This past week, I tried something new. I had been itching to give stand up a shot for awhile, but fear of failure kept getting in the way. I’ve said this a couple of times on the blog, but I truly believe we are better caregivers, when we take care of ourselves. Taking care of yourself can take many forms. I think the goal is figuring out what taking care of yourself looks like, to you.
To me, (among other things) it means getting involved in creative projects that use a different part of my brain than my career does.
This blog has been helpful to me, as it’s forcing me to write regularly, something I rarely do. But the thing is, comedy has always been important to me. Comedy is what has gotten me out of nearly every funk I’ve been in and it’s how I decompress. But ultimately, I just love to make people laugh. It’s that simple.
Two weeks ago, I shared with a friend of mine that I wanted to start doing stand-up open mics starting in the new year. I practically whispered this to her, because I had barely dared to say it out loud. It felt too ridiculous. Who was I to say I’d even be funny? What if I bombed?! What if everyone could see I didn’t know what I was doing? She listened to me talk it through as she typed away on the computer. Suddenly she said, “Ok great, so I just registered you for a show…in two weeks.” WHAT?!?!?
*WARNING: If you say your dreams out loud to others, they will ask you about it. Regularly. This is a GOOD thing. There is no way I would have been on stage yet if it hadn’t been for my friend. She could hear all my excuses for why NOW just really wasn’t a good time, but rightly chose to ignore them
*NEWSFLASH: It’s never the RIGHT time. The stars will never perfectly align. You won’t get a letter in the mail that says, “Today is the day!” Nope, you just have to do it.
As the day started looming closer here’s some of the sound advice I got along the way….
1.) Stop acting so precious about it all, just get up there. (If you’re not into tough love, ignore this one. But for me it was just the kick in the pants I needed. I wasn’t going to be delivering a speech in front of the UN?! I was going to be doing an open mic in a dirty club. So yeah, I needed this reminder…every 5 minutes)
2.) No one is “seasoned” right off the bat, every single comic had to start somewhere.
3.) Don’t make it your goal to blow people’s minds, make it your goal to simply get up on stage.
4.) Have at least one friendly and familiar face in the audience.
5.) If you “fail” miserably, you can only get better.
6.) Are you going to stand on the diving board all day? Jump in!
7.) Regardless of how it goes, you will learn something if you are open to it.
8.) All I had to do was show up.
Eventually the day arrived, and I went on stage. And I was…not bad! I got some laughs. But more importantly I enjoyed myself and was proud of myself. It also was a major help that I had a group of supportive friends in the audience who were there for me the whole night. When I went home that night, I signed myself up for another open mic.
Take from this whatever works, and ignore what doesn’t. Personally I am all for telling people your dreams. We need the support and friendly faces in the audience. In the past I had only told my journal my dreams, and it turns out your journal won’t sign you up for an open mic. Your friends will.
Take care of YOU.