I found some old entries I wrote when I was actively doing stand-up open mics in Los Angeles over a year ago. I was at the end of my rope, financially and mentally, and was nearly days away from having to move back to Maryland if I didn’t land the job I interviewed for that week. I luckily got the job, learned a lot, and overall was thankful for the experience, but I found this entry to be really eye-opening to how I was feeling back then in comparison to how I feel now. It’s just shocking how much changes in one year, even if things aren’t perfect. I fought so hard to stay in LA, when even in this post, I knew I didn’t want to/need to be there anymore. I’m glad I swallowed my pride and made a huge change, but it took me a long time to reach that point. Enjoy!
I didn’t do an open mic tonight, but I thought it would be fun to write about what happened in my day to day freelancing life. It helps me think of material and jokes, and I just think you would maybe enjoy hearing the other process besides just going on stage. There are other outlets of comedy and I’d like to share it with you. I also just was exhausted and couldn’t possibly muster going on stage. This post also gets really crazy really fast. I had to add this after reading it. I like it that way. It’s raw. It’s real. This is what it’s like to follow your dreams, even when you haven’t slept in months.
So today I had an 8 am casting call for a youtube series “For the Win”. It’s a popular YouTube series by Break Media, and, ironically enough, I saw their listing for needing comedy writers on entertainmentcareers.net (which I never use, but desperate times call for desperate measures), but I didn’t meet the requirements. They do male-oriented comedy that are “how-to’s” and today’s “how-to” was to “How Guys Get Free Drinks”, and I was an extra with a couple Elon friends and Elon alum. I swear, we’re everywhere. The people we worked with were all so pleasant and fun, and the free food was great. It was really exciting to be on set but to be on set acting instead of doing PA work. I just never realized how much I don’t enjoy production until I did it for almost a year in LA. I’m just not cut out for it, and I respect people who can be a mule for 14 hour days on a regular basis. Truly a quality I desperately need, but can’t quite seem to adapt to just yet (I’m getting there, slowly, at least). I by absolutely ZERO means want to be an actor, though. I know how much my actor friends struggle with the amount of sexism and judgement they get on a regular basis, along with just how seemingly impossible it is to get a break. I deal with that enough in LA everyday already and can barely handle the pressure. They are saints (the ones I worked with out here, at least. I’m sure actors have horror stories of who they’ve dealt with).
Anyway, we had a pretty chill and quick 8 hour shoot (but really, that’s nothing), got the pay check, and I went on back home to my bed. I have a very complicated relationship with my bed. He is my best friend and my nemesis. He holds me when I’m paralyzed with depression, clings to me when I need to get out in the morning, and always seems to play hot and cold with me at night. This time, though, I came to him and his perfectly temperate embrace and instantly passed out. It was the best rest I have had in months. Unfortunately, it was 4 pm when I fell asleep, so I woke up at around 11:30 pm in a panic. I had a busy day of fixing my destroyed car, doing my freelance social media/photography gig, and then I had a follow up interview in less than 12 hours. It takes so much energy for me to go out and face people because I have to fake being this happy positive person, when if you so much as prick my skin my body oozes of desperation, anxiety, insecurity, worry, loneliness, and uncertainty. People get real sick of negativity out here, and I don’t blame them one bit, but that being said, I need a fucking good night’s rest or a ton of medication to fake it for a busy day like the one ahead. I’m not doing terribly, but I’m not doing well, either. I’ve always been up front about that. The problems have all stemmed from LA to Z (ha), and it isn’t just LA’s fault, but it certainly hasn’t helped with some issues that I have desperately needed to mend years ago. Anyway, so yeah, I was freaking out, as per always, that I wouldn’t sleep all night, I’d get 2 hours of half-sleep, then be miserable all day. It is a recurring problem that I am finally getting properly medicated for on Wednesday. I’ll be a drone of a human, but Jesus Christ, as long as I can sleep, I can make it work.
