When A Jock Strap Is No Longer Enough

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There are some people in life who have the ability to pursue their goals and succeed in life in spite of not having any immediate support around them.  Unfortunately I am not one of those people because of two people in my life who fallen short in that regard.

Yup.  You guessed it.  My family.

The strange thing is, growing up in my household there was that love and support.  It’s only once I graduated high school that their support base eradicated rather quickly.

I remember the moment when I realized they didn’t support me.  Sure, they would be there to help if I was stuck in a jam, because they are family and that’s what families do.  They help each other in times of need.  I guess somebody forgot to tell them that families also support each other.

I remember the moment I realized that I was going to march to the beat of my own drum in life.  I was a few months out of high school and still living at home.  I enrolled in the local broadcasting college.  I was determined to be a sportscaster, I loved sports like nobody’s business.  Paid for half the tuition by myself saving from my job at the time.

I can’t remember how long into the course it was, maybe a couple weeks but I remember coming home and telling my dad that I was changing my main focus of studies from t.v. sports reporting to that of a radio personality.  He basically told me I was making a mistake, that I wanted to do radio instead because I wanted to be a big star.

That was so far off base it wasn’t even funny.  The problem was my dad never bothered to ask me why.  He just assumed I was going to fail.  It didn’t matter that I spent a work education placement at a t.v. studio and found their job wasn’t quite what I expected it to be.  It also didn’t matter that I was the one attending the school.  I was the one that did both radio and t.v. and found that radio was better suited to my personality and skills.  None of that mattered.  He didn’t respect my opinion, let alone ask for it.

From that point on, it’s been a one man show.

I’ve done lots of different things in life, from being an adult literacy tutor (was among the first nominees for the adult tutor award), president of my constituency association (two terms) for a provincial political party, then stand-up comedian.  Hardly any questions asked about these things when I came over to visit.  Even my girlfriend at the time was startled to see how things really are.  She was even more floored when she heard firsthand how they talk down to me.

Sure, we all make mistakes at times, but I think the last thing you should do is judge a person, especially when you do not have all the facts.  If that person trusts you enough to come forward and tell the truth, and you still think they are full of shit then why would you trust to confide in them ever?  Chances are you probably wouldn’t.

So that’s what it has been like for me all these years.  I took that low sense of self-worth into relationships and destroyed them both.  Actually, there were three.  I dated a girl when I worked for my dad years ago, and the stress of being lambasted by him on a weekly basis made me take it out on the girl I dated.  In hindsight at least I did the smart thing and ended it before I made things irrevocably worse, to the point where I would force her hand into ending it first.

The endevaours into literacy and politics were done because I wanted to do them, and thankfully I had the support of those closest to me, that being my core group of friends.  Stand-up comedy was the first thing I have ventured into where I would only do it had I the support of my friends.

Why?  Maybe because comedy is that of a singular endevaour where you don’t really have a team to fall back on, at least not at the start.  I knew that those closest to me would support me in whatever I chose to do because they believed in me because they already knew who I was.  The asked questions before forming an opinion.  That is something my parents never really got a handle on.

Now that I am single again, I sometimes feel like I am alone, maybe it’s because I come home to an empty house with nobody to talk to, so it’s easy to fool yourself into thinking you’ve got no support system in place.

It may take a bit, but eventually I do remember that I have a support system in place.  It’s the same one I had when I first started comedy.  If anything, it’s grown.  Sure, the occasional person has decided to leave me and throw our friendship under the bus, but that’s life.  The people who matter the most are the ones who are still sticking by me, regardless of whether or not they strayed away from me for a while or were with me right from the start.

I will be honest, after getting talked down to today when I explained to them about my job loss, I really don’t feel like rehearsing my material for the birthday show.  I don’t feel like doing it.  I want to scrap my material that I wrote especially for this coming set and just do other stuff instead.  I will end up doing the new material like I said, but right now it’s tough to get motivated when you try your best to tread water and somebody keeps pulling at your legs trying to take you under.

Today somebody close to me heard the conversation I had with my parents, and I think they now understand where my lack of self-esteem and insecurity came from at times.  To have that person listen to what they were telling me was embarrassing and made me feel completely useless.

There was a time not too long ago where I was convinced that I had a new family ready to welcome me with open arms, one that would provide the unconditional love and support I had been searching for all of my adult life.  But the attitudes of my parents towards me had been ingrained in me for years and was impossible to shake, leaving me feeling like I was never good enough despite what anybody else said.  I then sabotaged those two relationships out of my low self-esteem, worry and stress.  Now I am alone yet again, wondering at times if I will be dumb enough to sabotage the next relationship that comes along, if and when that ever does happen.

I would like to think that I have learned my lesson, albeit the hard way about how to make a relationship work instead of how to make it fail when I don’t feel good about myself.  I don’t think I will make that same mistake again.  There is an easy way to make sure of that, just never have the next girl I date meet mom and dad.  Sounds reasonable enough.

So that is why I value all of you who have followed me at various points throughout my comedy journey.  The nights do get incredibly lonely and tough when I sit up at night trying to come up with material or editing what I already have.  I would like to think that the time spent creating material when I am alone will pay dividends for my audience come time to perform.

The problem is, nobody has come to watch me in the last six months except for two shows, and that’s it.  I am not the type of guy that can keep doing comedy if nobody around me gives a shit.  Call it selfish, but that’s how I feel, and being comedians are a bit insecure and crave attention by nature, then maybe it’s fitting after all.

It would be great if we could pack Buds on Wednesday night with those of you who know me best, so I can put on my best performance in front of those of you (friends) who have been my toughest critics at times based on your infrequent laughs, your absence at shows or through constructive criticism.  Then again, these last several months have made me a bit more humble, not wanting to be a bother to others to come out and watch.  For those of you who can make it, great.  Otherwise my set will be available online a day or two after the show.

Whether you are an ex-girlfriend, a friend, or someone who chose to walk away at some point, all of you have been supportive and for that I cannot express my appreciation enough for each one of you.  Life is tough enough already, we should be slow to anger, quick to apologize, find the good in others and build people up instead of tearing them down.  When you can find somebody like that who is willing to stick it out with you like that, who is closer to you than your good friends, you need to wrap your arms around that person and never let them go.

Finding that special someone is hard.  Holding onto them, well…….that should be the easy part.

I said it should be easy.  Then again, that’s why they call it life.  Besides that, what lessons would you learn if everything was easy and always went your way?  You wouldn’t make mistakes, you wouldn’t learn lessons, you wouldn’t forgive and reengage the relationship, and you certainly wouldn’t find a deeper, more intimate connection with that person either.

Nothing is easy.  Do not take the good times for granted.  When tough times arise, take that person and hold onto them tight, never letting them go.  Do whatever it takes to help them through the tough times, but do not let them go.  You may have to let that person go instead of helping them through the tough times.  If that’s the case, do not be discouraged.

God sometimes lets things fall apart to he can help put them back together, better than before.  That is something I have learned and hold on to.  So, until I find that special someone who can stand by my side, until then I have my friends.  You are the ones I will lean on in times of struggle or discouragement.  Without all of you, I wouldn’t still be doing this after over 4 1/2 years.  But here we are, still together on this journey.  I think that says as much about all of you, as it does about me.

Thank you.  Hope to see you Wednesday night.

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