"I Don't Know" always reminds me of my former-crush, present-performance colleague and buddy, Ben San Del's myspace page. Now it says he's "drawing a blank," but it used to just say "I don't know." And it cracked me up because I can hear Ben say it, with the deadpan of a not-yet-seasoned stand-up comic (at the time), but with a slight exasperation like his mom was asking again for the umpteenth time.
Or maybe that's just how I would say "I don't know."
I finally finished the third level of improvisational comedy classes at the Brave New Institute. I was extremely fortunate to have the fabulous, talented, and wise-beyond-her-years Lauren Anderson as my instructor. Lauren embodies one of the reasons I chose to study at BNI (aside from the fact that it was one of the only and seemingly most reputable long-form improv schools): the white light.
The White Light is, as explained in the Student Manual you receive upon your first BNI class, that space we pass through now and then where there is no thought, no identity, just purity, blankness. As an improviser, one passes through this space more often and if you're really good at your craft, you can go there very easily and return every day. It's a meditative space. You get it.
So Lauren has been talking to us about "I don't know." Her theory - and I regard it as the truth - is that we *do* know. When we say "I don't know," we're avoiding the answer for one reason or another. Specifically on stage in improvisation, you *know.* You always know what the other person on stage is talking about because that's how the scene progresses. Asking questions puts too much on your scene partner because you're making them do all the work by giving you the answers. Simply, the answers are already there; they're anything you want them to be.
It hit me last night that the biggest "I don't know" in my life that I'm aware of is the answer to the question, "What do I want to do with my life?" And already, as I finished typing that sentence, I totally know what the answer is.
I want to make art.
I want to encourage everyone else to make art.
I want to spread love, creativity, hope, and laughter.
Mainstream American culture, the one that's hardest to escape, really wants me to define this in the form of a vocation, and that's where I get hung up.
I want to act
I want to draw
I want to play music
I want to make jokes
I want to teach
I want to improvise
I want to administrate
I want to run
I want to stretch
I want to travel
I want to make money
I want to be healthy
I want to collaborate
I want to perform
And in writing that list, I thought I was going to end it with "SEE? there's TOO MUCH I want to do." But I can do all that. But how to do it simply and fit it all in without stress? How to do it all and not have to have a day job? How can I love my life every minute of the day?
I don't know.
Yeah, that's bullshit too.
Just re-reading my 3 simple objectives (the first ones) makes me feel so much better about my life and my endeavors and my future. Because I think I have been living those 3 objectives; I have already achieved them on some level. But they're not destinations, they're Being and Doing. It's nice to know I've been doing it all along.