I’ve always felt that whatever age I’m at; it’s never the right one. When I was 25, I thought I was old. When I was 35, I thought I was… well, old. Now that I’m [gulp] 46, I feel ancient. Or do I? Physically, I feel great. Socially, I can still keep up with the twentysomethings (even though some nights, I’d rather just read a good book). Emotionally, I have the life experience of a “grown-up” with the youthful spirit of someone much younger. On paper, it seems like a great balance.
So what is this hang-up about age that has plagued me for most of my life? I feel like I’m continually in a race, playing catch-up to where I think everyone else is and where I think I’m supposed to be. But by doing that. I’m always looking forward (or backward) and missing out on where I am RIGHT NOW. Why can’t I appreciate that TODAY is the youngest I’ll ever be for the rest of my life? Am I stuck in my head?
“Get Outta Your Head” – it’s the slogan that adorns the Matthew Corozine Studio website. During my years studying acting with Matt, getting out of my head was one of the cornerstones of Matt’s teachings. “Get out of your way” was another one. Every moment in his class was about the here and now and being in the present moment. That’s what acting is. It’s also what getting “outta your head” means.
But let me tell you—it’s harder and scarier than it sounds. Being present means really listening to someone (instead of thinking about the laundry you need to do when you get home from class); it also means responding to someone in an honest, truthful way (as opposed to lying to them and telling them what you think they want to hear). Class trains you to trust your instincts and express yourself accordingly. Easier said than done. Out of the classroom, we are trained to be uber politically correct. As a result, our feelings and instincts can get buried so deep that we need to consult Google Maps to locate them. Or, if you’re one of the lucky ones, you can end up in Matt’s class and he can give you a map, personally devised for y-o-u! There will be some interesting twists and turns, however, as your mind puts up roadblocks and refuses to follow the path laid out for you. But that’s okay, because it’s all a part of the amazing journey you’ve signed up for, and ultimately you will be led to where you’re supposed to be (whether your mind likes it or not). Kind of reminds me of my battle with my age… I’m getting older whether I like it or not. Why not enjoy the journey and let it take me to where I’m supposed to be?
In class, where you’re supposed to be is the land where instincts and feelings roam free. And in this land… anything goes. You might go from yelling to crying to laughing in a matter of seconds. You say things you wish you could say in “real life” but can’t. (Remember the politically correct thing?) Class is a playground, and just like children, we are learning to explore each other and the world around us. But you can find yourself in unfamiliar territory at times, and feel like a kid who’s afraid of the dark. I remember the first time a student told me “I care about you” or “You touched my heart,” during a repetition exercise. I wanted to vomit. This person didn’t even know me… how could they care about me? How could I touch their heart? It wasn’t logical… it made no sense. But as I’ve learned, that was my “head” talking—the same head that tells me I’m ancient.
Acting is not a replacement for therapy, but it certainly can be therapeutic. It taught me how to go off of what I was hearing instead of what someone was saying. It taught me about trusting how I feel instead of what I think. The head can lie to us, but our guts always know the truth. The more you can listen to your gut, the more you are grounded in what is going on right now. And when it comes down to it, right now is all there really is, because yesterday is over and no one knows what tomorrow will bring.
So perhaps class is where I can find some answers to my age obsession. Could it be time to revisit the Matthew Corozine Studio? Perhaps there I can reconnect to the present moment and learn how to appreciate the journey that’s going on right now. After all, right now is exactly where I need to be. The destination is obviously going to take care of itself…