Today's guest blogger is Aeriel. 

I started crying before I started typing which seems like a pretty typical reaction of me. I don’t think I used to embrace crying as much as I do now, but here I am -- crying and glad I am. I feel so invigorated, thrilled, uplifted even to be a part of such a wonderful team and community in which support is a main foundation. Finding improv, more specifically, finding Blacktop Comedy theater has been an absolutely transformative experience for my life, well-being, and ultimately -- my soul.

Where to begin -- as I realize my blogging experience is more of a confession, here we go. I moved across the country, seemingly on a whim and began a new gray and drab job at ye olde government office. I will peep the bright and bubbly fellow Gordon Sharp for recognizing the light in me at the time and encouraging me to come to shows at Blacktop Comedy. Whether it be his shameless self-promoting that played a factor, or honestly the divine timing of the universe, I attended a couple of shows, short form then referred to as Shorties, and the box office hit - Teen Slasher -- I was hooked. I got my roommate and friends involved, I loved this place! I was so amazed! I had volunteered for a couple of the short form shows when it called for it, and I loved shouting out my suggestions (still do!), but I never had the thought, that could be me up there! I think I owe a lot to my good pal, Gordon, for HEAVILY encouraging the level one intro to improv class until one fateful summer, I took it.

I had been going to shows for a couple months and after a recent breakup and a BRAND new change in scenery, I was in my mind, ready to let go and do something for ME. I also give so many props to watching the amazing Blacktop performers for inspiring, and even more specifically -- the hosts I saw, Betsaida Lebron and Paul Burke, ALL of which I have grown to get to know and love as my own family. <3 Anyways, taking the class quite literally changed my life. (crying again per usual :P ) Are emoticons chill in a blog post? Haha.

I finished the course with excitement and still a lot of nervousness, but grateful that I did something for ME! I still see some of my fellow graduates in the weekly playgrounds - you know who you are! After the course graduation, I continued to volunteer with Blacktop and ultimately tried out to be a part of the team. I had no theater experience prior and honestly not a whole lot of confidence in myself at that point, but I did it anyways. I was ecstatic to hear that Blacktop wanted me to be a part of their performer cast after auditions. I didn’t know what it meant for my life at the moment, I just knew it was a place I wanted to be.

BOY WAS I RIGHT. Haha. In all seriousness though -- as serious as a blog post can get, it quite literally change the trajectory of my life, or better yet, was destined to be the trajectory of my life.

The summer of 2014, only two years ago, I know -- because I tweet everything, was the start of a new life. Now, I’m not saying since finding improv, more specifically Blacktop Comedy (‘cause there is a difference), made my life peaches and cream; No, I’m saying my sense of self and how I react to LIFE (this almost unmistakable force I once felt victim to) is completely different.

Often people hear the rules/guidelines of Improv and think it sounds like a cult… and yeah, they’re not entirely wrong! If it’s a cult, I’m drinking the kool-aid, making the kool-aid and endorsing the fXXX out of it! I live this Kool-aid. (product placement) OH YEAH!

It’s not something I was able to integrate ENTIRELY into my life right away, but the longer I have lived, the more I have been able to understand life by “rules” of improv. Rules is a stupid word because no one likes rules, how about supportive guidelines?

These supportive guidelines, “yes and”, “support others”, “take care of yourself”, “be in the moment”, sound so broad and out of context, but they can truthfully be placed into any situation you may be faced with in life. I think with all of that in mind, the best lesson I have learned -- trust yourself. I think the ultimate lesson for me was, confidence. Trusting myself, helped others trust and support me, and to create a beautiful scene! Whether it be an improv scene of jumping on a jet ski with my true love or another scene of playing violin for a concert of one OR better yet, LIFE IN REAL LIFE ITSELF -- taking risks and trusting that I (CAPITAL I) will be okay, was the most valuable lesson I could EVER learn.

I will be okay, you will be okay, we will all be okay. What a comforting thought. Even when it feels like we won’t, or we judge/question what is OKAY or what is not, knowing, someone out there is ready to support us, is so beautiful. Ultimately, it all ties back to everything! Full circle --  another recurring theme of improv in general! The universe will support you when you are in the right intentions (right intentions may be subjective, but I think as humans we can gather what that means for us individually.) Whether it be the wonderful, talented, beautiful improvisers of Blacktop Comedy, or wherever -- know that the Universe has your best interest in mind and that you will be supported.

That magnanimous (I didn’t even have to use a thesaurus for that feeling) support that I get from my Blacktop improv Community is something I wish everyone could find for themselves and I KNOW it’s out there. I know I said the best lesson was finding my confidence/sense of self, but with that comes finding your joy. Whatever that means for you, performing on stage, creating with friends, hanging out with kittens, whatever that means - is where you are supposed to be. Joy and love is not something to “capture” or “strive for” (in my opinion), but rather a state of BEING. Be love. Be joy. Be the person, the human person, that is capable of these transformative and influential states of being that reverberates to others.

I hope that my journey in finding my joy is helpful to others in finding theirs as well. I think that’s the ultimate sense of self, JOY (LOVE). We all deserve this greatness and can share with others. I thank sincerely the people of Blacktop and Paul and Betsaida, for bringing me such a beautiful realization and it is only my hope that I can pass this on to others on their own personal journey. I love you all, I don’t know you all, but I know I love you. (crying again, out of love) ~~ <3