I'm Annoying The Shit Out Of Myself
I’ve made my living as an “ARTIST” for many years now, so I feel at least I have an excuse for why I’m such a spaz. Hey, I’m an ARTIST!
About once a year – usually near the end of the summer because it’s often the end of a long, slow work period – I freak the fuck out and wonder what I’m doing with my life. I question every career choice I’ve ever made, I wallow in self-pity, I wonder why my phone’s not ringing, I can’t focus on a single thing and and the voice in my head plays something like this:
I wonder if I should try to do more stand-up I wonder if I should just quit doing stand up I wonder if I should write a book maybe I should become vegan it was probably a mistake to cancel my gym membership just to save money I haven’t had an audition in a million years maybe I should go back to school and become a doctor I hate school school sucked I really should practice the piano since I have a piano now I should really practice the guitar I wish I had a new guitar I’d really like to do a play there are no good parts for Asians in plays I should write a play what should I write a play about are marshmallows vegan I wonder if I should try to date again men are such a useless waste of time unless I need something heavy lifted I’m so glad I found a reliable guy to lift heavy shit for me for $60 omg I hate it when I see someone I know on Tinder gross so glad I deleted all of my online dating profiles I wonder if I should get pet health insurance I should probably Google that I should figure out when Aubrey and I are going to go to Minnesota next I should write my memoir how did Alan Cumming find time to write two books wtf I wonder how long he’s doing Cabaret would I be a bad mom if I took Aubrey to see that I really want to see it I really should write that script about my dad’s hijacking I should just find someone to write that script about my dad’s hijacking I wish I could dance I’m such a shitty dancer what should I eat for dinner I should try to just eat vegetables and fruit all day tomorrow why are hot dogs so delicious I just don’t know if I could give up cheese forever cheese and butter god I love butter I want to go to the movie theater where the seats recline when’s my next stand up show
…and on and on. And while we’re on the topic of ADD, the yard of one of my neighbors is up on a hill and I can see it from the window where I sit at my desk. Every once in a while their dog runs around in a big, empty, dry dirt area and I think it’s a goat, but it’s not. It’s just a dog. Looks like a Border Collie mix. Like there’s a wild goat running around the SF Valley. So add this to the stream of bullshit: IS THAT A GOAT UP THERE?
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m a tad dissatisfied with my career right now and it’s causing me some anxiety. No one is starving to death… yet… but things are not going the way I want right now and I think I need to get a little wacky before I have my next great idea. Or I may just have my mid-life crisis and become a complete embarrassment to my child. I think that’s what normal people do, right? People who work normal jobs.
I have found it to be near impossible to do anything artistically productive when I’m in this state of mind. All I seem to be able to focus on is the daily minutiae of life. Grocery shop. Walk the dogs. Empty the dishwasher. Load the dishwasher. Call the dentist office. Sort the laundry. And we’ve all had slumps but no matter how many well-meaning friends say, “You should ____ (go for a walk, take a class, do some yoga, hire a life coach, get laid, have some wine, take a nap, make a spreadsheet, read The Secret, take the Landmark Forum, try CrossFit, write something),” it doesn’t matter. You can’t just shake a funk. Funk has to make its own exit when the time is right. And you can’t force creativity and that’s the only way I’ve made my living for over 17 years. I suck at everything else, so I’ll just be here. Riding out the funk wave.
And in the meantime, maybe I’ll do a pilates DVD. My abs feel so flabby.
Rich Dad, Poor Mom
Just because I don’t sit in a cubicle or work a 9 to 5 doesn’t mean I don’t work. Telling jokes on stage is only one part of my “job” and being a mom is another part, only the mom portion of my work hasn’t made me a dime yet. What the heck?!
Seriously, if they had a “Most Money Spent On Pony Rides” or Highest Number Of Times Purchased the Wrong Size Socks For Their Child” list, I’m pretty darn sure I’d be on it.
The list made bigger news than usual because a new guy, a Mexican guy nonetheless, has dethroned Bill Gates which has only happened, I believe, 3 times in the last 15 years. Don’t sweat it, Bill. 2010 ain’t over yet.
While discussing this rich people list, my boyfriend began to read a list of the Forbes richest women in the world, pointing out that most of these gals inherited their money. Also, there aren’t any women in the top ten of Richest People In the World list. In fact the richest woman in the world is Christy Walton and she comes in at a paltry 12. The only other woman in the top 25 is Christy’s sister-in-law, Alice Walton, at number 16 and she’s a real winner – killed a 50 year old mother of two while drunk driving in 1989 and was never charged or cited any fines. She was then cited for drunk driving in 1996 and it cost her $925. I should mention she’s an avid horse woman. She should stick to driving horses.
After bickering with my boyfriend about this incongruent comparison of lists – richest men vs richest women – I got to thinking of how there will probably never be women at the top of this list and the women’s list will mostly be filled with heiresses.
They are a myriad reasons why this is the case but the one that stuck out to me is that in order for a woman to achieve that much financial success on her own, she pretty much sacrifices her femininity. She has to become one of the boys and this means, among many things, not having children. Most of the richest women do not have children and many are not married. Although about half of the richest men also inherited their fortunes but Forbes (nor my boyfriend) managed to make a point of it like they did about the women.
So this brings us to the good old, “Can Women Really Have It All” debate. It’s an old one and there are no cut and dry answers, but it seems to be much harder for a woman to make a giant pile of money than it is for a man. Can we just agree on that? The question for me now is, “Should I care?”
