As 2015 comes to a close, it’s a good chance to have a yearly check in. There have been a lot of ups and downs in the past year. Ups include a “budding” comedy career, meaning I’m being more honest with what I’d like to do with my funny bone and downs include the loss of my go-go granny and other things I don’t care to share on the world wide web just quite yet (if ever). My downs totally keep me a mystery.
A wise friend once paraphrased the Wu Tang Clan and said, “mental health ain’t nuthin’ to fuck with.” It’s true. In the midst of all of these ups and downs, I have finally sought out therapy because I guess if I’m going to make a resolution for 2016 it’s simply to “get better.” Saying that, I have only had a consultation so this is way, way, way in the beginning steps. I have reached a point in life where I can either continue to sweep things under the rug or start to face them. As someone who is really good at repressing their feelings, facing these issues is no fun at all. No fun, I tell ya.
This past year has brought a lot of habits (both good and bad) to light. Sure, I knew I had these habits, but I have recognized more and more what’s helpful and what isn’t from saying shitty stuff about myself to every once in awhile giving myself a pat on the back. Saying this, it’s still easier for me to knock myself than give myself credit. At the consultation, I could go on and on about how I felt about myself negatively, but some of the hardest questions to answer were “what are your good qualities?” and “how do you award yourself?” In this whole faith of “getting better,” I couldn’t answer, “my hair” and “washing my hair with slightly better products than the cheapest stuff at Family Dollar.” I had to be honest. Honesty can bite my butt. Can I continue to repress honesty about feelings… and my butt?
Ever since I was a kid, I would always hear, “you’re too hard on yourself.” I give other people passes all of the time, why can’t I give myself a pass here or there? While going through a really dark storm, a good friend would stop me as I would say something shitty about myself and say, “Hey! Don’t talk about my friend like that.” As hard as it was to hear, this comment was a good slap on the wrist to not be such a dirtbag to myself.
Not crapping on myself is incredibly difficult as my humor is so incredibly self deprecating. It’s that whole philosophy of “they can’t laugh at you if you’re laughing at yourself first.” I love self-deprecating humor as I find it relatable and incredibly humorous; although performing it is sometimes cathartic, but also resonates a fear that when people laugh about it they believe it too. It’s a strange vicious circle of “hey, laugh at my joke, but don’t laugh too hard at my joke otherwise we’re both going to think I have a major FUPA problem.” Don’t know what a FUPA is? Read my first comedic press in a college newspaper that also features two of my really good pals here to find out as they spell out my joke letter by letter: https://badgerherald.com/artsetc/2015/10/19/madisons-only-lgbtq-comedy-show-alphabet-soup-replaces-cruel-punchlines-with-inclusive-comedy/
I’ll give myself a pat on the back for the comedic press as seeing that was pretty neat. My mom might think differently. Another pat on the back is how I managed not to completely choke on National TV on the Steve Harvey Show. He’s not cool at all, but if that ridiculous stint gets me a date with the real life Luke Perry, he might be a little bit cool. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Here’s the Steve Harvey clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVhcgFpec_Q
Over the years, I’ve become more compassionate as one thing to remember is you really don’t know what is going on with someone else. What seems fine is probably not. Heck, I don’t even belly laugh (nearly as often) when I see someone completely eat it. Compassion, it’s a thing. But what has really helped me this year has been the compassion of my friends. They’ve been there for me and have encouraged and supported my decision to go to another source to work out some of these demons. So in turn, I’m encouraging anyone who reads this to talk to people about what’s going on instead of holding it in. Not necessarily a therapist as that may not be your cup of tea, but let it out. Bottling it up doesn’t help anyone and will probably just end up in an ulcer or something worse. And as my go-go granny would say, “Better out, than in.” I’m pretty sure she was talking about farts, but boy is she right.
Guys, 2016 is the year to make that change and I’m going to start with the (wo)man in the mirror.