The Funniest Journey Ever

I’m not a sentimental person. I don’t like to feel feelings that might make me cry, even happy cry. So I keep myself too busy to reflect. But right now, as I hide in the bathroom from my kids, I have nothing else to do… unless I want to referee another bout of “which kid offended the other first”. Which I do not.

When I think about it, 2017 has been a milestone year. It didn’t happen on purpose. I didn’t set out to do something impactful for myself. I just took a step. And that step led to another step. And before I knew it, I was in it to win it. Fulfilling a dream.

As long as I can remember I’ve loved to make people laugh. My biggest idols have been comedians. But I never ever never ever ever thought I could make people I don’t know laugh on purpose on a stage. It was just a dream. Something I admired other people for doing.

Some of you may not know… I don’t often mention it (I think I’ve only mentioned it 60 times today to my family), but about 6-and-a-half years ago I decided that I hate my job. Then I discovered Etsy and decided that if other people can quit their day job and sell random shat on a website, I can, too. And I can stay home with my babies and never have to wear dress pants again. But after 2 years and only making $36 I realized that I’m not good at making jewelry. Cuz I have absolutely no jewelry-making skills. But one thing it DID do was awaken my need for a creative outlet. And it was like an addiction. I had to have that release.

In 2015 I started blogging. When I looked back at all the things I’d gone through with my first marriage and raising a baby by myself while working full time and paying off debt that wasn’t mine, I thought maybe I had something to say. Maybe by writing about my situation with laughter and sarcasm I could give hope to a single mom or, even better, let women everywhere know that they don’t have to stay in a bad situation out of fear of failure. Whether it’s a job or a marriage or even a friendship, if it’s bad, get out. I promise it’ll be better than ok.

But after about a year it wasn’t enough. I wanted more of a connection to the people I was reaching out to. I didn’t want to STOP blogging. I wanted MORE. Then one day someone randomly asked me about my blog and why I started it. After going through the story I blurted out, “my next goal is stand up. By the end of the year”. What? It was DECEMBER! I didn’t consult ME about that. Well, now that I’ve said it I gotta do it. I didn’t make my goal by the end of that year… but it started the series of events that would lead me there.

I thought about it. The more I thought about it the more I wanted it. It was starting to move from dream to possible. Then I started writing. I researched the science of a joke. What makes people laugh. How to establish a setup and a punchline. The more I wrote the more it became my calling.

Eventually I searched for open mics. There was one right by my house. I reached out to the owner of the bar and he gave me the time/date. The following Tuesday I bathed my kids, put them to bed, kissed my hubs and I showed up. To a bar. I’d never been to before. By myself.

So here I was… a married woman, in a bar alone. I’d never been to a bar alone before. It was awkward. I was glued to my phone waiting for start time: 8 pm. I sent my friend, MC, a text, “I’m at a bar. By myself. WTF.” Next thing I know she’s on her way to hang with me so I wasn’t alone. She drove an hour so I wouldn’t be by myself. And I will love her forever for that.

Eventually 8:15 came and went. No comedy show… 8:30… no show… I was afraid I got the date wrong. Or maybe it was cancelled and I didn’t know. First rule of open mic club: The start time is a soft suggestion. MC showed up and shortly after the comedians started. Once I saw that they were all “normal” people, my dream became real. It was attainable. We all have to start somewhere.

I did the same thing 4 weeks in a row. I showed up and watched. And then, on April 25th, 2017 I did it.

Have you ever had a moment in life that seemed so surreal it felt like you floated through it? It was beyond words. I didn’t bomb. I wasn’t great but I held my own. Honestly, if I had bombed it wouldn’t have swayed me. I knew the moment I held the mic that I was where I was supposed to be.

Laughter has always been my escape. Life can be pretty shitty. It just can. But then something funny happens and for a moment, it’s all forgotten. If I can give that gift to just one person, I’ve done what I came to do.

2018 can be your year. It can be epic. It can start a journey that lasts the rest of your life. All you have to do is take a step toward something wonderfully terrifying and unreachable. What will your step be?

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Career Crisis

Full disclosure: I’m going through something right now. A career crisis. And it’s affecting everything else in my life. Not in a good way, either. I wish I could say, “This career crisis has done wonders for my marriage! And my kids, they can definitely tell I’m happier with being miserable for 8 to 10 hours a day. I’m such a better parent.” Unfortunately, I bring less exciting news. I mean, it’s exciting because I don’t know how the journey will play out but it’s not “yay” exciting. Not yet, at least.

The problem is that I don’t know how to fix it. I can’t be the only person at this stage of my life. There have to be more of me out there (scary, I know. But also FASCINATING, right?!). I feel bad for feeling this way. I have a career. I have a career that allows me to help financially provide for my family. But I’m spending days of my life performing work that doesn’t fulfill me and what I know I’m capable of. Unfortunately, my mom wouldn’t let me major in Super Hero-ness in college. SO it pretty much ruined my life. Thanks, Mom.

I’d love to pivot into something else but I don’t know how the skill set from my current career translates into something else that would prevent me from having to start at the bottom again. I’m in that unique situation that I’m sure a lot of us are in. We have bills. We have expenses. We have responsibilities that dictate we bring in a certain amount of money. I don’t want to have to tell my kids that they can’t do sports or participate in a certain activity because we don’t have the money. I’ve been there before and it’s no fun.

Part of my problem is courage. In all honesty, I have zero confidence in my ability to float doing what I love: entertaining people. Friends here and there (and everywhere – oh, come on, I had to. It RHYMED) have told me I’m “entertaining” but that doesn’t translate to carving a living out of it. I know I can do it. I know I can stand on a stage and kill it. But I’m scared. And I keep making excuses: The Open Mics are too late, they’re too far away, I don’t know for sure it’ll be funny. If I can just get that first attempt under my belt, maybe it’ll be ok. But that first step is the one that makes my feet feel like cement.

I need to bring myself out of my comfort zone. Worst case scenario, I get booed. Maybe a tomato thrown at my face. (That still happens, right?) I can recover from that, I think? It’s no worse than going to work at an office and having people point out your faults. Is there a cry room I could go to at a local college in case I need it?

Ok, how about this: let’s do this together. Let’s all face a fear. Get out of our comfort zone a little. Then find my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/atleastimpretty) and let me know how it goes. Or leave me a comment below. I think we’ll all be pleasantly surprised. Anyway, if we fail, at least we’re pretty!

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