A week has passed since I last performed. After getting back on the saddle with stand up, at first, I felt a little disheartened. Not that I expected to kill, but I was just kind of jarred by how hard it is, how delusional I must be to think I can actually *do* comedy, and what my life will entail doing open mics more and more frequently. It was scary, and I didn’t feel ready.
Then as I got more support and wrote about it more, I felt more at ease about the situation. It’s miraculous how a week of just preparing and getting kind of excited will do to you. I wanted to do some more open mics but my work schedule just won’t budge right now. Tuesdays are typically good for me, so I do open mics then. I was back at Wits End Saloon and saw some familiar faces when I came in promptly for sign up. I was the first to sign up, Suzanne Lacease. I sat alone with my moleskine and waited. and waited. and waited.
The MC told me I was up first, and I was actually kind of relieved. I just wanted to get it over with, because my jitters were kicking in and I was starting to get nervous. He called me up, and it was like I was a completely different person than from what I was last week. I just sat on the stool, remembered my moleskine this time, and just chatted with the audience.
Now, there were maybe 8 people in the audience, but I got constant laughter and participation from the audience. It felt great. I was just talking to them like they were my friends, and we all felt much more comfortable. I wasn’t trying to hard to be witty or funny, I just said what was on my mind and it worked so much better. I forgot some one liners I wanted to say, which I’m still kicking myself about, but I am overall really pleased by how it turned out! I also ended too early and was at a complete loss as to what to say when I was done with my two bits. I wanted to tune them up for my big show so I forgot to make it long enough to fit into a set. I talked about dating again with this set, and have come to terms with the fact that I am just gonna do dating jokes as I start out because they are easy for me and it’s something I know, at least. I don’t know relationships, but I definitely know dating. I just got to suck it up and realize I’m not Chappelle or Carlin…yet. :)
I got up, did my thing, got some laughs, and PROMPTLY got out the door. I just did not want to hear dick jokes or any jokes, really. I just was not in the mood and I have an early morning tomorrow. I was home in bed by 10:40 PM. Now that is a great open mic to me.
My big show released its flyer today and I can’t be more excited. With this solid open mic under my belt and more to come, I am feeling more and more confident that I will put on a good show. I’m trying my best to not beat myself up or be hard on myself because I’m just doing it for once and not getting in my own way. It’s nice to look out on the horizon and not see me standing there blocking myself from my dreams.
I am tucking myself into bed and getting some sleep. Until next time!
Come join me and Maryland’s best comedy acts for the show that keeps on giving! I am so excited and nervous to do this big show and I would love for you to come see it! The show is at the Maryland Ensemble Theater in Frederick, Maryland. Tickets are available here!
I’d like to share with you my open mic life, as it helps me get better at my, dare I say it, “craft”. I started writing about open mics years ago (I can’t believe it’s been YEARS…yikes), then got a new job and a whole bunch of excuses to get in the way of my life. Now, I am getting back into it, and as an incentive, I want to write about every performance I do. The good, the bad, the ugly.
I have a big show August 8 (Marylanders, buy your tickets!! It’s a great line up of comedy Improv troupes and stand-ups) and I realized something: I should probably practice and get a tight 10 minutes of material ready. You know, prepare? Maybe? I am someone who rarely studied and got A’s (B’s…C’s…and D’s…but mostly B’s!) a pretty good athlete that always groaned during practice but always delivered at game time, and an improviser at heart, but I know I have to cut that habit out if I ever want to get that A. I can coast all I want but at the end of the day, you just won’t get good if you don’t practice. I’m learning that the hard way.
My girlfriend’s boyfriend, Devin, is a comic in Maryland who was kind enough to let me in on his open mic plans. There was a small show at Wit’s End Saloon next to Magooby’s Joke House in Timonium, and I’ve been to the bar before to eat some food, but never knew there was a stand up show there. I have been coasting a lot recently and haven’t performed in months. It’s my own fault, but I work every day just about, and when I don’t, I’m traveling. I don’t abuse adderall anymore so I just don’t have the energy I used to “have” back in the day when I worked 15 hours a day. I know I need to reel in my work schedule, but that’s another story for another meeting with my therapist. I just never think I’m doing enough, and honestly, I am doing way too much. Way. Too. Much. Comedy took a back seat because it didn’t make me money, and I thought I was hot shit and funny because my friends think so. I don’t know many newbie comics who don’t think that way; we’re all delusional to think we can become real comedians. That’s how all of the greats start–completely, utterly delusional, but performing every single night.
