I hesitated writing anything new coming into 2018. Wanted to enjoy life first. I could have continued the trend of sharing 9 more comedians to look out for in the new year but reducing talent to a list is something I’m not interested in doing right now. At the time, I must admit, I was falling into a trap. The “me” trap. My writing intentions were solely to attract readership, not to inspire others. The sweet spot is when you can do both.
Do you remember those old cable show? “A Week in the Life of ___________” or “A Day in the Life of ___________”? Usually one-off specials. On A&E it would be an intense expose into an author’s discipline or a filmmaker’s routine. On MTV it would be a fluff piece on a washed-up rapper’s cool shoe collection.
Here’s a week in the life of me. This past week to be exact. Let’s go Thursday to Thursday. Butt to butt.
- I guested an episode of a new board game podcast and was caught in a three-way debate on The Need For Structure VS The Need For Fluidity in podcasting.
- I cancelled a meeting to go home and dance with my wife and son.
- I had my last appointment with my alcohol counsellor of five years. It was just like every other session and then it was over. We hugged for the first time and said our goodbyes.
- I was late for a work thing because my doors were frozen shut. I’ve been wrapping my door in a garbage bag ever since to curb the issue.
- My arm pits flared up and became the death of me. Even as I write this, I have my arms out like duck wings. I received over a hundred suggestions on Facebook on what to do so now I’m just trying one strategy after another until my pits can breathe again.
- I spoke on-air about Mental Health in Standup Comedy for #BlueMonday that ironically sunk me into a depression that lead me to a day of overeating, oversleeping and uncontrollable crying.
- I helped a man who had a seizure.
- I neurotically checked my phone keeping tabs on an internet fight that had nothing to with me.
- I danced with my family again.
- I met with a friend over a new project we’re both excited about.
- I had a heart to heart conversation with a father of four about his fears and concerns. It lead me to write a creative piece that I shared on Facebook.
I’ll share it here too.
…so surreal. Coming off the tail-end of an earnest conversation with a father of four. He wanted to give his kids the best he could by moving to a “lesser house”.
I don’t really think there’s such thing as a “lesser house”. A house is a pretty great thing to have. A smaller house, sure. But “lesser” felt like the wrong word.
His family is more tucked away in the country now, different school system, complete 180 from where they were going.
When I was listening to him talk, I kept thinking, “This is what a father sounds like.” He’s just an ordinary guy who sees the world moving faster than it ever has before and it scares him. He wants his children to have a childhood and experience life the way he experienced life. And as the days go by, there’s that sinking feeling that we’re losing something.
I’ve felt that pit in my stomach before too.
We are losing some things and we’re questioning if there’s any good in the things we gain. I don’t think we should mistake losing “somethings” to losing “everything”… but it sometimes feels that way.
The drive home was scary. All drives home are to me. I don’t like the roads, or the other drivers, and I have a hard time trusting myself return a library book, let alone drive a weaponized robot.
The snow was doing that cool glimmer thing under the streetlights where it looks like diamonds. I was cautious behind the wheel as drivers whirred past me.
They like to go fast.
I don’t like to go fast.
Three songs I absolutely LOVE played on the radio, all in a row. That rarely happens and it’s the best thing ever.
I get home. Lindsay’s watching a My Little Pony movie she borrowed from the library. Henry cries not long after. I go into the room to see my son and my eyes aren’t well-adjusted. The darkness is doing that weird quiver thing that happens when your eyes aren’t quite used to the light and not yet adapted to the dark.
I’m hearing this really beautiful music. It’s hypnotic and I love the melody. I think I’ve heard it before but I’m not sure. I think to myself, “Her DVD menu must be on a loop.” And I wonder why the DVD menu for a My Little Pony movie would be so solemn.
“Does Rainbow Dash die or something?”
That thought actually went through my head until Lindsay pointed out the phone directly behind my ear.
That made more sense.
And I’m just lying there in my boxers, still wearing my toque, thinking about those words “lesser house.”
I don’t know about that.
I do know the old TV on the corner dresser has those red letters AUX MUTED sticking out at me and everything just feels…
I waxed philosophical with friends and strangers alike, I had great moments and sad moments, I worked, I planned, I dreamed—I continued to look myself in the mirror and say, “Just don’t give up. Don’t do it dude. Just a little longer, hold on, you got this.”