As the lights on my ancient digital clock blinked 12:01, I accepted my fate and opened my laptop to begin writing. I wrote about how I have been feeling, what happened to me in the past weekend, how fucking lonely it is to be sitting in an empty apartment with a bunch of cats and an annoying wiener dog, and that was when the jokes started to form. I wasn’t thinking about it when I started to see jokes strewn between my rants. Granted they weren’t necessarily killer jokes, but they had potential to be built into a succinct joke format. It was exciting to see my misery turn into something kind of humorous, something I could see working if I were an ounce as talented as Louis CK or Carlin. I have been writing essays for a couple years now, and I am trying to work out a deal with this publishing company (an indie one, mostly e-book stuff, don’t get too excited), and they kind of pale in comparison to the writing I have now. I was so naive, so immature, so stupid back then—I mean, I am still those things, but now I have much more awareness of my so obvious shortcomings as a human. I had years of essays, some hilarious, some dark, some endearing, some just sad, but they all looked like some 11 year old’s diary “who loves horses and is obsessed with her mom” (shout out to Hannah’s Diary).
It was exciting yet completely devastating. I was looking at everything I wrote and just wanted to light my computer on fire. I hated it. My essays sounded like a whiny brat with this guise of “being honest” when I was just being honestly ignorant of what is actually important in the world. I own it. I’m glad I see it now. I wish it didn’t take 22 years, but some people take their whole lives to see the error in how they think. Then I started having a manic episode, opened 14 of my old essays and started to edit them all. My mania has been really bad this past year. It usually comes and goes pretty mildly, but I am now at a point I don’t get anything done unless I am experiencing mania. It’s unlike a feeling I can really describe unless you suffer from manic depression and bi polar. You just feel this energy and passion to create and change, to the point where if you don’t get it done, you will begin to meltdown. You crash hard afterwards, sometimes for days, sometimes just during a good solid sleep, but it’s never soothing. It lingers in the back of your head while you’re crippled by depression and exhaustion because you can’t sleep at night and can’t bear the thought of human interaction. I don’t like talking about it because people don’t understand mental illness unless they have it. It’s just something you can’t understand, and that is so OK, but I hate people telling me that just popping a pill and going on a jog will fix my brain’s chemical imbalance. If you say that to someone, you are truly a sick person, and I’d take my “crazy” brain over your ignorant asshole brain any day. Anyway, just please don’t feel bad for me, that’s all I ask. I just wanted to explain why/what was happening. I finally stopped looking at my old essays because I would only start to re-edit them and ultimately destroy their initial integrity. They were, at one point, an honest reflection of how I felt at that time; it was time to let it go. I forced myself to focus on the new essay. Sleep wasn’t an option, and destroying years of work wasn’t either.
My mania focused back on my essay and before I knew it, it was 4:29 AM, and I had written 9 pages of dark, hilarious, material. The essay wasn’t really an essay anymore, it was a medley of a story, then some jokes, then some of my raw, sleep-deprived thoughts, then so on. I kind of loved it.
Then I started to hate it. A lot. I deleted pages. Then frantically tried to revive them like a drowning homeless person; you don’t really know them, and probably think they might be bad, but you can’t help but wonder “what if saving this piece of shit makes me a hero?”. Then I edited some more. Then added 4 pages of nonsense. Then cried. Then start cleaning my room. Then I started to re build a book case. Then I made 8 pieces of bacon and 4 eggs worth of runny scrambled eggs. Then ate one piece and remembered I don’t even like bacon. Then I spilled the bacon and ketchup/hot sauced doused eggs on the floor and sat down on the carpet, slowly laughing to myself. I lied down on the bacon-stained carpet of my bedroom floor and giggled to myself, slowly lulling off to sleep. The mania slowly slid away as the sun crept from my curtains, but the glare from the clock reading 7:13 was much more comforting.
I woke up 3 hours later, ate the left over bacon, and drove to the car auto-repair place with a fucking smile on my face, because it’s Tuesday, baby, and I’m alive.
I don’t think I can articulate any of this better than Carissa. This is perfect. Go, Carissa!
Originally posted on Carissa Explains It All:
“Late to work, huh? I bet you were out late last night being a little whore, let me check your thighs for semen.”
This was said to me by a waiter at the local college town steakhouse we both worked at as I rushed through the front doors. “Actually,” I hissed, “I was late because my biochemistry lab ran over and my nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy didn’t calculate properly.”
“What, you think you’re some smart bitch or something? You’re only here to look good in a skirt, why don’t you pull it up a little more and get the customers in. Make sure you sit my tables first or I’ll tell the chef you’re late.”
Most people assume feminism is only propagated by “ugly, butch, hairy women in combat boots.” Any woman who is vocal about equality is often just some bra-burning lesbian – pretty girls don’t actually care…
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