It’s about time I did the same.
We got to the show and like clock work, I pulled up next to Devin in the parking lot. It was cosmic, or it was just the closest spot by the bar. You decide. I met the other comics on the line up, and met the MC. He was very friendly. I was very nervous. I was wearing my lucky Nike kicks and my favorite red lipstick, and I still felt nervous. I signed my name on the line-up sheet “Suzanne Lacease” just to avoid the dreadful Lassie pronunciation. It was in ink. Boom. Done. Now it’s time to sit and wait.
Am I even going on? Did the MC forget me? I don’t blame him, but I can’t hear one more dick joke…
I went outside to take a deep breath and chat with some drunk guys who told me they’d laugh at my jokes ‘no matter what’. I was so nervous I believed them. The MC came out and told me I was coming on after a guy with a vest adorned with buttons a la Girl Scouts. This is it!
I was called to the stage, and I decided to record being called up and screamed “LET’S TELL SOME DICK JOOOOOKEEEEESSS” on video for Instagram. It was greeted with 0 response, I pressed ‘done’ and posted it on to Instagram. At least the people on IG can hear the clapping and not the ‘what?’ I felt like as the only woman on the line up I should call out the very obvious theme of masturbation and dick jokes that was throughout the hour and a half I was patiently waiting.
I decided that they didn’t really hear me (false) or that they really thought I was going to tell dick jokes (another false), and I made a joke about how I don’t have that kind of business to banter about. I got the giggle. Ok, phew, let’s go.
Then I look to the stool to open my Moleskine of jokes I wrote, or a set list I had scribbled, and I realize it’s on the table by Devin and I was a deer in headlights. I joked about being unprepared (everyone’s favorite…sigh) and Devin tossed me the Moleskine that I dropped on the floor. Welp, I thought, I’m gonna just wing it.
I started off talking about being from Baltimore, but I couldn’t quite remember how I set up the joke in my Moleskine and it fell flat. Wasn’t awful, but just wasn’t funny. Luckily I had a lot of guys in the audience who were from Baltimore so they at least were on my side. Kind of like a “ok, white girl, bring it home to Baltimore”. I slabbed on my accent and kept going.
On to the next!
Then I joked about my job in retail, and I got some tepid laughter. It wasn’t hysterical, and it was a little too long-winded to get to the punchline. Luckily, once I got to the punchline, it got the laugh, and I felt all right. I’m not killing, but this room is about 10 half-drunk comics who have heard it all. You just aren’t going to kill, and that’s ok! Tepid laughter from a comic means I should hold on to it for another open mic.
Then I kind of forgot what else to say. SMASH CUT: DATING JOKES!
I hate dating jokes. I don’t know, I just have heard them all from way funnier women, and they just are always the same. Amy Schumer and Whitney Cummings are the go-to dating joke gurus, and even then sometimes the jokes are like “uuugghhhhh we get it”. But I didn’t know what to say, and I felt like talking about something I know will get a laugh because it is fucking funny. Shout out to my newest Instagram follower “Orgasm.Giverr”. He saved my set. I can improve on it but I have a good set up and I built my confidence back up. The guy in the front was smiling. Devin was laughing because he’s a good guy, but when someone is a stranger and laughs, you feel good.
Then I had some joke about charmers that I honestly know was so good when I had it written, but completely forgot the punchline. I forgot the set up, and a huge chunk of the story. It got a giggle but it fell flat, but I know it can get better with some practice.
I stayed and listened to one last comic, then decided I had to get home for work in the morning. I got some smiles from the other comics, and nods. It felt good to be back. I chatted with a guy from LA outside and we chatted about LA and open mics. He was aloof, like a lot of comics, but he seemed like good company. As I was talking, the MC came outside and asked me how long have I been doing stand up. I just passively said “not very long”, because honestly, either answer isn’t going to make me look good. I was expecting a “oh, I can tell” or something like that, but he nicely said “oh, wow. Well that OkCupid joke was great. It was a great set up, and it was so obvious, yet I never heard anyone say anything about it before. It was really funny.”
That’s all I needed to hear.