Life is every reality at once. Yours, mine. The one that actually exists is just a carousel of perspectives and there’s uncertainty. Almost like grabbing at smoke. Sure, it’s there, but you don’t get to keep it. It’s not quite yours even though it’s a part of you in this moment.
I think about the internet. I see it as a good thing that’s a bad thing. Part of the reason I have such a difficult time creating online content is because I don’t know if I believe in this. I’m a comedian (and if we’re really getting to brass tacks, a pastor) at heart. I get my energy from people and try to expel my energy into them.
I want movie moments but I don’t want them from the movies.
I want to hear beautiful music but without instruments or sound. Just… presence.
So when I’m in career-mode and hustling at this or that, there’s that voice in the back of my head warning me about the dangers of giving too much of myself to cultures and trends I don’t fully believe in. I feel sad for Youtubers who sit in their bedrooms curating attention. I feel bad for mommy-bloggers who reduce the parenting experience to something purely presentational. I feel bad for Twitter comedians who feel the need to be non-stop joke machines.
We’re losing ourselves. A little bit. You can admit that can’t you?
People use the phrase “If you’re not solving the problem, you are the problem.” That’s pretty black and white. I think you can solve the problem while being a part of the problem. In fact, infecting from within is probably the best strategy to annihilating a virus.
What breaks my heart the most is watching my friends transform into goblins. I don’t want to use the word troll because it’s become a blanket term for shit-disturbers and that’s not what I’m addressing. I’m talking about people choosing to be their worst selves because there’s an audience presence and a buffer of distance between us.
Plus, being a goblin isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Like Hoggle from the movie Labyrinth. He was good at heart but didn’t always do the right thing. I like to think in the end all goblins will be like Hoggle and find themselves in the end. “Yes Sarah. If you ever need us…”
There was an online incident before Christmas where I was taken to task over sharing positive articles about comedy in a comedy group. My intentions were to simply brighten the group up a bit and keep the conversations about comedy and less about in-fighting.
I was taken to task by a comedian whose first sets I got to be the host of. There’s almost a romantic or parental feeling when you watch someone’s first time at the mic then get to see their growth going forward. I take a lot of pride in the comedians whose first acts I got to be there for. Because I witnessed their birth. I saw how it all began and now I get to see where it’s going. So my heart was broken that I wasn’t a consideration by someone I wanted to believe in.
And then another friend, someone closer to me, shared personal conversations to gain traction in a petty internet argument. That one hurt the most because it’s that moment you realize that you valued a relationship more than the other person. It’s the closest I’ve experienced to being ghosted or dumped because that’s an experience I’ve never gone through. I married my first girlfriend and we’re still together till this day.
This is truly the issue. The internet, social media, validation-addiction — it’s making it easy to disregard others. We have our own profiles and shape our own narratives. We make announcements and speak our opinions as ultimate truth. We have the ability to pursue our dreams harder than ever before, to open ourselves to new experiences, to soak in more knowledge than humanly possible — the simple stuff: friendship, time, the pursuit of wisdom — is being compromised.
I cried so hard that day. The day I watched my friends speak to me from the shadows.
A fellow comedian called me on the phone because he knows better than anyone what kind of thin-skinned, heart-on-the-sleeve comedian I am. And he assured me it’s okay to feel the way I feel and that I can’t fall into the same traps that I speak out against. About finding your validation in other people.
But it’s so hard.
How can you not say it’s so hard? We’re exposed to it 24 hours a day! It’s warping not only our relationships but our perceptions about ourselves.
So I have this to say. To anyone who has hurt me or anyone I have hurt.
Let’s find a way to love each other.
What on this beautifully complex earth do we have to lose?
We don’t need to constantly protect ourselves.
Not if we’re constantly protecting each other.
It’s a day in a life. Because one day, one day is all we’ll have left.
I would like to keep my blogs going forward as personal as possible because I’m trying to understand my own experiences and this is something I can look back and reflect on after I’m a little older and hopefully a little wiser. You never know what the Future You will have to say. I’m happy for you to join me for this ride. To interact and input your thoughts. I keep a hard rule now not to engage in internet debates and that the only way I’ll enter social confrontation is over a hot cup of coffee. I’m sure we’re all dealing with these things in different ways. But there’s bigger worries in life. Like my arm pits for example.