Nicki, The Roller Coaster & Opposite-Land

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It was never supposed to be this way.  It wasn’t supposed to get to this point, to have a legitimate following, all the failures, the spirit crushing sets not to mention the equally spirit crushing conversations, the threats, the bullying, being looked down upon for having a comedy coach…..but it did.  It just magnified the lonely nights, the sense of isolation I felt, the heartbreak, the emptiness, the anger and frustration.  I wasn’t supposed to find a comedy coach.  I wasn’t supposed to get invited to Los Angeles to perform at The Comedy Store.  I wasn’t supposed to be planning my future with an unbelievable woman either.

Yet here we are, a long ways from October 4, 2011 at Beilys doing my first ever set in front of a lot of my friends.  Veronica is pretty much spot on with her assessment of things.  She did an amazing job cutting to the heart of the matter to expose what’s really on the inside of Trevor.  She also provided the proper perspective on my failed relationship, but I will address that in a bit.

I really didn’t think too far ahead when I first started, trying to envision what this could look like down the road.  I just thought it would be fun.  Hell, if somebody told me that stand-up comedy was going to be lonely, hard work and full of heartache in addition to having your self-esteem, confidence and self-worth absolutely fucking crushed to pieces more than once, I may have said it’s not worth it.  But that’s exactly what I signed up for, because every positive thought, what esteem and confidence I did have, had been crushed to absolute shit several times over in this this journey.  Then, to complicate matters further, those times when I was crushed to tiny little pieces I either took it out on those around me or retreated like a wounded puppy, hiding in the nearest corner away from everyone.

I have come to learn that comedy is a lot like a relationship.  When it’s good and everything clicks, it’s an amazing experience. It’s a high that you feel right down to your bones that you never want to end.  But when it’s going bad and everything is turning to shit, it can be brutally unforgiving.  I’ve seen guys run off the stage in tears shitting the bed at an open mic. I’ve seen a couple of females try at open mics only to be ripped to shreds after their set was done.  They never came back.

I once had friends of mine sit with me at a show when I first started, only to laugh with the host as he ripped me to shreds for the rest of the show after my set.  Imagine that, where these people who are there to support you, at your table, are laughing really hard at the host as you get thrown under the bus. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to call these people out, because that’s in the past.  But I remember who was sitting at my table that night and how I felt.  One new comic turned to look at my reaction as the entire room is laughing at me.  No word of a lie, I sat there, quietly, not saying a word.  I mumbled under my breath that one day the tables would be turned and I would make the host eat their words.  It still angers me, not that the host was like that, but that my friends sat there and laughed like they did.  I still think back to that moment once in a while and remember what a failure I looked like to everyone.

At that moment I knew two things for certain.  I knew that I was in it for the long haul to overcome that embarrassment.  I also knew the type of woman that I needed in my life if I was to have a relationship while doing comedy.  I needed a woman that would have the same moxy as I did, to stand up to the critics yet having the fortitude to keep moving forward despite the failures.  Little did I know I’d succeed on both counts a lot sooner than I expected to.

That’s what I thought.  Did I ever believe I really could turn it around to the degree that I had, with nobody in my corner (relationship wise) at that moment?  Nope.  Not even close.  

A couple things happen when I have a bad show, which while they still occur, at least it’s not every time out, and my reaction to them is getting better.  But this is what happens.  Two things.  First was what I called the walk of shame.  Once you suck on stage, it’s where you leave a show with your head down, hoping nobody actually recognizes you as one of the comics. Then it’s the walk back to the vehicle.  You feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, and worst part is nobody is usually there to walk you out either.

The second thing that happens is because I live by myself, that means when I get home, I just sit and stare at these four walls, wondering what I did wrong and how it could have been better.  When you have a set that’s not good, and that happens on a consistent basis, after a while it begins to poison your attitude and your outlook on things.