So all in all, my “first” open mic (let’s just call it that) was a pretty good time. I was used to “killing” in front of my friends and it made me a bit delusional. I’m so glad I got out there in front of strangers in a room of dudes and just did it. I didn’t do amazing, but I did just fine. That’s how you should be when you start out. You don’t kill every time. If you’re killing when you’re starting, you’re in the wrong room. I learned that tonight, and I’m so glad I did. I texted Devin and want to set up an open mic on Thursday.
a la George Costanza, I’M BACK IN BUSINESS, BABY!
Here’s another feature of #totalhonestytuesday in The Financial Diet! I have always been self-conscious of my thighs, as I’m sure many women can relate, and I decided to show them off to the world. The feedback has been overwhelming and awesome (from women, of course!). Love yourself and love your thunder thighs, ladies! Skinny, curvy, flat, voluptuous: you’re all beautiful. Stop rolling your eyes, it’s true!
I participated in #totalhonestytuesday and was selected to be featured in The Financial Diet! It’s a website about financial literacy for millennials and is co-founded by one of my Maryland writer heroes, Chelsea Fagan. I fangirled out when I saw that she selected and enjoyed my piece about how I’ve been feeling since I hit my one year sobriety mark. I loved this concept and was moved by what people shared. What would you like to be totally honest about next week?
Check out the first installation of #TotalHonestyTuesday!
Here’s the caption I wrote for my contribution
Some come to Governors Ball for the social media glory, some come for the bands, some come for the Molly: I come for the fashion.
Not that I don’t look forward to seeing Conor Oberst, Atmosphere, Death From Above 1979, yadda yadda DRAAAAAAKE yadda, but I love seeing what New York’s finest put together for the music festival to end all music festivals. I know I looked forward to what I put together.
Now, just because I love the fashion inspiration of Gov Ball doesn’t mean I’m gonna put on a flower headdress and a paisley peasant top. This look is perfect for a first day. We have the fun pattern of a casual Lush sundress, paired with my favorite Halogen chambray denim button down with cool embellishments that always catch my eye in the mirror. Since I’ll be on my feet in dirt all day, the shoes have to be comfortable and able to get muddy. See: Sam Edelman chain sandals. I got them for a steal and they feel like air, despite the weird toe ring, they really do bring an outfit together without sacrificing comfort. Last but certainly not least, it’s time for the panama floppy hat to make its debut in NYC! This hat took a lot of courage to try; I usually steer clear of a trendy accessory, but I love the sun blocking and chic touch it brings to any outfit.
Ah, the Romper. I took the plunge and gave it try. Like I said, I’m not super big on trends but decided that this is the time to really go for it and try out anything! The romper was a steal from H&M and I always envied how they looked on my other friends, so I gave it a go. Aside from the obstacle course it takes to go to the restroom in this thing, it’s a super comfortable, easy chic outfit. I added the Lucky Brand flannel because it might rain, and also I just had to throw some grunge on it to make it more “me”. I may or may not nix it, I know I should, but I just can’t let go. The galaxy vans are my favorite random purchases I made last fall and they will not miss the opportunity to make an appearance at Gov Ball. To top it all off, I added a House of Harlow necklace that’s edgy but bohemian. Boom.
I am obsessed with this outfit. I know a lot of people hate wedge kicks, but I am not one of them. I love my Baublebar Courtney Bib Necklace like a child, and it takes any simple outfit to another level. I got a black and white dress on eBay and it has pockets, so, I mean… And the Kut from the Kloth denim jacket is my favorite jacket–if you ever need a denim jacket, this brand is your best friend. They have stretch, comfort, and durability that just can’t be beat. It’s a little steep in price, but I’ve worn it so many times it pays for itself.
I am really excited for the weekend ahead and it feels great to be back in NYC. I know I will be moving soon and I can’t help but smile every time I’m here. I look forward to making this city my home in the future, but for now I’m going to sit back, slab on some SPF 50, and enjoy some of these sick beats.
Some days, mascara works better than coffee when it comes to waking yourself up. Slick on some black or brown, wiggle to reach each lash, and voila–you look like you got a full night’s rest, and your eyes look defined. Who needs 8 hours of sleep when you can wake yourself up in 8 wiggles of a wand? Don’t answer that.
