If you let go of nothing else, let this be the one.

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I performed in a comedy contest two years ago. One judge told me to never perform comedy again after my first night. I had two more sets to do after that. Honestly all he did was piss me off — I may or may not have semi-intentionally torched that bridge while I was still standing on it. I may receive the grace at some point to make that right and I may not. I don’t know yet.

A second judge watched all three sets and then called bullshit on 90% of my jokes.

“If who you are communicating on stage is who you really think you are, then someone lied to you. Go find out who you really are, she’s the woman I want to see in your comedy next year.”

I then went home and promptly broke my ankle, had two major surgeries on my leg and was left without my go to for approval places, giving me 14 months to think about what both comics told me.

Neither judge was wrong.

I let fear rule my choices in jokes.

I wanted everyone to like me.

That was my first “big” comedy deal and I played it safe and I played it weak. I played “cute” to win people over.

It’s no wonder they didn’t like me, I didn’t even like the woman I pretended to be on stage.

I spent 14 months taking more than my comedy set back to the studs, I took myself there and I ended 2014 with a lot of letting go.

My trash pile includes:

Friends on Facebook who were only there because I thought I had something to prove — They were there as a see, you should have believed in me – look at me now kind of thing. Some were people I used to know but am no longer friends with and others weren’t even people I actually like in real life.

Names I’ve been called, things I’ve been told. Words like “lazy”, “Slut”, “Bitch”, “unwanted”, “stupid”, “bossy”, “Controlling”, “Bastard”.

Filling that wound with applause and achievements.

My need to control people by being cute or overly submissive.

Mind reading. I suck at it anyway.

Places and friends that are not safe.

Tilting at windmills — wasting energy and trying to change what cannot be changed. Controlling others.

Purposefully giving people a reason not to like me if I think they already don’t. Burning bridges while standing on them.

The desire to be known being over run by the fear of being found out. — that’s a big one and I’ll write more about that as the year unfolds.

Now you’d think after 30 years in a recovery program, I’d have all of this down cold. Notsomuch. One of the worst tag lines that’s going to take work for me is being told,

“I can’t wait for the day when I can prove to the world what a bitch you really are.”

That sentence alone has been the root of so many choices. That’s the sentence that I’ve allowed to define my actions and word choices for so many years. It also defined my sets and choice of jokes.

That’s the fear both comics saw manifest itself in that small theater in Indiana.

I learned a lot at The Cove. I learned that I’m not a bitch and that seasons pass just fine without my interference. I’m not any of those other labels either.

I’ve learned that I can know that for myself without having to inappropriately lean on those who already knew that for me.

So, I call a do over not only in my approach to comedy, but my approach to relationships as well and 2015 is just the year to do that.

Happy New Years you guys.

Much love,

Deana

Where there is anger, there can be great comedy, but first you need to face the pain.

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I’ve come to the conclusion that life will make a woman out of me yet, just not today.

Today my inner-child is engaged in the dialog. She likes to show up from time to time when she wants to teach me something. Now that I am in comedy, she and I have become quite close.

At the advice of some close comic friends, I’ve started mining the fertile soil of my past and my inner psyche for material. The only way I can safely travel through those ancient fields is if I take her along. I need to see through both the detached eyes of an adult as well as hers. She keeps me honest and she keeps me from putting myself down on stage.

For instance, I once wrote a joke about being “the fat chick with self-esteem issues” and that one never made the stage. She didn’t like it at all. And she’s back, this time as my genus as we walk through some hard topics like  affairs, abuse, alcoholism, marriage, and self-esteem.

Sometimes I go through dark hallways when I write, even if I’m writing comedy. I find recesses in my own spirit that are wilted and it takes a bit of a journey before I get the water and light needed to bring balance back.

Sometimes I don’t realize I’m in a tunnel until I start getting emails and questions about my Facebook sharing. My humor get’s dark in tunnels. Without thinking I have (in a week’s time) changed my cover pic to I’m with Stupid (A brain pointing to a heart) and shared memes that are along the lines of “don’t cheat, leave if it’s that bad” and “do I smother them or make pancakes?” and people are starting to ask if my husband and I are okay — oops..

My husband and are FINE, thank you for asking. I’m just focusing on a hard chapter and I’m still unsure on the direction to take. I am presently working on a comedy set about cheating and low, the topic of the week at least in my internet “world” is cheating as well. Or maybe I’m just noticing it because of where my focus is these days. It seems like so many people are talking about it. Some are doing it. Other’s are posting meme’s against it. Other’s are getting divorced because of it and I feel like a voyeur most days.

A few weeks ago I heard a radio show justifying cheating, and this week I discovered that MTV has a man show that teaches guys how to cheat without getting caught. I can’t tell if it’s meant to be a comedy show or just pure crap. Or maybe it’s both, who knows.  My skull finally exploded this week and it’s taken me a while to figure out why I’m so angry.