It should be said that I only feel these deep, intense emotions because I always believed I could do this. Once the struggle kicked in almost every time I was on stage, the shit and abuse I took only intensified, that in turn fueled my desire to succeed and to at best be considered an equal amongst the guys.  I wasn’t an easy person to deal with at times during this period, I’ll be the first to admit that.  But I always tried to stay true to myself first and foremost. I think I did that for the most part.  I know that my posts get read, the only problem is that nobody ever says very much about what I write, at least to me they don’t.  I hardly get any comments anymore sent my way to the blog.  I know people talk, I just don’t know exactly what they say.  It’s not like I want to start going up to people and asking them point blank because I don’t want to appear to be egotistical.  It also doesn’t help when some of the comments that are rude or without merit come from fake email addresses.  That’s classy.  I’m not one who thinks they are above others, nor am I one to throw people under the bus on social media, as has been done to me.

But I kept going and oddly enough happened to find a guy who runs a comedy school in Los Angeles that used to write for The Tonight Show.  When he first started with me, people emailed him and mentioned I was wasting my money.  People told me that too.  But they haven’t sat in on a session with him before.  They don’t understand that at the end of the day, my material sucked because it had no structure.  Without structure the audience will not follow your joke because they will tune you out if the setup is too long, or if they have to connect way too many dots during the setup.

It took over 1.5 years before I finally understood how to write for my own voice, to feel confident enough in what I wrote to take it to the stage rather than feel uneasy about doing material I didn’t run by him first.  My setups are shorter, more to the point and the audience is able to follow along easier.  They can tell where the setup is, and they can tell where the punchline comes in making it easier to follow along and enjoy.

Now, I feel as if I should address the love that I lost.  This may be the last time I write specifically about our relationship, so I want to make sure that I leave no stone unturned.

I wasn’t supposed to fall in love.  I wasn’t supposed to find the perfect woman who fell in love with me, deeply.  It wasn’t supposed to turn my world upside down.  But it did.  It wasn’t supposed to turn me into something I wasn’t before.  But it had, and it wasn’t good.  Then at the moment I wanted to truly embrace her and what I was supposed to be, over 1.5 years later, I couldn’t.  I wasn’t supposed to find someone who believed in me that much, let alone someone who wanted to have my baby in addition to being my wife.

I wasn’t supposed to find a woman that I firmly believed God planted in my life, who offered to help me write and to be a sounding board for my material when I told her that I wanted to give up because it was getting too hard.  There were too many failures, too frustrating, too embarrassing.  I wasn’t supposed to find a woman that was so completely out of my league.  I honestly feel like I don’t deserve someone like her, despite her flaws, weaknesses, and strengths when she is at her best.

I believe she knows this, but sometimes things happen, and you get feelings that come from a place you can’t describe because you’ve never had feelings be that intense before, feelings that real that just felt so comfortable and so right.  No confusion.  No second guessing.  You just take that moment to search your heart, not your head.  Your heart.  When you get to that point, your heart eventually overrides what your brain tells you, and thus begins the fall.

I would love to tell all of you why us comedians engage in self-destructive behaviour, hurting the ones we love the most, then taking that hurt and using it on stage.  It might make some wonder if we purposely screw up on purpose just to experience that physical pain to create new material.

The truth is every comic is a bit different with how soon they will open up about relationship breakups or personal loss.  With Nicki, I already had a few pages of material written several months back that was in a rough draft stage that hadn’t been used on stage more than once.

I had to do material about her for a few reasons.  First, I did new Nicki material because some thought I made myself out to be better than her when I tell my jokes.  That is not the case, and it’s never been the case.  I wanted to try and pay tribute to her in a sense, to highlight the obvious fact that I have troubles in relationships.  I tried my best to put her in the best possible light that I could, and I believe for the most part I achieved that.  Almost every joke that I did was self-deprecating, meaning Nicki was superior to me, thus releasing the laugh triggers of superiority, embarrassment and release.

When we got back together in October, I wanted more than anything for her to come to a show.  But the legal issue I had in addition to all I did to try again with Nicki really wore me out.  I made the decision to take December off to focus on rebuilding things with her instead of doing comedy.  That’s a decision I don’t regret.