So, any woman, from tomboy to girly girl (why do descriptions of women’s personal styles have to be related to children?…I digress) can agree that mascara is a great, no fuss way to put some pep in your face, but there’s always a debate over which mascara we should use. Covergirl churns out Cover Girl models cycle after cycle that tell you to buy their latest mascara innovation, but you’re mostly paying for the packaging and endorsement instead of a quality product. But, at 8-10 bucks a pop, who can complain? It does the job, it doesn’t leave you black rings under your eyes that make you look like a drunk hamburglar, and you’re fine. It met the status quo.
Look, I’ve settled a lot in my life. I’m sure you have, too. I’ve taken mediocre jobs, I’ve made mediocre test scores, and you betta beiliiieeeee I have taken many-a-medicore lover–but why?! Because it’s easy, convenient, and isn’t that big of a commitment if you’re only putting $10 on the line, right? Well, I think that is ridiculous. It’s time to treat yourself to the better things in life. It’s time to peek into the treasure chest that is luxury beauty products. It’s time to meet your new fabulous, fancy, albeit cliche best friend, Chanel Inimitable Intense Mascara.
“It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance,” Chanel Mascara says, puffing perfect O’s from her long cigarette, eating some type of negative calorie salad, or something. Meanwhile next to her is your old party girlfriend Covergirl, who is smoking a Newport and stuffing her face with cake a la Sweet Dee in Sunny. We loved that party girl, but we’re getting older, and cake and cigs just aren’t a good look anymore.
This mascara rings in at a sweet n’ pretty $32.00. Drug store mascara is usually $8.00. It doesn’t take a genius to see that single digits are less than double digits in price, but hear me out! Mascara is used every single day, and has the life span of about 4-6 months from opening. So, at the very least you are using this item for 122 days (about 4 months) at .26 cents a day. Not so bad, huh? Just don’t do the math for your 3 month maximum lifespan of your $8.00 mascara. Math is hard. Let your mind relax.
Here’s another fun math problem! If you can just swap making your own coffee instead of grabbing a Starbucks for a week, you can afford the best mascara on the market for about 4-6 months. Doesn’t seem too painful when you think of it like that, right? I understand the importance of coffee. I believe in coffee. It’s the single most important staple in my food pyramid of chicken nuggets, protein shakes that are curdled with powder, and Diet Coke. If I can brew some coffee and throw it in a thermos instead of strolling over to a Barista named Pistachio, you can, too.
Look, I understand, money is tight for everyone, and I am no exception. I am incredibly frugal and saving as much as I can, as I hope many of you are, too. I admit I do not have as many bills as my friends. I do not have college loans, and I don’t pay rent because I pay it in being mortified that I live at home. I still have bills, but they just don’t compare to the bills my friends in NYC and LA, or anywhere else, have. I get it. $32 is a seemingly dumb amount for a simple beauty product, but try to look at the cost benefits here.
This mascara not only volumizes, but it separates each individual lash with one small wiggle of a wand. I prefer black mascara, but it also comes in Brun (brown) and Purple. On top of that voluminizing, mascara tends to get very clumpy and make your look like a spider, but this mascara is also light as a feather. *Puts mic out to audience* How light is it? It’s so light you can put it on your bottom lashes without worrying about raccoon eyes or clumping. The look can easily go from casual to dramatic with just an extra coat, which is a huge plus for those of us who are not the best with eyeliner smoky eyes. Sounds typical, right? Well, let’s look.
I apologize that my eyes are red. Allergies are killing me, and I just got home from a long day of work. I don’t think I need to tell you how different each eye looks. You, like me, have eyeballs. I never put mascara on the bottom lashes of my eyes because I already have dark circles under my eyes from sleeping 8 minutes a day. See? I’m as dramatic as my mascara! Hear me groan! My mascara looks perfect, and like it was just slicked on. I put this make up on 10 hours ago, in the car, while driving to work. See how I only have a little bit of darkness under my eyes? That could be mascara, or it could just be my face. We will never know. What we do know, is this stuff not only works, but it looks flawless. All. Day. Long.
Now, removal. Ah. Is there anything better than taking off your make up after a long day? Mascara is always the hardest to take off, because it is just so stubborn to stay on forever and let the party continue even when it’s time for bed. I have so many pillowcases ruined by mascara, and it isn’t only from me flailing my face into them to muffle my crying. I expected removing Chanel from my face would be pretty difficult, especially because my lashes have taken such a liking to her, but it wasn’t too hard at all.
