Took the Leap to Camp – By Josh Nicols (OC)
It can be hard to tell because I mask it well, but I am overwrought with social anxieties. The thought of meeting a hundred strangers, mingling with luminaries in the world of improv in a strange environment, secluded from everything I find comforting was overwhelming.
I only knew the guy I came with. I’m not sure he could tell the inner turmoil festering in me. As home got further, it got worse. As camp grew closer, so did doom. I was represting my entire community. The pressure was on. My anxiety causes me to over analyze every potential interaction to the point of paralysis sometimes.
We parked, I inhaled. What was ahead of me? What embarassing, life scarring mistakes was I bound to make? Would these strangers see me and reject me? I was ripe with irrational fears, what if I messed up and I wasn’t really registered? What if the camp wasn’t what I thought it was, a time share thing or a religious indoctrination camp? What if I wet the bed or was attacked by nature?
What did happen is I was welcomed warmly. Instantly. I did not know it then, but in the next hour I would meet lifelong friends and mentors which would take my life to another level. Instantly, I belonged. Nothing is more impactful to me than made to feel like I belong, that I am worthy. Camp gave that to me instantly.
I started taking risks. Soon, I was forgetting all of the fragile scaffolding that supports my anxieties. I was being me. Yes, I learned a lot about improv. Yes, I made connections. No I didn’t wet the bed. But more than all of this, it was an environment of trust, respect and love.
If you are still reading this, you should stop, right now and sign up for camp.