I’m a comedian which is a very male dominated field. Both men and women asked me all the time if I was going to quit performing when they found out I was pregnant. When I answered no, they asked if I would take the baby on the road with me! Please! No man comedian who is a father has ever been asked these two questions. It’s just assumed a man will go about progressing in his career field after a child is born whereas a woman will probably quit working or if she’s the breadwinner of her household, like myself, she’ll magically take her child to work with her into smokey comedy clubs and remote college campuses and somehow do shows and watch her child, simultaneously. Sure. I’m just THAT amazing.
But as I bust my single-mom hump and spend every penny I make on child care, rent and insurance (and pony rides), just like most Americans, I can’t help but feel guilty about not being with my daughter more often. I can’t help but wonder if I’m screwing up her life by traveling for a living. How is it that men can work and work and work AND have kids and not sit at their desk or on a plane, wondering if their kid slept through the night or did they poo-poo in the potty this morning? How is it that men manage to have both, both but only have to “do” one? Those silly, smart men with their robot-like emotions.
As I ramble on, I’m not claiming to have the answers to any of these open ended, rhetorical questions and I’m not implying that fathers don’t love their children. And I admit, I’m a little jealous of the heiresses and the men who get everything, but at the end of the day I’m not drinking my life away because boo-hoo, I’m so rich and I can’t take it, I’m glad my daughter actually recognizes me when I come home from work. I have accepted my role as working mom and I’m proud to be able to put food on the table for my daughter and me, but it can be hard. Super duper hard. At this point, I won’t be leaving a fat trust fund for my daughter but at least I can say I gained my child’s love the old fashioned way. I earned it.
My Wild Weekend
I just want to say that it REALLY irritates me that these blog interfaces make your text go crazy when you paste into them… this isn’t supposed to be quadruple spaced, but… I’m too lazy and tired to fix it. Read on…
Most people know what a party animal I am… YEAH RIGHT! I recently had some child-free time to myself and you won’t believe what kind of madcap adventures ensued…
I was in complete disbelief, looking at my calendar last week. Was it true? Could it be?! I was going to have a full three days of an empty house to myself?!! GET OUT OF HERE! My boyfriend went to the Midwest for some work and it was my daughter’s and nanny’s turn to go over to my ex’s house. For the first time in I-don’t-know-when, I was going to be alone in my own house! Just the dog and me. Immediately, I started making plans:
• Change the tv channel to something other than Noggin and PBS
• Watch a DVD that is not “Free To Be You And Me” or “Elmo’s Potty Time”
• Sleep in the middle of the bed with all of the covers to myself
• Spend quality time with the dog before she kills me in my sleep
• Work out
• Read an entire magazine on the toilet with the bathroom door open. Wide open.
• Take long showers (eco system be damned)
• Catch up on writing
• Party with my childless, single friends at night
• Sleep in late in the mornings.
I had a LOT of plans for the weekend! Wednesday night, the man headed down to LAX and Thursday afternoon, the baby and nanny rolled out to daddy’s house. Let the craziness begin! My motto was, “What happens in Sherman Oaks, stays in Sherman Oaks!” WOO-HOO!
Except nothing really happened. Well, some of it happened, but not nearly with the gusto I had fantasized about. While I did manage to get out for a few meals with friends and drinks a couple times, I amazed myself at how absolutely lame I was all by myself:
• Friday Morning: My first opportunity to sleep in was squelched by my boyfriend’s alarm which didn’t get turned off from the morning before. It went off at 6am and there I was… awake.
• Friday Night: performed stand up set at Hollywood Improv and ended up going to a karaoke bar with a comedian friend and his neighbors. I had one beer, didn’t sing a song and was yawning the whole time. Was home by midnight. Checked emails and went to bed.
• Saturday Morning: Remembered to turn off alarm, but woke up at 7am, on the dot, out of habit. This is when my 2 yr old gets up. DAMN! I was up!
• Saturday Day: Paid bills, went to post office, did two loads of laundry
• Saturday Night: Had a friend over for a beer and dip in the pool then off to meet more friends for overpriced drinks. This was the big night!
• Sunday Morning: Slept all the way until 8:30am!! This is big people! Then felt nostalgic for the days when 8:30 used to be early and I could sleep until 10 or 11 with no problem. Sigh.
• Sunday Day: Folded and put away laundry, dusted, vacuumed, did paper/busy work
I don’t really think I need to detail any more of this exciting weekend. You get the idea – I was lame!! Had I forgotten how to have fun? Do I not know how to party anymore? Apparently, I just live to do laundry and pay bills and the funny thing is, I’m ok with that.
I’m very lucky that I have a career that is my life’s passion. I’m a comedian and I get to hang out in clubs and colleges and bars all over the country and get paid to make people laugh. I’m surrounded by interesting and talented people and I get to express myself freely, on a regular basis. It’s pretty sweet. At the end of the day though, I don’t mind being a homebody and I think it’s what keeps me sane in this totally insane industry.
Becoming a mom in this industry has been beyond challenging. Comedy is heavily male dominated and a life on the road doesn’t really lend itself easily to breast feeding and bath times. As a female comedian, I have been asked these two questions, repeatedly, since having my daughter:
1) So you’re not really doing comedy anymore then, are you?
2) Oh you are? So, I guess you just take the baby on the road with you then, huh?
I guarantee you, no male comedian who has fathered a child has been asked these questions. Especially #2. I won’t lie. Being a traveling comedian, single-mom of a pre-school aged child is a crazy juggling act I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s my calling but it’s also my job and like any single mom (or dad) or any parent who works, it is what I do for my child and myself. Furthermore, I’m so grateful to have work in this economy.
So I embrace my lame-o homebody status when I’m at home. Even when it’s just me. I don’t mind coming home from a club and folding little tiny clothes and washing sippy cups. Somehow, it’s all getting done and while I can’t say I like the night life and I like to boogie, I can say that I DO like my life.