Ok, please tell me you at least giggled at that. No? Whatever, I thought it was funny. Anyway, that was one haphazard slick of Clinique’s Take the Day Off balm and I looked like a clown that checked into rehab. I will admit removing was not as easy as application, but god forbid you have to splash water on your face several times to remove dirt, oil, and make-up from your face, am I right?
Verdict: TREAT YO SELF. Buy it. Nordstrom has a sale this Memorial Day weekend with “Mascara Madness” where you can buy 2 mascaras and get one free. That’s a year and a half, 18 months, 540 days, of impeccable eyes for around $65. It is a bit painful to take that first plunge, but it will be so worth it. Hit up Nordstrom this Memorial Day weekend and get in on this deal! There’s also a half-yearly sale lasting through the 31st boasting up to 40% off of items throughout the store. Or just buy it online at Nordstrom, or any department store. That’s the beauty of Chanel. She’s ubiquitous with beauty, and any retailer is eager to sell her, and any customer is happy to have her.
A year ago today I got out of the most toxic relationship in my life. It was not easy. Actually, it was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. There were good times shared with my love, most of which were outweighed with disastrous lows. There were fights, stealing, lies, but above all else, there was delusion, as most relationships create over time. After 8 years, the ride had ended. It was time to crank up some Taylor Swift and stuff my face with fast food, because I ended my relationship with alcohol, and I had no idea what was going to happen next. Little did I know, everything was going to change for the better–it just took hard work and time to get there. My first step was leaving Los Angeles to move home to start over, so-to-speak, in Ellicott City, Maryland.
A year ago I was on a plane from LAX that was delayed several hours, giving me plenty of time to think about just what I’m doing with my life. I was half-drunk the night before when I told my best friend as I nursed my, what is now my last, drink called “Baby’s First Bourbon”, and said to her out loud for the first time, “I think this is my last drink. I’m quitting. I’m really scared”. Now, we all have been there when a friend groans those 4 little words “I’m never drinking again”, and we are always there for them, especially when they snap out of it come Friday at 5 PM to bring on another round of liver roulette, but this time was different. My friend could tell. I could feel it, too. We knew this was the end of not only my time in Los Angeles, but the end of an era. My life was going to completely change forever. We called it a night and went home, fell asleep together, woke up first thing in the morning, and hugged goodbye. Neither of us were ready to accept that it was really over, and our skin-tight friendship was going to change. It had to. My other friend drove me to the airport and tried to hold my hand, to show support, but I bat it away, because feelings are bad, bad, bad. He pulled up to LAX, where I once landed with a dream and a cardigan, to drop me off with a sobering reality and my very last hangover. We hugged goodbye, I stole a loner cart to carry my bags because I secretly wanted to be caught and delay my return home, and I was off to Maryland to live with my completely unaware parents. They knew I was moving home, but they had no idea what was going on with me in my head. No one really knew, or at least knew how to deal with it. They just knew I was always on the verge of tears and explosively angry all of the time, a common result of alcoholism, but they didn’t really know why. I didn’t really know why. Now was my time to figure it out, and boy, was it clear as day when I put the drink down to figure it out for myself.
The emotional baggage that comes out of the closet when you decide to no longer drown it with whiskey quickly fades away when you’re sobbing in your parent’s guest room for no reason aside from thinking about where you life has gone. I was at a low that I would love to wish on every person who has wronged me, because it was a terrible experience. I didn’t see any hope in the future, and I was so weak emotionally and physically that I found no joy in life anymore. My parents had to go on vacation while I was alone in an empty house, and I just sat in bed, contemplating what I wanted to do. I was scared. No, I was terrified. The murky waters of alcohol drained and the pieces of my life were clogging up the drain, waiting for me to scoop them up and examine just where it all ‘went wrong’. But nothing went wrong, I just went about coping with what wasn’t right in a completely incorrect way.
