Because I’m Getting Kicked Out of Improv School…
The Inside Skinny:
The Improv Class Boot
It started in class last Monday, when a new student, we’ll call her Karen, was the last to take the stage for our final exercise, and had no partner with which to play. I leapt onto stage, and dove into the scene, wherein we were both prompted to play bodybuilders making smoothies. At one point in the scene, Karen mentioned “Ballet for bodybuilders,” at which point my character said, “Ballet is so faggy.”
While the teacher had no problem with the line, and said the scene was “great”, Karen had an epic, stage-ten, over-the-top, hissy fit, which inspired her to pull me aside after class, while shaking and in tears, to tell me – many times, and in multiple ways – that – “as a queer person” (who happens to be dating one of the male improv teachers), she was mucho triggered by the line that I should never, ever utter again.
I patiently listened as Karen told me that she would never say anything so horrific, and that she would never say the “N”-word, which seemed more than a little off topic, but she was pretty unhinged, so I chalked it up to indoctrinated confusion. She told me, repeatedly, with quaking voice, that I don’t understand, and that I don’t understand, and that queer people are getting killed and hurt because I said “faggy” while playing a bodybuilder in an improv class. I told Karen that I appreciated her sharing her truth with me, and I appreciated her forthrightness, and that I totally respected her choice to say or not say anything she was or wasn’t inclined to, and that I appreciated the same courtesy. And then I drove home, marveling at the intensity of her reaction, and the effects that trauma-based MK Ultra mind control are having on purple-haired, bespectacled 20-somethings who have taken the bait, while wishing that the improv school higher-ups would be a little more discerning in vetting their students, given that improv is supposed to be a safe space for free expression.
Emily and I spoke a bit about the incident, and the larger mind control op to which it points, on our latest episode of Words (#63) a couple days later, when we both thought it would blow over. Check it out as inspired.
Cut to Thursday, when I was road-tripping to Colorado, and just pulling into the hot springs for a sunset soak, when I made the mistake of checking my email. It seemed that the “N-word” story had picked up steam, and was now being repeated by Karen’s boyfriend’s father, who is also in the class, and was claiming some sort of delayed trauma response that was being pinned to my use of the word “faggy”, which was also being rewritten as “the N-word”, because mind control isn’t just destructive, it’s delusional.
The email wasn’t from my teacher, rather it was from the school’s creative director, who informed me that while he was willing to throw me a bone, and assume that I wasn’t the homophobic hatemonger I was being branded as, that I was now on probation, and would only be allowed back in class if I sent an apology email to the entire student body, and promised to never use any of Karen’s personal trigger words ever again.
I’m sure you can imagine how well that landed.
The email wasn’t just infuriating, it was also synchronistic, as I had spent the morning editing the “Victim Languaging” chapter of my fothcoming book, The Language of Betterarchy, which included this very passage:
Microagressions, Language Policing and the Twenty-First Century Trigger Ban
Triggering each other’s trauma is a truly valuable service, as the process shines a light on the cracks in our consciousness, and the gaps in our psycho-emotional integrity which are inviting healing and integration. While this is not to suggest that we mistreat one another, or deliberately activate people’s unhealed hurts, it is to invite us to take responsibility for our triggers and emotional reactions, and to push back on the current culturally implied/imposed ban on triggering folks.
One of the hallmarks of the Victimhood is the New Black trend the language of betterarchy is uprooting and evolving is the tendency for folks to get (off on getting) supremely offended by things that are said, and by things that aren’t said, but that the offended think should be said, and to twist everything (or, as much as humanly possibly) into an affront, and a reason to be offended.
This fad not only has people strapped into victim goggles, ever and always on the hunt for oppression affirmations, but now it has big tech, big government and the minions representing for their interests lobbying for censorship, and rigorous limitations on what we can and cannot say, lest folks we’ve never met, and with whom we have no beefs, claim to be triggered. No longer does the onus lie on us to take responsibility for our own emotional states, rather the responsibility lies on everyone else to pre-emptively mind and hold their tongues, just in case our feelings get hurt, and we decide to cancel/tattle on them.
The issue is many-fold, and multi-layered, perched atop a massive distortion of will, and an alarming inversion of responsibility. Alas, the tendril that feels most pertinent here is that the trend seeks to prohibit triggering and being triggered, which is akin to outlawing growth and evolution.
When we treat each other like emotionally-stunted squirrels who can’t handle truth, jokes, irony, rejection, shadows, or negative emotions, we are doing hierarchy’s bidding for it – ensuring that we all remain stunted and small by denying one another the opportunity to strengthen our emotional intelligence muscles, and rise to the occasion(s).
It is precisely the triggering of unhealed wounds that allows us to heal said wounds, because it is their triggering that draws our attention towards them, and illuminates what is calling for love, acknowledgment, compassion and integration. Duly alerted, we can embark upon the necessary inner work to reclaim these fragmented aspects of ourselves, while cultivating tools and techniques which will support us in remaining poised, calm and centered in the face of them.
Hierarchy is dependent upon our emotional infancy to function, relying on a populace that is easily triggered, and quick to shame, blame, freak-out and melt down such that we are too distracted with our division and our drama to notice how depraved and dysfunctional the system really is. Duly distracted, disempowered and unhinged, we are all the easier to control, coerce and enslave.
