Life is exhausting. I know I’m the first person to notice that, so you’re welcome for mentioning it.
On a happier note, I stood up for myself at work and it went well. I didn’t trip or pee myself or run into a wall. I didn’t stumble (too badly) over my words. I didn’t break down hysterically crying. I DID mention how uncomfortable I was, but that’s pretty much as good/bad as it got. My boss is awesome.
Anyway, that went well and then I got chicken for dinner and fell asleep on the couch so in case you were wondering, I’m a depressed, divorced, 50 year old man who’s about to have his reawakening in a mediocre rom-com.
I hope life is a movie.
Day 122 – Rom com hopes
Bad news bears. My mom’s dog died. It’s hard to explain to people when your dog is ACTUALLY your best friend how hard this is.
It’s hard. Loss is hard.
I can’t seem to eat, drink, sleep, exercise, laugh, run, avoid, work, or beg the sadness away. How do people get out?
Day 120 – Sad Day
Do so-called “normal” people have as many ups and downs as I do? What is normal, though? Like, pumpkin spice lattes and cute fall photos and long blonde hair and a terrier puppy and a small waist and a job in PR? Or, like, a big friend group and co-ed sports teams and tickets to concerts out in the desert and a boyfriend of 8 years that’s perfect and church on Sundays? Or, better yet, a comfortable job and financial security and good friends and a spouse and a house and a workout class every Wed/Fri and hosting themed parties and in bed by 10?
Instead, I have emotional roller coaster rides and confusion and judgment from my family and flaky friends and constant sadness and lots of cookies and evenings on the couch watching reruns and a job I tolerate that pays me next to nothing and a dream I haven’t accomplished yet and disappointing my parents and anxiety.
Am I doing it wrong?
Day 117 – Normal
All I do is work and eat and work and sit and try to stay up and sleep and work. Do other people have hobbies? Energy?
I have a writing deadline… So far, all I’ve written is my name at the top of the page. You do not write your name at the top of scripts.
Day 113 – Work Work Work Work Work Work (thanks, Rihanna)
I was trying to walk into my boss’s office, but instead I got my foot caught in the strap of my backpack and I tripped trying to get out of it and FELL into her office. She hasn’t stopped laughing. It was amazing. What an entrance.
That moment alone reminded me of how much I love comedy. I just want to make people laugh, you guys. I don’t want to talk about murder all day. I like murder (when it’s not me or anyone I know or love or care about or have ever met…let’s not murder people). But I don’t want to talk about it all day. I want to make jokes and fall over and write comedy.
How did I get so far from my goal?
Well, reality. Bills and such. Expectations from my family. But really – I am to blame. It was me. I didn’t react well to the grief. I still haven’t recovered. So here we are. Killings instead of killing at stand-up.
I got sad. I got angry. I curled up in a ball. I crawled inside myself and never came out. Every time I think about making people laugh, I also think about how sad I am.
Can I even do it anymore?
Day 110 – I miss laughing.
I’m trying really hard to like my new job. I like the people I work with. I like the parking situation. They have free coffee.
I know everyone expects me to like it. I know everyone thinks I should. I know I’ve complained about my job(s) in the past. (I complain a lot…it’s what I do. It neither makes me charming nor cute, but it’s true.) I know people who love me want me to be happy. And by happy, I mean employed. And by employed, I mean making money and having some purpose every day. And by purpose, I mean something other than writing, because I’ve gathered that no one sees that as having purpose until you’re JK Rowling, and then money talks. Right now, money isn’t talking to me. Right now, it’s a silent reminder that I have to do what everyone eventually has to do as an adult. Get a job. Make money. Get insurance on things like cars and rental apartments and my life. Dream about what kind of fence I’ll put around my yard (white picket, I’m told). Plan for retirement, when I don’t have to work this job anymore. Pick out some sort of school area I want to be in if I have kids. I’m supposed to have kids apparently. Meal prep so I can do the smart thing and save my money because eating out is a waste. Invest it so I can give it to the kids I’m supposed to have. Use the job money to buy gas for my car so I can drive to work to make more money to buy more gas. Go to bed early so I can be well rested for the job I sit at to make money so no one has to worry about me any more or wonder why I’m so useless and pathetic when they all thought I’d be somebody. Ignore all feelings of wanting to write or run away because that’s not practical. Not nearly as practical as sitting at my desk day after day and making money so I can come home too tired to remember that writing is the only thing that makes me happy. Forget about happiness so I can work because adults are supposed to have jobs they don’t like. Who am I to think I get to pursue my dream? Who do I think I am? Unless I become EL James somehow and write the masterpiece* Fifty Shades of Grey and then it’s okay that I wanted to be a writer. Then, despite the content and the quality, then it’s okay because I have the money to show for it. But until then… I should stop trying to write and be lucky I got a job.