But she never made it to a show in January when I started up comedy again.  I was ready to let her in fully into the comedy world, as I ended up learning the hard way that even if the ins and outs of comedy aren’t her thing, she still was willing to help me however was needed, because she told me not to give up.  For one of the very few times in my comedy journey, I had doubts.  Serious doubts.  The consistency I needed wasn’t there.  I told her the consecutive nights where nobody laughs were wearing on me and I wanted to quit.

Nicki talked me out of it.  She said she would learn what my comedy coach was teaching me so she could help me write better.  She’d be a sounding board for new material.  I told her that I didn’t think I could do comedy without her because she’s special enough to me that there was nobody else I wanted to share my wins with, regardless of how few those were.

So I did my set at The Laugh Shop at the Ramada a few weeks back, with no Nicki to be found.  Every woman that walked by I envisioned Nicki, I could picture what she would be wearing, how her hair would look and the way she would walk.  It was really difficult to do that set knowing she wasn’t there.  But it made things a tiny bit easier to swallow because the audience laughed consistently through my set.

I’ve started to get noticeably better since she left me.  I don’t say that to be an asshole either.  How do I explain this?  Once she left, I had to take my hurt and heartbreak and put it to a healthy use somehow. So I decided to write and practice my material to make sure it was smooth and polished.  I had a ten minute set that I did pretty much every time I was on stage for three straight weeks.  Then I was able to come up with my most recent video that was one of my best sets ever.

Now, I will do something that some of you will probably consider really dumb or ill-advised at the very least.  I am going to go against what I started this blog for in the first place, albeit for a brief moment.  Instead of talking about Nicki, I am going to write to Nicki.  The rest of you can stop reading at this point, although I doubt that will happen.

When I first came up with the idea of The Stand-Up Diaries it was for comedy.  I never intended to be in a position whereby I would manipulate the content away from comedy to suit my own personal needs.  Not only is that something I feel has to be done, at the same time it’s extremely invasive and will probably have more people whispering behind my back asking if I’m legally sane.  But this is the chance I have to take.  So here goes…..

Nicki, I don’t know if you read the emails that I send you on occasion, so I figured this might be the only way to really reach you.  I would like you to sit down in a quiet place and just read what I need to tell you.

Veronica was right.  I “can’t do life” without you around.  These last five-plus weeks have not been easy.  I think about you every day.  I still see you walking into my workplace hearing the clacking of your boots as they hit the floor, with that sweet, goofy grin on your face that said you were happy to see me.  When we got back in October, the main concern you had was a lack of closeness, of intimacy.  I made it a priority to love you the way I should have right from the start.

I am taking that Forgiveness seminar this weekend, it’s the fourth time I have taken it.  Remember how Body said that there’s so much content in a weekend that you might not “get it” all the first time around?  Well, that’s what is happening to me.  After Friday night I had a clear understanding of why what I did happened.  It all comes down to one simple sentence.  Saturday and Sunday I hope to receive wisdom to understand the specific reasons behind why I let that one sentence happen (I will not post that sentence online, only will tell you in person).  I told Boyd the story, the whole story.  He knows everything.  He prayed for us individually, and also prayed for a relationship to be restored, if it’s the will of God.

I believe March 20th marks two years since I first met you.  I remember we first met because we were both selfish, wanting to just have fun and the others company, hoping you could meet this guy (me) and not give a shit about him any more than that of a guy you know.

But something happened when you stood there at my door with that look in your eyes.  Something happened that I wasn’t prepared for.  Something I never quite expected.

I’m not sure when it happened, but I think between the time you first met me, til the time I actually asked you out on June 30, 2014, you were starting to fall in love with me.  I could tell from the way you talked to me, how you acted around me and how you made time for me despite your busy schedule.  Then June 30 you came along to Regina for that fundraiser I did.  I thought highly of you to the extent that I didn’t want you to come and watch my set in front of Rider players because I didn’t want my poor performance to influence how you felt about me.  It sounds silly, I know.  But I really didn’t want the fact that I wasn’t good at comedy then to make you change your mind about spending time with me, because I started to like you, more than I thought.  When we drove home that evening, you held my hand and were full of smiles.  It was once we got back to my place I had this revelation to ask you out.

