It’s Complicated Because It’s Me

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There is this girl woman that I know.  I think she likes me.  I’m pretty sure she might.  There has been a date agreed to.  Yes, this actually happened.  A good chunk of you reading this will know who it is, which is why I don’t plan on saying too much here.

So, I will soon go on a real date for the first time in a couple of years.  Regardless of how it goes, I wonder how it would affect my comedy?

I have noticed with the local comics that they don’t necessarily talk about everything in their lives when they hit the stage.  I am the exact same way.  I could talk about working for some disrespectful employers or difficult customers, or that I have gone through several jobs in the last couple of years.  But, I choose not to.  First of all, unlike the majority of you who read this, I don’t take having a career for granted, or at least I won’t once I get a job that could turn into one.  When I look back on how I was treated and all the depression, stress, frustration and worry that came about, not to mention the problems with my family throwing me under the bus every chance they got, sometimes things just aren’t worth unpacking to try and make funny.

So why would I risk future success of my next relationship by including it in my act?

I once read an article that talked about the challenges and benefits of dating a stand-up comedian.  There really is a lot to consider.  What will they talk about?  How far will they go with details of the relationship?  Will they be mean?  Will they attack write about their significant others family members or children?

It’s a comedians job to be funny, that’s it.  You need to get laughs.  So how do you go about this?  Thankfully, I wrote in the last post that you don’t learn anything from success, you learn everything from failure.  Yes, I have failed at a couple of relationships that caused much havoc in my personal and comedy life.  It was not fun, but necessary to go through.  Very necessary.

I think one of the biggest changes from my failures in dating is that I drew a line in the sand a while ago about what I will tolerate from a potential date, and what I will not.  In other words, red flags come up that end the conversation.  I can’t even be friends with that person if a red flag comes up, especially when I am just starting to get to know them.  If they cross a line where the flag comes up, it’s game over.  End of story.

I don’t have stuff that you take for granted, and I’m pretty sure you take it for granted because I don’t hear you pray about it from a position of thankfulness.  I don’t have a job, money, a vehicle with plates, a current drivers license, an RRSP, credit card, groceries or job prospects.  I don’t have a roommate or kids, just a family that runs hot and cold.  At times they are only nice to me after getting exhausted from yelling, swearing and calling me names for an hour.

It’s because of this lack that I don’t pray much these days.  Actually, I haven’t prayed in a few weeks now.  There is lack everywhere I look, not much hope and it seems like not a lot of support either.  The only time I seem to get any traction in life is with volunteering or doing comedy.  At least now when I get on stage, there seems to be a level of appreciation for me that never existed before, which is nice.  Volunteering makes me feel valued and given a sense of purpose.  Everyone is happy to see me and thankful I am there to help out.  That means a lot when you have not much else to look forward to.  I’m also supposed to take one of the classes in Bible College and get discipled by my pastor a couple times a month.  Well, with the church now on the outskirts of the city, how am I supposed to get out there with no vehicle or license?  Now you see what I mean?  It almost seems like baptism just set me back and made a spectacle of myself in the process.  Good times.

When I first did material with my previous relationship, it wasn’t that funny.  Then again, I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to be able to make it funny either.  Also, back then I didn’t work completely clean like I do now, so that changes the narrative a bit as well.  It forces me to be more relatable to the audience and that’s a good thing because the writing is getting better every day, as is the moments when I go “off script” on stage.  Those spontaneous moments where I’m able to get laughs by saying the right thing at the right time is getting better.  It’s a skill I never used to have.

After everything I have gone through in my life, I have standards of what I will accept or tolerate from people in general and relationships.  Now, I will be the first to admit that I’m not perfect when it comes to adhering to these standards, but at least I go into the day knowing they are in place.  I never used to have them because I didn’t think very much of myself.  I still don’t think that highly of myself, but it isn’t as bad as it used to be.  Church (sometimes), comedy and volunteering helped to change that.

I’ve failed so much and so often that I don’t really care what family or anyone else thinks of me.  Even though I have that indifference now, people still like to spew their opinions and talk down to me.  They can go kiss my ass.  Sad part is, some of them don’t even know who they are.  Some do, but the majority of them don’t.

I don’t take anything for granted, and when I get my life back in order I will continue to live each day not taking anything for granted, ever again.  It gives me a sense of freedom that I’ve never had before when I sit down in front of my laptop to write, because I’m not constrained anymore.  I am not hamstrung or paralyzed by life to where it clouds my ability to write.  I used to be way too self-deprecating to the point where it was more sad than funny.  Now, it’s different.  I’ve been on stage for over seven years now and I have done shows and had opportunities to do things in comedy that other local comics won’t do or never knew about.

One guy commented after an open mic recently that I seemed happy or that things were going well in life, based on how I projected myself on stage.  It’s all about having the right attitude, in being professional and treating the audience with respect.  My next relationship will get talked about, and sure I will probably shine light on the relationship and make them seem better in comparison to me (which really isn’t all that hard to do, if you go back and read any of the over 300 posts I’ve written so far).

Whether my next relationship is with this girl woman that’s agreed to go out on a date, or with somebody else, I will be blessed, fortunate, thankful and lucky to have that person.  And for the first time in a long time, I will know that my girlfriend will be lucky to have me.  I think the key is to find a Christian woman to date.  Maybe I’ve already found one, maybe I will find a woman and lead her to church and a relationship with God.

I haven’t dated a Christian woman before.  I’ve always been intimidated of them, at least I used to be.  Now, I have that confidence within myself to at least project the best version of myself to another person (comedy training helped with that).  Yes, I have confidence, but only in certain things (read above).  If I had confidence or hope that I can get a job and get life back on track at some point, I would make sure to pray or read the Bible more than I am currently.  But the only time I seem to read the Bible now is to get ideas for material.

My material now is positive, upbeat, fun and funny.  It’s all about the presentation.

When the spotlight hits us on stage, we usually can’t see much of the audience.  When I last dated a woman, I wanted her to sit in the back and not be seen.  Now, all I want is for a familiar face to be smiling and sitting in front, not to poke fun at her or embarrass her intentionally, but for support.  It’s one thing for a friend to come out and watch (which happens rarely), but it’s something else when someone you date sees you on stage, being the best version of yourself, confident, well spoken, articulate and funny, with a bit of ambivalence thrown in.  To be confident and proud where she would look at me, point to me and tell the person sitting beside them “yeah, I’m dating that guy”.  I’ve never been in a proper position to receive praise like that, accept it and recognize it for what it represents.  Maybe with all the garbage I’m going through now, it’s getting me closer towards that.

I deserve better, moreso than most of you.  Whether or not I get it, well that’s another story entirely.

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