing. If it was, it wouldn’t have held anyway, no matter how hard both of us tried.
So it’s not my cord to be able to sever, either. If it’s to be severed, it will be by the same hand that created it.
That hasn’t happened yet.
My indication from this weekend is that it will not.
All the pulling in the world isn’t going to change anything… it’s only going to wear me out.
But, I realized driving home Sunday that all of the pushing in the world is only going to have the exact same effect.
If it wasn’t held by my pulling to be released when I stopped, then it isn’t going to be influenced by my pulling in the opposite direction either.
What needs to happen…. is a real release.
Neither a push nor a pull… but just letting go… and keeping my hands and influences out of the situation entirely.
Doing otherwise is just wasting my energy. Pushing is just as bad as pulling.
It is what it is… it will be what it will be.
Someday I’m going to really get this. lol