When I asked you to be my girlfriend, I was scared you would say no.  I usually don’t give a woman much of a reason (in my mind) to want to give it a shot.  But you were different.  When I asked you, I saw the look in your eyes change.  Your eyes told me how much you wanted me.  When I asked you out, that look changed to one of love.  I then said we could even get married down the road if it worked out.  I remember your eyes filling with tears at those words.

When our relationship started you were my biggest cheerleader, telling everyone who would listen about this Trevor guy who did comedy that you were dating.  You followed me to Lloydminster, Regina and here in the city to perform at shows where sometimes getting laughs was a struggle.  But you were never disappointed or ashamed of me.  Instead you were proud of me for trying.  I never really understood how that was possible until you left and I did shows without you in the audience, without you in my life.

My words last summer caused you to leave.  Then a four hour chat showed you in my eyes how lost I was without you.  Then a few months later you left, unable to deal with the lingering hurt from my words a few months before.  So then came October.  God moved and opened the lines of communication again between us, after many tears I cried and prayers I said daily.

People thought that I was nuts to try and rekindle our romance.  They said there was no way.  She’s done.  But I knew in my heart something different.  My heart knew your heart, and that kept me going. You posted online that you moved on, but when you chatted with me online, through email, or in person, it was different.  That magic took over.  Looking into your eyes, watching you look deep into my eyes to see them change colour, I lived for those moments, of you having that unique look that combined caring, passion and a deep love for me.  A love that with one look told me I could do anything, I could be anything, and you would be right there with me.

Then after I won the legal issue in November, I kept the promise that I made to you, saying I would not only get you a ring, but that we would be planning a wedding.  I saw that victory as God somehow validating our relationship.  It certainly shocked a few people to say the least!  But more importantly it put a smile back on my face.  We did that Skype call and left a video message for my life coach, Scott.  I still have the pictures from that.  The look in your eyes, the way you looked at me, when you thanked Scott, I felt our bond was unbreakable.  The look in those pictures and that video message is different from looking at your pictures now.  I look into your eyes and I see a woman that I hurt.  I see the anger and hurt in your eyes, and it hurts me every day.

Then we weren’t able to spend Christmas Eve or Christmas Day together, but we did do New Years Eve.  Then things in the new year fell off the rails completely in a matter of a few weeks.

I know that you are hurt.  Deeply.  My words hurt that much because you loved that much.  I get that. My writing made you cry tears of joy and sadness for the post God Must Be A Blackjack Dealer.  You always were a big fan of the blog and my writing.

It’s been a struggle to get those words out of my head that I used towards you that seem to haunt me.  Then again, I don’t know if you will read this, much less believe what I write, but I still have to try.

When I see your pictures I see the anger and hurt.  At first I wanted to ask you several questions.  There were things I found out that I was never told.  There were things I thought I needed to know from questions I had never asked before.  But I now realize none of that matters except to……well, like I said, I’m not sure any of that would really matter at the moment.  If we do get to talk you can ask me to elaborate on this point.

What hurts is that you can’t see me getting better, becoming more confident and getting a better reaction each time out.  There is a comedy festival in the summer.  If I did get to appear at it, it would mean the world to me to have you there.  Then there is the trip to Los Angeles I need to take in the near future, to perform at The Comedy Store, to meet my comedy coach and just to be with you.  You mentioned that you haven’t had a vacation in a very long time, and neither have I.  I want you to come with me, to share in the success.

I can picture us driving down the streets of L.A. at night, with the top down on the convertible, the wind running through your hair and taking in that vibe that only big city life can give you.  We would head to Sea World, take in some shopping and good food.  But the important thing is you would be there with me.  Believe it or not, not having the family support I desperately wanted, I found all the support I ever needed from you and your family.  I found love and unconditional acceptance from a woman for the first time in my life.

