Content

I wrote a guest post for Youth Trans Critical Professionals you can read here, about disassociation and differential diagnosis. A friend told me I was meticulous, which I took as high praise.

I guess probably I should write more about that post or something, but another thing that happened last week is I got paid for comedy 4 nights of the week. And folks, I am so done with comedy. All those shows last week went well, I was happy with my performances, things went off without a hitch. And I was also pretty miserable all week. I just am really over whether strangers think I’m funny. I almost actively don’t want them to think I’m funny. I’ve seen what the people who end up at comedy clubs laugh at.

I am not an entertainer, turns out. Not even in a casual, well let’s just make some money kind of way. I’d rather be the one taking the food out to your table than be expected to make you laugh. I can make you laugh. I can do what needs to be done to make you laugh. But fuck it, who are you to me? Why do I care about you? What have you ever done for me?

NOT A COMEDIAN’S ATTITUDE.

I present all feminine-like in my day to day. It’s something I made the effort to cultivate when I came back home, largely to really put it out there I was DONE BEING TRANS. And also, in case you haven’t heard, people are way nicer to me when I put on makeup. I know, I only say that every other blog post, you might have missed that insight.

As a waitress, I’m pretty alright with doing that and making more tips because of it. I’m also ok being pretty fucking fake as a waitress. It feels like, ok, it’s part of this transaction, most of these people understand they don’t know me at all and off the clock I probably am not as simperingly sweet as when I’m taking their drink order. But with comedy people are way dumber about things. People cannot hold in their heads that the person performing the comedy is not exactly who they see onstage. They don’t get it. Sometimes they don’t even understand that the comedian is saying the same jokes they always say. They don’t get that they are listening to the 400th time the comedian has told that joke.

It’s an illusion, and extremely smart people still forget it’s an illusion.

It makes me unhappy to pull off that illusion. It makes me unhappy when people who saw me perform find me on facebook and want to be my friend. It makes me tired.

Offstage, comedians are generally not friendly people. Most of them started the endeavor socially awkward, and then the process of gaining fans, and having the same conversations about your act with different people who are all too dumb to realize they’re initiating a conversation you’ve had 400 times after shows, makes them pretty closed off. You have to be closed off. You’re in the business of seducing people. If you do the job well you get offstage and you have a room full of people vying for your time, who all think they already know you.

It is really not my jam.

It makes all the sense in the world to me so many comedians turn mean. It’s a narcissistic endeavor to begin with, but then lots of performance is. But I think the self-denial that is inherent in being a comedian gets made invisible. If you get broken up with, and you’re booked on a show 2 hours later, you gotta pull yourself together and do the work. Same when the people in your life die. Same when people screw you. Same when you aren’t sure if you’re a good person anymore. Which is why so many comedians rely on substances to make it through life. (In addition to the fact that life is pretty impossible and crushing even if you don’t get paid to be the most engaging and entertaining person in the room.)

I can’t believe I wanted that life. But I did very badly, for a long time. And I really resented the people who got it instead of me. Like it BURNED ME UP that they got that life and I didn’t.

That seems to be a running theme in my life- being tortured that I didn’t get a thing that later I’m exceptionally grateful not to have gotten. It’s a pretty good running theme to encounter over and over. I’m grateful that I learned the lesson in big ways sort of young. It’s a good young person lesson.

This summer I want to work on my thirst. I’m reading a book about yoga ethics that my boss gave me (GODDESS I HAVE THE BEST BOSS THANK YOU) and one of the ethical principles the author talks about is “Santosha,” which is contentment, which is “not seeking.” I’ve had some kind of spectacular examples in my life of getting a thing that I desperately wanted as soon as I’m totally over wanting it. For example, there was an author who I idolized for a long time and really wanted to be on the radar of who I GOT ON THE RADAR OF with “Ice Balls.” At a point in my life when I was like, wow I don’t want to be on anyone’s radar ever, screw all of this, screw capitalism and hierarchy and scenes and everything ever. So with last week it felt like,  yeah of course I start making money on comedy as soon as I feel completely done with it.

