It’s a Friday night at The Miller Pub, a frequent venue for improv performers. Downstairs the bar is packed with students, men in suits, improv lovers – you name it. Upstairs there are five women huddled into a small closet, waiting for their audience to arrive. They form a squashed circle.
“Are you ready?” one asks, gearing everyone for the sacred act of warming up. They nod…
“IF I WASN’T ME, I’D WANT TO BE ME!” they cry, doing a blazen crotch thrust.
To anyone on the outside of that closet door, it might sound the mad call of a wild narcissist. To anyone on the inside of that closet… well, it would probably look the same. Except with an added hint of sexual perversion, thanks to the crotch thrusting.
First of all, yes I was and am one of those women thrusting in the closet. Not only that, I invent this little warm-up. Well, kind of… I actually appropriated it from, what can only be described as, a dickhead.
Months ago I was watching a documentary on the super-rich (which, FYI made me want to rip off my clothes and run down the street yelling ‘SOCIALISM!’). One part of this show caught my eye when the cameras were taken to a lecture held by a very smug landlord. This guy owned over 50 properties and was currently renting them out and making a fortune. Any affordable housing that popped up, he made sure he was the one to get it. The presenter of the documentary asked this guy whether or not he thought there was a housing crisis. Smug landlord said that there was. Then the presenter asked if people like smug landlord were causing it and he sort of made a weird noise and said that ‘no, of course not’. So on the whole, this guy was a true out and out wanker.
However, during his little lecture to a room full of slack-jawed-wanna-be-landlording-minions he revealed to the room where he gets his…jenesequa from. Yep, you guessed it. It’s from the crotch thrusting chant. This guy, without irony, stands in the mirror every day and tells himself ‘if I wasn’t me, I’d want to be me!’
As I watched him perform this strange mantra, I found myself giggling at the absurdity of it (and not just because it was absolutely hilarious). Here was a man who can very easily be described as a total shit, yet he has found way to make sure he gives himself a daily dose of love. In my own life, I know so many people who are the opposite of total shit (they are wonderful, in fact) who seem to go out of their way to avoid offering themselves a little self-admiration. I mean… what up with that?!
I get that being humble is a very British thing. That we all like to hide behind our hands when a compliment comes our way and try to deflect any praise away with an invisible Star Wars like force field (“Haha my work? Good? Haha maybe… BUT LOOK AT SARAH’S!”). But I have come to the conclusion that we could all stand to benefit from a dose of pure, unadulterated, self-love (and I don’t mean that in a wanking sense).
I don’t mean that we all have to be swanning about, dick in our hands, and high-fiving our reflections all the time. But I do believe that we all need to have that brief moment where by we take time to appreciate how great (and believe me, there will be something great within you, there always is) it is to be ourselves.
If you come across a troll on the internet, someone who does their best to make you feel shit, you block them. Likewise, if someone is a knob to you in real life, you can choose not to invite them to your birthday party. Or you can burn them. But if the person who is being mean to you is yourself, then it becomes a great deal harder to escape them. So perhaps by offering ourselves some adoration, we can avoid trying to set ourselves on fire and endeavour to just have a little more faith in ourselves.
Much like the amazing Yayoi Kusama.