Grit, character, and inner resolve must be cultivated. This is not to advocate for insults, bullying or any kind of deliberate mistreatment, rather it is to remind us that emotional intelligence is a muscle that must be flexed to grow bigger and stronger. When we deny one another the opportunity to exercise these muscles, and go the distance by outlawing the kinds of weights and practices that would allow us to strengthen them, we are doing ourselves, as a unified human family, a grave disservice.
I mean, if I hadn’t already known that God is a twisted fuck with a sick sense of humor, this confluence of events kinda, sorta clinched it.
I spent the next 20 hours pissed WAY off, feeling completely disrespected and demonized by the administration who hadn’t even bothered to initiate a dialogue with me – a returning student – about this ridiculousness. I watched my mind loop, and loop, and loop again on the injustice, the insanity, the indoctrination, and the “apology” I was composing in my head.
As my mind continued to loop on all the terrible things I could say, and all the karmic retribution it was wishing upon everyone involved, I kept pulling myself back to center, back to neutral – reminding myself that everything, everything is always, al(l)ways happening FOR me. I sat in the hot pool at sunrise with a hand over my heart, cataloguing the feelings threatening to overwhelm me: I felt sad. I felt hurt. I felt unseen. I felt misunderstood. I felt cast out. I felt ganged up upon. I felt excluded.
And then I asked myself if I’d felt these feelings before.
Duh, my inner self responded. Only about a zillion and one times, given that these are the standard issue negative emotions, beliefs and stories you’ve historically twisted yourself in knots about.
“There are no others,” I could hear Ramana Maharshi telling one of his students.
I saw the urge to personalize it. I saw the urge to victimize myself to ideological bullying. I saw the urge to buy into the story that was attempting to convince me that I was bad, wrong, unlovable, cast out, and a terrible, awful person.
Everything is happening FOR you, I always say to my coaching clients. Every perpetrator is a big, batch of medicine that YOU called into your life to help you heal, to help you know yourself whole.
A few soaks, a bunch of EFT tapping, and a heaping plate of French fries later, I snapped out of it. But, there was still the lingering matter of how I was going to respond.
“Just apologize,” my roadtrip buddy, and fellow improv classmate urged me. “It’s not worth losing improv class over.”
There was an aspect of me that saw his point, and that didn’t really care enough to add any drama on top of the already mountainous molehill they were making it. But, there was another part of me that said, Fuck that bullshit, combined with an overwhelmingly massive part that simply no longer felt safe doing improv in this environment.
A shaman I used to work with came to me in the dream time that night, and addressed the conflict I was navigating.
“You have to be true to yourself,” he said. And, while I was inspired to send this video as my class apology, I took the high road, and sent the creative director an email, explaining:
“I don’t kowtow to language policing, anywhere, but especially not in improv class. I’m really only interested in doing improv with self-responsible adults who aren’t going to enable or pander to indoctrinated hysteria, and who have tools to handle their own psycho-emotional well-being without attempting to impose their will upon others.”
[full text available upon email request]
On this end of it, as I parse out the pieces of the ideological bullying op, which I’ve now experienced multiple times, I am cataloging a number of fascinating/troubling pieces, including the following:
1. The op rests on a “Believe all victims” policy, wherein the authorities “handling” it are only willing to listen/talk to the victims, while doing anything to avoid conversations or explorations with those being accused of doing the triggering – the same ones they deride, vilify and disrespect.
Note that – at the moment of this writing – I have received emails from both the creative director, as well as the school president, both of whom are doubling down on their apology demands, while no one has spoken to me about it, directly.
2. Resolution must always involve public shaming in the guise of a coerced/canned apology.
There has been no real investigation into my motives, no real discovery engaged to vet my alleged bigotry, nor any curiosity as to my perspective. There have also been no attempts as moderation, or constructive dialogue. All the higher-ups require for me to continue on in the school I’ve been attending since 2019 is an apology – real, faked, scripted, whatever.
Alas, I don’t do fake apologies, nor do I take responsibility for other people’s triggers, trauma or mind control.
How ’bout you? What are you noticing about this particular op? Any other pieces sticking out for you? I’m genuinely curious to know your experience of woke bullying and language policing. How you’re standing up to it. Whether your actions are waking people up, and snapping them out of their mind control and their indoctrination. What are some of the other telltale signs you’re noticing?
I’m super sad that I will not be returning to improv class. But, I won’t sell myself down the river to gag out a fake apology; to appease an emotionally stunted, mind controlled child; to go through a series of performative optics to play nice for the administration who sold me out and clearly doesn’t value me as a student, community member or paying customer. But, mostly, I won’t disrespect myself by putting myself back in a lion’s den that feels so very, very unsafe and unwelcoming. I love myself way too much for that.
Fuck this op. I say what I want. My words are free.
P.S. If you would like to read my email response to the creative director, message me back, and I will happily send it your way. Perhaps it will serve as inspiration for your own pushback. Just say no to ideological bullying, Superstar. Humanity thanks you, as do I.