This is a really good time in my life to work on Santosha because my daily life is pretty darn great. Like, I love being at my job, I love going to yoga, I love my apartment, I got my bike together, it’s summer, there’s a beach around here, I’ve been eating a lot of great food recently. So this is a great time to ease into cultivating contentment. I know things always change but I could hold steady with this particular daily lifestyle for a long time and feel like a really lucky person, because I am a really lucky person.

I feel like the way you get un-thirsty is to fill up on all those little moments where the world is trying to make love to you a little- like the good food, and the nice breeze, and the fluffy cat, and the funny coworkers. And then you just fill up on all that and you overflow with good feelings and then since you’re overflowing you end up helping to create good situations around you. Doesn’t it seem like the world wants to make love sometimes? Like it’s just waiting for you to notice it’s trying to get romantic on you?

Ugh, I know I’m being cheesy and saying a bunch of cliches. It’s because I had a nice shift at work and me and my coworkers had a lot of laughs. I work with some funny motherfuckers. And the food where I work is delicious too. And I worked on the patio and it was a nice warm night, with a pretty sunset. And when I left work there were hugs and kisses. I feel overflowing right now.

 

5 thoughts on “Content”

  1. What a beautiful bookend. People making you laugh because they’re sharing with you in a genuine way versus making people laugh as a comedian where you’re exploiting yourself to offer it to strangers. I love the way you convey your inner life and I wish I’d had the presence and wherewithal to be able to do this kind of inner work, let alone document it, when I was first learning how to do life after stopping my transition. You are really amazing and I feel so lucky to get to listen in on your thoughts sometimes.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. The end of this blog reminded me of the Edna St. Vincent Millay poem “Afternoon on a Hill” which I was sharing with my sister-in-law a week or so ago:

    I will be the gladdest thing
    Under the sun!
    I will touch a hundred flowers
    And not pick one.

    I will look at cliffs and clouds
    With quiet eyes,
    Watch the wind bow down the grass,
    And the grass rise.

    And when lights begin to show
    Up from the town,
    I will mark which must be mine,
    And then start down!

    Around here the weather is finally beginning to promise summer, and yesterday morning when I went out with the bird feeders it was definitely in a love-making mood!

    It’s been very interesting reading your journey with comedy. When I was in high school one of the things that kept me going was watching Evening at the Improv late at night and soaking up those laughs, so I’ve always admired comedians in a way. Being on the receiving end, though, I really had little idea of the unpleasantness of the actual work, outside of being aware of the difficulties in any kind of performance job and the prevalence of substance abuse among comedians. It’s another thing entirely to have lived that life and realized you want no part of it after all.

    Last night seeking answers I was reading Stephen Batchelor’s Buddhism without Belief, and he was talking about how it’s not so much that we misinterpret the world around us but that we often misinterpret ourselves, defining ourselves too stringently and now allowing for how often we change in so many ways. I know I’ve had many the experience of saying “I am ___ I want ____ ” and then ending up running for the hills, or, worse, hurt and confused by finding myself uncomfortable where I’m at. I keep trying to focus instead on “What am I *doing*?” and what is attracting my attention in the best way. Like noticing the good things all around.

    You’re going to have me writing a reaction blog again!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are a really good writer and all these experiences can be good fodder for such. I know a few detransitioners but no other comedians. It’s all unknown territory to most people, you can make it fascinating.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is That Trans Guy commenter again and I have to say, you put into words exactly why I am so done with playing lead guitar in bands. I am done with the illusion, done with the petty jealousies I feel and resent feeling, and done with pandering to egotistical frontMEN (always AMAB) and audiences alike.

    As for Santosha and the world feeling like it wants to make love, it must be great to feel that way, although I don’t remember feeling the former since age nine and have never felt the latter. But it sure is nice walking around and not feeling like the world wants to ‘make hate’ to you, and to be honest this has been the greatest gift I’ve gotten from transitioning.

    As always, thank you for your wise words.

    Liked by 1 person

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