Martin DeMaat was an improv teacher at Columbia College and the Artistic Director at Second City Chicago. I took every improv class I could with Marty because he was such an amazing and inspiring person. He genuinely cared and his approach to improv was to create as safe a place as possible for the performer. It was a true joy to be instructed by him and his passion for the art form was contagious.
I wrote down in my notebook at the start of my second class with Marty a few things that I noticed he had said at the start of the previous class I took with him as well. Marty said many memorable things, but a couple of things he said have stuck with me to this day.
“You do not have the right to feel inadequate.”
“You are pure potential.”
Every day I look at my kids, I think of these quotes as kind of a daily affirmation. They were meant as tools to free up the mind when performing, but they really are so much more.
Marty passed away in 2001 so I never got the opportunity to tell him in how many ways those words have impacted and continue to impact my view on life, but I can do what I think he would have enjoyed more… I can pass them on to others. So when a friend is down, stressed about work, feeling overwhelmed by the challenges of a tough world; I share the words of Martin DeMaat.
So as you tuck your autistic little ones in tonight, especially if it has been a challenging day, please look to their potential. It is boundless. Know that the challenges you faced today will change. Some will go away, some will evolve and new ones will manifest themselves. Still, our children are capable of amazing things. There is no potential more pure than an autistic child.
If you are an autistic young adult and you are having a tough time fitting in or you are being bullied by peers, know that you are just fine being who you are. Do not allow yourself the feeling of inadequacy. Do not let that feeling to take hold because it is a virus and it will spread. Know that you are loved. Be the best YOU that you can be and to hell with those that cannot see your beauty. Your life has value and your uniqueness helps to paint the tapestry of life. Things will get better.
Thanks for the wise words Marty. I continue to reap the rewards of our time together. So does my family.
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