I did sobriety my own way, which involved moving home from Los Angeles, simply choosing “not today”, writing for sober blogs and maintaining my own blog, therapist visits, and psychiatrist visits. I struggle with depression and manic anxiety, and the therapist/psychiatrist visits went hand-in-hand with recovery and getting back on medication. The anonymous programs weren’t a great fit for me, but I attend them on occasion to support friends and to be around people who understand what it’s like to compromise your happiness and life with a drug. One of the best parts of this experience of sobriety is I can only really thank myself, because only I could make this choice on my own, and only I could stop numbing my feelings with the easy escape of drugs and alcohol. That beats any high a drug could attempt to offer. I absolutely had professional help and support from my parents and friends along the way, but no one held a gun to my head and made me put the bottle down. That was all on me, and only me. That’s an incredible feeling of pride I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy because they don’t deserve to be happy, of course.
The first 100 days of sobriety are the hardest, and it’s not because of alcohol cravings. It’s not the alcohol you crave, it’s the escape. You realize how bored you are, because you aren’t drinking to waste time and energy. You also realize you don’t have any hobbies or or a life outside of partying, and that can get downright depressing. That’s where the therapy really helped, because I was at a complete loss as to who I was and what I wanted. I was able to redirect my map of life and figure out what I wanted, which was exhausting to even think about. I wrote every day for a sober blog to share how I felt, hoping for anyone who was in the same boat as me telling me those magic words “I understand how you feel”. I was shocked at the support I got from people of all ages from all different walks of life. There are so many people who quit drinking, and they were all looking for exactly what I wanted: a community. The writing helped me navigate through my muddled thinking and figure out what was bothering me, what I wanted for my future, and if it was normal to feel so incredibly lost yet optimistic at the same time. I felt accepted. I felt loved. I felt like I was going to be OK, even if I didn’t quite feel OK. Sobriety, real sobriety, anyway, needs a community. You need support. You need to talk about it. Whether you choose to go to a meeting or write like I did, the support was what got me through those heart-wrenching first 100 days. In those 100 days you will lose all of your friends just about, you will lose a sense of who you are, you will lose a ton of weight (the only thing that kept me going at first), and you won’t sleep a wink, so you have plenty of time to think about good ole alcohol and how he’s doing just fine without you. Those 100 days were the best, hardest, most painful 100 days I’ve ever had to experience, but once I passed that threshold, I lit up a cigar, ate some Chinese food, and kicked back, because I knew in my heart I could finally do it. I could beat this habit. I am better off without him. Without them. Without all of that toxicity that made me that miserable person I once knew. I could really do this. I was doing it. I did it.
I moved from LA for many more reasons besides wanting to get sober. Sobriety was the least of my worries. I realized that it was not my dream to work in production anymore, and that I just really don’t fit in with or like the West Coast mentality. I don’t even like the beach, for God’s sake. Los Angeles is a ton of fun, don’t get me wrong, but it is filled with self-aggrandizing people who don’t stimulate me, especially in the entertainment world. It just isn’t for everyone. But I stayed for my friends, I stayed because I don’t quit anything, I stayed because moving was a huge, exhausting hassle, the excuses go on. But then I realized my only reasons for staying were for other people, and none of them were for me. I love comedy and I never performed, nor did I want to because I was so depressed that leaving the bed to shower was an ongoing battle. I was working incredibly long hours at jobs I didn’t care about to pay my bills, and I knew they weren’t leading me anywhere. I never wrote anymore, and I began to resent everyone and everything, all because I was miserable and not doing anything for myself. I would date guys who were actually really good people (???? Not clear) and brazenly use them for meals, going out, and a punchline. I still feel gross about it, especially because I know how it feels to be used. Most of them are dating nice girls now…probably?