I believe that a part of you still cares.  I believe there is still a piece of your heart, however small it may be, that I have.  Whether or not I deserve that, well that’s up to God.  He will speak to your heart as He’s done before and guide you.  My life is not the same without you.  My future is not the same without you either.  Words cannot express the depth of how sorry I am for what happened.  But getting my new core values, working with Scott and taking the Forgiveness seminar again will go a long way to help unpack all of this shit that caused me to go sideways in the first place.

Just know that I love you.  I’ve never stopped loving you.  I don’t know how much time I’ve got left on this Earth, but what I do know is that I hadn’t broken every promise that I made to you.  Some I kept diligently, and some I failed you on.  All I want to do is to hold you again and look into those beautiful brown eyes again.

If you are mad I wrote this, I apologize.  If this is a bit too invasive about our relationship or a bit too personal, I apologize.  However, I had to try something to get your attention.  I know you still check my Facebook page throughout the day.  You read the comedy page.  I saw you read my posts in our life coach’s group.  It took a while for you to give back the ring and the necklace, after you said you would keep them.  They are still sitting here in their boxes.

I started praying for you daily, both in the morning when I awake and before I fall asleep, a few days after you left.  Those prayers still continue to this day.  I pray for healing for both of us individually.  I prayed that all the hurt and sadness regarding you, I gave to God tonight.  He is looking after you now, Nicki.  He knows the future for both of us, and He will speak to your heart and guide you in the right direction.  Just know that I would not post anything online if we did talk, or if I was able to take you to that dinner you said could be postponed.  A special lady deserves the most amazing restaurant in town.  You said I always pick really good restaurants.  This is one meal I have been looking forward to since October.

I love you more than words could ever say.  I don’t need the approval of my family, or of my friends.  I just need your approval, your love, if it is the will of God to be accomplished in our lives.  Life with me hasn’t been always easy, and has its share of ups and downs.  I make mistakes, maybe more than should be allowed, but at the end of the day I always come back.  I always win.  Remember when you came down the stairs when you got here after the trial?  Tears streaming down your face, you said that you must have let me down.  I looked into your eyes and told you “I told you we would win.”  Then you smiled and said I was unbelievable.  Then I said I was strong enough for the both of us.

That isn’t quite true.  I’ve now realized you are just as strong as I am.  You are just as beautiful, just as passionate, just as smart, just as fun.  50/50.  An equal partner.

In my mind, I don’t deserve someone like you.  You’re out of my league by a country mile.  Everyone knows it.  I’m sure you know it in your mind.  But I think in God’s mind, He knew you were the one for me.  I still believe you are the answer to my prayers.  You told me the same thing.  I hope that God reaches your heart and speaks to you, giving you the peace and healing you need, not only from my stupidity but healing that your family needs too.

To the rest of you who say this went on way too long, I could care less.  I needed access to Nicki’s heart, that small piece I still might have, to speak directly to her.  Writing something this personal, this invasive that has nothing to do with comedy isn’t probably the smartest thing to do, and I’m sure other comics will look at me differently now (not in a good way I’m thinking).  Either this posting will be the most read in my blog’s history, or people simply won’t give a shit anymore.  I’m hoping it’s the former (first one).

The one thing I’ve learned in life is that when you screw up as often as I have, you can’t be afraid to redeem yourself, to pick yourself up off the ground, dust yourself off and keep trying.  You can’t be afraid to say sorry.  You can’t be afraid to stand in the middle of that storm and take your lumps.  You can’t be afraid to try something different, even if it creates more problems for you in the short-term.  I make mistakes.  I come back.  I do the impossible at times, but that’s the thing.  I can’t give up.

Thank you all for making The Stand Up Diaries turn 200.  I appreciate all of your support.  I want to leave you with a scripture that I heard at tonight’s Forgiveness seminar.  I will leave you with the words from 1 Thessalonians5:23-24

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify (cleanse and restore) you entirelyu; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.

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