Flow like Nina Simone.

march 27th, 2015

stand up (get up) I did standup at the iO Monday night open mic. Here's audio from the second half (the half I'm less bashful about):

I said it was my first time ever-ever doing standup and the audience and emcee were super supportive. I got some laughs, but left the stage feeling empty. Vlad and Marcel and Colleen were there, and were sweet while I was quiet and muttery the whole ride back. “Well, that happened,” I said.

The next day working from home alone, I fell into a weeping jag. Audible boo-hoo-hoos. Didn't have any words or coherent thoughts behind it, just an extremely raw, exposed feeling. I know what you're thinking, and no, this was also five days post-menstrual. Low tide. So, don't even have hormones (horror moans) to point blame at. Ate some chocolate and watched the entirety of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

The day after that, I started crafting the entire experience into a comedic monologue to probably be performed at the iO open mic next Monday. So it goes :)

One important thing: from the recording, the laughs were much louder than they seemed from the stage. Tricky tricky. Also explains why so many of the comics would get a strong laugh at a joke, then react like it had been a dud. Don't let the acoustics psych you out, brothers and sisters!

improv For the first time on Wednesday, I slipped into the elusive Zen-like flow state in an improv scene. I've felt it before in music and other performance, but not improv.

By flow, I mean: the altered state described by artists, hackers, Go masters ... the one where you don't know two moves ahead, but you know the next move is the right move ... the one where you feel something powerful move through you, and you're just the channel ... the one where you don't experience conscious thought or reaction, just pure awareness and action. And after you're like, “why am I ever seeking out something that's not this?”

The scene was with my improv boyfriend Becca. We were playing two best friends telling a story about the time we saw Rahm Emanuel almost get assassinated. The goal of the game was to be those gross people in a karass built for two. Convey the effect that this was a story we'd told a million times.

I don't remember most of the scene (cf Zen-like flow state). But it took place in a club. A guy came in with a black mask. Pulled off the mask: it was Rahm Emanuel! And we were like, “wutttt!!” And then we're dancin' and we're dancin'! And then the assassins came, but we were like, “Rahm, this way!” because we know the club, right? We can save you, Rahm Emanuel! We took him out the side door, but! There was the assassin! With a gun!

You had to have been there. Here's an artist's re'creation:

At the club with Rahm Emanuel

health Symptoms have almost entirely gone away “on their own,” except for lingering tinnitus. No more neckaches. No more headaches. No more nerve pain. No more numbness. Good news is good news. Right?

On the phone with Dr Dad, I said maybe this has all been psychosomatic. He said, “bubbsy, I've known you 32 years. I think we can rule out psychosomatic,” which was very gratifying. I still don't rule out psychosomatic. It's just always right there, in easy reach. Explains it all. Psychosomatic.

I once explained Morgellons to a friend who got annoyed that Morgellons sufferers are classified as psychotic and “need” to be psychiatrically treated. But from what I've read and what my mom's described with her clients: with a psychosis of that kind, the end game isn't that you have a cute fiber-collecting habit. It's that you've scratched away large portions of your skin and feel self-conscious interacting with others. You lose your job, you isolate and alienate yourself. You stop taking care of yourself.

On You Better Call Saul, Saul's brother (played by glorious Michael “Spinal Tap” McKean) has a serious allergy to electricity. The show presents skepticism about whether the allergy is “real,” but it's unambivalent that the allergy is real to Saul's brother. He feels it. In a way that What About Bob is ambivalent about whether Bob feels it. “Probably not,” says What About Bob.

Encouragingly, Saul's brother works to overcome with his own prescription of exposure therapy. Change is possible.

Which is to say, if this weird health episode was all in my head (ha ha ha) I'm glad that it got better. That whatever it was didn't fester and spiral and get worse and worse. Good news is good news.