I also was the group jester that people relied on to make them laugh and have fun, and I filled the role, as most comic folk tend to do. It takes two to be resentful, and I for sure dug my own grave, right down to my crunchy, bitter core. I don’t harbor those resentful feelings so much anymore, but there are some people I had to let go of when I got sober simply because I knew our friendship was a sham outside of alcohol. I was far from a perfect friend, but I was also not treated well by a lot of people I used to consider close friends. With that being said, I chose to never stand up for myself. I wasn’t doing anyone any favors by pretending to be OK and their friend. I did that way too much and that would make the friendship end in a much worse way than it needed to over the years, simply because I didn’t have the courage to end it or express how I felt. I’m sorry for hurting people when I was trying to relieve myself of the burden of needing to confront a friend. I guess I just assumed I would be treated perfectly, which can’t really be achieved unless I set the standards of how I expect to be treated. I let it seem OK, and thus people did whatever they were used to doing. It is as simple as that. I know those people aren’t reading this, but in case you are, I am sorry for taking the easy way out. I know you’re fine without me, and, please don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m fine without you, too. That doesn’t mean I don’t harbor guilt from being immature. I hope you’re well.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, I empathize with you and also implore you to talk with them honestly and without hypocrisy or judgment. That is a tall order, but expressing your concern in a caring way can at least make them evaluate how their actions have been affecting you and others. If you are looking for advice on recovery or anything, please message me. I would love to talk about my journey with you if it can help you get sober or at least consider it. However, when it comes to your friends using, it’s unfortunately a very slippery slope that can easily cost your friendship, especially if you aren’t sober or have gone through recovery yourself. I’m by no means saying I can now officiate interventions because I am sober, but I know if my friends who were black out the night before told me I had a problem, I would resent them and definitely not feel comfortable being around them. At the end of the day you’re dealing with a very sick person who is at a debilitating low in their self-esteem, and they will be extremely sensitive to what you say. If the situation seems too extreme for even a decent conversation, there are a lot of resources you can find on sober websites that can be a better guidance.
I wish I could tell you that the user “will figure it out” but most of the time it takes a devastating rock bottom to want to get sober, especially at our age. I was very ‘lucky’ to have what happened to me to lead me to seek sobriety and change my life, and I still struggle with coping with those events every day. Toxic relationships don’t end the first time something bad happens; they end when you’ve had at least several months or years of misery to really drive the point home that YOU ARE NOT GOOD TOGETHER, JUST STOP TALKING TO EACH OTHER AND MOVE ON. But I was in love, and love is as blind as it is drunk, right?
When you’re sober, you face everything that you numbed, and I was numbing a lot. I was still vehemently upset over things that happened in 2007. There were a lot of repressed feelings that came out of the dark after I got sober, and you will have to work with a professional (in my case) or a sponsor to dissect and cope with them. It will be the hardest and most painful thing you will have to do, but the end result will make you feel so free, there is literally not one person in the world who regrets it if they take it seriously and commit 150%. That is a fact. I am not perfectly happy and I have bad days, but I can face them like a normal human instead of a petulant teen who didn’t get her way. It’s liberating to act your age…sometimes.
Life will always be difficult and challenging. You can’t control that, but you can control how you react to it, who you allow in your life, how you teach people to treat you…I learned the hard way, but sometimes that’s the most effective way to learn. Choosing sobriety cost me a lot of ‘friends’, relationships, jobs, living situations, independence, but I couldn’t be happier with my decision. I can handle my struggles with my mental illnesses with so much more grace, and my crippling sensitivity and insecurity have become humbling blessings rather than hindrances. I can see the people in my life for who they are: some bad, some good, some saints. You will cut out at least 75% of the people in your life, not because they don’t support you (everyone will for the most part) but because you love so much more that you can’t fit anyone who doesn’t mean the world to you into your life anymore. The fair-weather friends will arrive out of the woodwork and they will say they’re proud, which they are, and you can graciously accept their kind words, but you don’t feel anything else for them. They’re human and couldn’t handle you at your worst. That doesn’t make them bad people, but it doesn’t make them your friends.
Like many people in the comedy world, I am incredibly sensitive and pretty insecure about a lot of things that no one who likes me notices. I’m also introverted. I have trouble being around people and especially if I’m not making jokes to get through it. I am also cursed with excellent social skills, and people tend to confuse being good at talking to others with extroversion. It makes no sense unless you’re a gregarious introvert. There should be a group for us, where we talk a bunch then withdraw completely to our cell phones at the end of each meeting. When I left my bed when I was depressed, I was punching in at a shitty part-time job, pasting a smile on my face so people don’t ask the worst question for a depressed person, “what’s wrong?”. I over compensated with alcohol and drugs because for once I felt “on” when I used. I felt like I could talk to anyone about anything, and I didn’t fear the rejection. I felt extroverted, for once. I certainly couldn’t of dated without it, being that I still felt like that gangly middle schooler that lives in all of us. It also didn’t help that my friends were what guys wanted to fuck and I succumbed to being the designated ugly fat friend (ie: the ever-sensitive acronym, DUFF), without the invite. I’m neither ugly or fat, and I still got plenty of attention from guys, but I carried myself like a duff, and thus was treated as such. It’s funny because I always blamed LA for not “getting attention” from guys because I’m not a petite actress, but when I came back to LA in February, I felt completely different. Guys were all eager to buy me a drink or talk to me, and I really didn’t look much different, but I carried myself in a way I never did in LA. I was just happy. I was with my same petite actress friends, I was confident, I was sober, and people notice a smile in a sea of frowns and botox. What I’m saying here is shut up, you’re beautiful, you’re just feeling insecure and ridiculous, and that’s normal. There are plenty of writers and producers who think you’re hot (at the very least), and who on EARTH thinks hot guys are attractive? Oh, everyone? Ok. My bad.
