Uncommon Common Denominators

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Johnny Mathis sings it best when he says it’s the most wonderful time of the year.  But for many people, it’s anything but, myself included.

The holiday season does not evoke many positive memories from adulthood.  Christmases of recent memory saw me homeless and living at The Salvation Army, being ignored and unappreciated by my family and even staying home on Christmas Day, just to avoid the constant verbal attacks from my parents when I was without a job during the holidays.

Family visits at Christmas usually revolve around my brother and his girlfriend talking about details of their daily lives, which the family seems interested in.  I don’t get asked about much outside of my job, because I’m not like the rest of my family.  I get lambasted for being different, and nobody really cares to invest the time into getting to know much about me.  So I usually sit in the recliner in the corner of the living room, fall asleep while everyone else talks amongst themselves or watches football on t.v.  There is no joy or love in our house, and hasn’t been like that for many years, because you can’t expect people to give what they aren’t equipped for.  No resiliency, just resentment and bitterness.  Happy flippin holidays.

It used to be that stand up comedy was a saving grace to me, but not so much anymore.  When I was homeless, my day turned to shit but I always saw the light at the end of the tunnel, where I knew that getting on stage and doing comedy, and being around creative people would make the struggles of the day easier to get through.  But the Christmas season now has a way of sucking whatever life was left in the year, all the good momentum, right out of me.

Factor in my infrequent appearances on stage and my apathy at the moment to comedy, and it’s hard to find the desire to get on stage.

More importantly, who am I when I am on stage now?  Do I even know?

I am usually about the struggles on stage, about not getting it right, trying to find my way.  But with Christmas approaching, relationship issues and personal struggles, just what struggles do I want to navigate through on stage, and which ones do I have the motivation to hash out and make funny?

I am tired, and glad this year will soon be over.  I’m tired of being unappreciated on multiple fronts, not valued or celebrated, overworked, stressed, lonely, living in a questionable part of the city, no vehicle, in an unhealthy environment with an unsupportive family.

So I will get on stage for the final time this year next week, unsure of what narrative to portray when I hit the stage.  Do I even care?

Some comics can give off an attitude of not caring and have it work to their advantage, but I am not sure I can even pull that off.  Usually I have ideas that are joined together by a common thread and I work at rehearsing.  Now I couldn’t be motivated to hash things out, to rehearse.  I will give things my best shot, but I doubt anyone will be there to watch that I know, let alone have a good start to the set.

When you’re unique and see the world from a point of view that’s different from everyone else, in a world where everyone sounds the same, it should be time to get motivated, focused and deliver the goods.  If only it were that easy.

After all, this is me that we are talking about, in the world of stand up comedy.

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