“What anger’s us in another person is more often than not, an unhealed aspect in ourselves. If we had already resolved that particular issue, we would not be irritated by it’s reflection back at us.” — Simon Fuller

Like it or not, there are victims in this equation. I know what cheating does to people. I’ve spent a lifetime cleaning up that wreckage and there’s some healing left to do. I have kinda strange boundary issues because of it as well. I can find the funny, if I allow myself the healing I need. No healing, no funny. That’s just how it works.

I don’t know of many things that can confuse a person more than growing up with a revolving door of parental partners. I’ve honestly lost count at the number of men and women who entered and left my life. It started long before my parent’s divorce and never really ended until recently.

Potential partners trying to win me over in order to win over the parent they want to have sex with is confusing as well as frustrating to a child. I always saw right through it and I learned how to play the game. I figured out pretty quickly that men  and women alike were willing to drop big bucks on me if needed. I hate to admit this, but I’ve racked up trips to California, Disney World, Detroit Tiger’s ball games, designer clothes, college books, shoes, and many other things. I knew what they were doing, and I played along to my profit as well as their gain.

Of course, I always had questions.

Will I get a new Dad?

Is this my new Mom?

How attached do I get?

How long are they here for?

Will they stay?

None of them ever stayed and so it’s just a matter of time before the questions became “When will they leave?” and “Is it my fault they are gone?” No wonder I have trust issues.

Mining comedy doesn’t always start in shallow waters. Good comedy goes beyond knock knock jokes and puns and searches for that diamond in the rough — that redeemable moment of vulnerability and truth. Depths and layers are explored. It’s a painful process at times. Writing comedy allows me to explore the layers of my life and of society, allowing me to be vulnerable and not only face myself and my past, but to embrace the future as well.

Good comedy has an obligation to take you past the comfortable and expand your mind, but first it sometimes breaks a writer’s heart. All in a day’s work.

Manic Monday: Making Courageous Choices

“I’m not a control freak, I just want everyone to be happy. Oh, and like me. Yes, I definitely want people to like me.  Why? Because that’s the only way I can like myself.” — me

Oh yah, no control issues here. Eye rolling is allowed.

I may “waller in defeat” from time to time, as my friend Tonya would say, but I don’t stay there.

Nobody, I don’t care who they are, or how famous and together we might think they are, leads a charmed life.

Everyone has problems.

Everyone has choices.

That’s why I like the Full Circle link so much. Here’s a guy, who hit rock bottom 19 years ago doing a benefit ride for the very place he got sober. I think that’s cool. I think that takes courage.

What does courage look like to you?

  • Is it public speaking?
  • Skydiving?
  • Saying no when you really need to even if it means disappointing someone?
  • Or is it risking feeling selfish and realizing that the greatest gift we can give this world is to be the best us we can be?

One of my favorite devotional pages says :

March 26 in The Little Blue Book ONE DAY at a TIME in AL-ANON:

Why is it so hard to admit we are powerless over alcohol, as the First Step suggests we do? All of us have heard and shared in discussions at Al-Anon meetings as to whether this should be interpreted as “alcohol” or the “alcoholic.” We have no power over either one. No one can control the insidious effect of alcohol or its power to destroy the graces and decencies of life. No one can control the alcoholic’s compulsion to drink. But we do have a power, derived from God, and that is the power to change our own lives. Acceptance does not mean submission to a degrading situation. It means accepting the fact of a situation and then deciding what we will do about it.

TODAY’S REMINDER

Progress begins when we stop trying to control the uncontrollable and when we go on to correct what we have the right to change. If we accept a situation full of misery and uncertainty, it is no one’s fault but our own. We can do something about it!

“Fighting futility is just a waste of energy, Samantha. Either do something or quit fretting.” – Celebra Tueli

While this particular page refers to alcoholism and alcoholics it can be about so much more. It hurts watching people we love destroy their lives. What causes even greater pain is putting our lives on hold while we wait for everyone else to get it together.

It has taken me a long time to really believe that I am powerless over people, places, and things, meaning I cannot control people or make their choices for them. I cannot control how people see me, or whether or not they like me. Nor can I control the weather, or disease/disabilities. Shoot, I struggle with controlling myself, thinking I can control others is pure ego.

All I have is the power to make the best choices for me.

That’s really where courage begins. Finding the power to make the best choices for ourselves regardless of the choices our loved ones make. This includes our spouses, siblings, friends, and dare I say it adult children.

I’m a firm believer that the power to change can only come from believing in a God that’s bigger than me. For some of us, finding that God takes courage.

My wish today for you and for myself is that we stop right where we are at and know beyond knowing that we can make better choices today than the ones we made yesterday — and then go do it. 

Maybe for some of us, that choice is simply the acceptance of knowing the we are loved beyond measure  no matter what and acting on that belief.

What choices are you making today?