Day 99 – Mo’ money…
Tried opening up about my breakdown. Expressed some of the things. Did not express all of the things.
Sort of like when there’s a cute guy you’ve had a crush on from afar, and you’ve been dreaming about him, and drawing hearts around his yearbook photo, and writing your first name with his last name all over your binder and now you’ve obsessed for so long that you’ve finally worked up the courage (it’s getting to be too obsessive otherwise) to ask him to the dance and you walk up to him when he’s surrounded by all his cool friends and all you manage to do is trip over a phantom thing and, when they all look over at you with judge-y eyes, blurt out, “Uh, hi, dance.”
That was me. Except I am supposed to be a goddamn adult. And the guy is already my boyfriend. And yet… I’m still the same idiot all these years later.
Day 78 – Idiot Expresses Herself
Nothing like completely blowing a good opportunity to remind you that you suck and you’re not moving forward in your career.
I have to say, it did feel GOOD. Even though I stunk up the place, I really, really loved getting to do that. Wasn’t as fun for the audience, that’s for sure, but it was glorious for me. Nervous and poor performance and all. Even bombing felt good.
But it really reminded me of how much work I should be putting in if I’m going to justify being away from the people that I love and not being present in my grief. I ignore it. I distract myself. I deny it. Every once in a while, because I can’t think past it, I live in it, but for the most part, I try to get as far away from it as one can get from their own skin and bones. Which can’t be easily justified or rectified if I’m busy failing at other things. All it really does is remind me. You just set up shop, didn’t you? You think you fucking live here, don’t you? I can’t deny everything that happened. I can’t pretend this isn’t my life. But I can NOT talk about it. Which is what I’m doing. Which is why, when I come home from absolutely destroying opportunities to advance my career, I sit down to a silent reminder from my (traitorous) brain telling me, “you don’t deserve this anyway. You should be somewhere else. You should be helping. You should be sad.”
My brain needs a vacation. Or a chill pill. Or alcohol.
Day 71 – Blowing Opportunities
Here’s the thing… The thing is… I can’t articulate the thing. I spent the evening at a work-related workshop I got invited to, and I can’t quite capture my feelings. On the one hand, it felt good to be in a space working on my craft. On the other hand, I don’t think I had a lot to contribute tonight. Maybe I was off my game. Maybe the material wasn’t accessible to me. Maybe the writing worked well enough that it was easy to ignore the flaws but not so well that it blew me away. Mediocrity, or something just north of there, is easy to gloss over because it’s hard to correct.
So, instead, I ate chips and thought about whether or not my stuff would land. Would I be mediocre without a solution? I had no notes for the first person, but I honestly thought it was okay. It felt like a scene I’d seen before (do NOT pardon the pun), so it must work because someone has put money behind that at one time or another and it probably met with some level of success. So who am I to say it doesn’t work? It DOES work, it just isn’t exactly what I would want it to be. But who am I?
Should I tell her that if I wrote it, I’d want it to show more push and pull, more fighting, more struggle, more frustration, more lightness, more everything? Or should I smile and nod while eating a seemingly endless bag of chips, which is what I actually did?!
And then there’s that very real moment where I had to wonder – really, really wonder – if what I would bring in is actually better. Or worse. Or the same. Or neither. I listened and I watched and I felt like I was truly being faced with things that needed a lot of work. Great. Let’s work them. But why these are all working writers and directors? What are they doing differently than I am? Maybe they’re not bitching about it online… Hard to know for sure. I don’t know anything anymore.
But then I left my confused state behind in that theatre momentarily when I got a text from my parents bringing me back down to the reality of my life. I hate those texts. I hate that I look at my phone afraid I’ll have one. I hate that I hate hearing from them and I hate that I hate the way even a confused moment can seem “good” in comparison. I just wanted a normal moment where I thought about my career and not about the pain and the struggle and the fears and the deep down awfulness of the rest of everything. Thank goodness for modern technology reminding me that that’s not possible.
Day 64 – I Don’t Know Anything Anymore