Not original, I know, but in light of the New Year, I’m going to share my resolution with y’all. I don’t have a list, though I probably should. Instead, I’m going to try to fulfill the one and see how that goes.
In 2008, I’m going to stop caring what people think. Not that I’m going to quit bathing, start swearing at random strangers or go for fourth helpings at the buffet, appealing as those options may seem. What I mean is, on stage and with my writing, I’m going to worry less about how I may be perceived or whom I might offend, if that means I’m editing myself in a way that I’m not doing what feels right. Does that make sense?
Some of my favourite comics (the famous ones and the ones who will be/should be famous, but not holding my breath this crazy business) are the people who totally commit on stage. They are often outrageous, but not for the sake of it. They don’t worry about who “gets” them, though I suspect they want to be got, as it were. But ultimately, they are true to themselves, and that is always clear when they are up there performing.
Me, I’m not there yet. I feel myself holding back. It’s frustrating, to be sure, but that’s why I’ve set this resolution. I thought perhaps that easy comfort would come with stage experience and time. But I think it’s going to take a concerted effort to push past how I think I come across to the place where I don’t think about it at all.
I was raised to be both small “c” and big “C” conservative. And Catholic (don’t know if there’s a small “c” catholic, but if there is, then I was most assuredly brought up that way). My family is great, but throughout my life, I’ve struggled away from their right, hopped on the fence and now lean comfortably to the left. But it hasn’t been easy. This is probably because my family is so great, though mostly because I’m a big fat wimp.
My acts of rebellion have been small and tediously paced. Smoking, drinking too much in university and other predictable teen-angsty moves defined my early defiance. But it wasn’t ‘til I became a film major in University that I really started to rock the boat. My parents thought it was sweet and were convinced I’d come ‘round and go to law school in time. But then I went on to College and got a diploma in Radio & Television Broadcasting. They were by now convinced I would never earn a non-waitressing penny and starve in a commune-like hovel before I was 25. Happily, I did end up getting some pretty good jobs in TV. Not great paying like my lawyer-brother, but hey, I’m a girl, so who cares? Then I moved to England, married an Irishman and stayed for 8 years. Oh, the heartbreak! The final blow has been the comedy. I started doing improv in the early ‘90’s. Wacky me! Then stand up two years ago. What is she thinking?! Where did we go wrong?!
My point in telling you all this is to explain (not excuse) why I struggle with my ability to let go on stage. I was programmed this way. Life should be a low risk, comfortable journey with no undue attention brought to oneself. I’m pretty sure this would include not saying fuck onstage and not telling total strangers in a club about the awesome penis I grew for my son, so I’ve made some progress. But I have a ways to go yet. So if you know me, see me performing and breaking my resolution, you have permission to slap me upside the head.