It’s funny that I relied on alcohol to make friends or talk to guys, because I am astronomically better without it in every facet of my life. I am a much better friend, a better worker, a better teammate, and a WAY better date. I feel freer than I did with alcohol or drugs because I know that this is the real me talking, and if someone doesn’t like it, then they just don’t like me. It’s not “oh I was drunk and annoying and that’s why they didn’t call” or other dumb excuses, and that has absolutely re-defined my social life. I have been complimented on how radiant and happy I look more than I ever have in my entire life within just one year. I also have been bought way more drinks than I ever did when I drank, which is such a drag, because I really just want them to buy me mozzarella sticks. I never really felt beautiful before, and now I feel fucking gorgeous. Some people may not agree, and I don’t care, because I know that I feel great and I’m trying my best and at least all my girlfriends tell me I’m pretty on Instagram so WHATEVER. I go out with my pretty friends and I feel like I belong, not that I have to put on a show to fit in. It’s a way I’ve never felt before when I drank. I never realized how much I felt I had to over compensate until I took away the crutches of alcohol and fell on my face. I dusted off the dirt, knocked the mud out of my ears, and voila: who knew self-respect was hiding just below that layer of adolescent insecurity? I still have my insecurities for sure, but now I have self-esteem that I really worried I would never be able to build back up again.
The numbness you experience when abusing drugs and alcohol takes away the pain, but it also numbs you to how it’s depleting your self-respect and self-esteem. It begins to numb you as to how you want to be treated by significant others or friends. It numbs you to realize when you should have ended a friendship years ago, but hold onto it because you believe you aren’t worthy of a good friend. It makes you call people friends over the years and they don’t remember to wish you a happy birthday, and you cry yourself to sleep, and brush it off the next day like nothing happened. They will hook up with a guy you had a rocky history with and tell everyone not to tell you, and when you find out, they mock you for ‘still caring’ instead of apologizing, and you just agree with them that you were out of line. You’ll surround yourself with people who gossip about you constantly, under the guise of ‘concern’, and yet never bring that concern to your attention. You’ll put all your eggs in baskets that never return your favors when you need them most. And it sucks. But that’s what happens when you use: you don’t earn many real friends. It makes you gravitate toward people who show they care about you as little as you do. It numbs you to anything good about yourself, and bleeds out all of your weaknesses. Toxic people are attracted to it. They can smell it from a mile away. The good people slowly slither out of your life because they know there is nothing they can do, and they’re wise for pulling away. The user won’t notice that; the narcissism envelopes and cascades over them with self-loathing. Users only become susceptible to those who treat them the way they like to be treated: like shit.
Those of you who stuck with me after everything are in my life forever. I am thankful and appreciative. I now don’t look at who I lost, but now I look at what I’ve gained. Who was there. Who made me smile. Who went out of their way when it wasn’t convenient for them. That’s what matters now. That’s what makes me so happy and so lucky. It’s obvious who you are, because I’ve told you in some way or another. The even better part is that I don’t feel angry toward people who weren’t there for me, either. They just aren’t people in my life, and that’s ok. I never felt that way about people before. Here lies reason 34967 why quitting drinking and drugs was a great moment for me.
I had a lot of fun times but most of them were forgotten or become distant blurs of what we considered to be fun. It became more of a Stockholm Syndrome, if anything. “This is what we are supposed to do while we are young, right? This has to be fun. THIS IS FUN!” well, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have fun some times because I did. Then I turned 22. The ride had ended. The high couldn’t be reached. It was smooth depressing sailing from here on out.
Today is a great day. I’m thankful to my parents for helping me by letting me move home completely unplanned and without warning, because I was too proud to tell them how I was feeling and what happened to me. I’m thankful for my therapist and psychiatrist for helping me dig into what got me to this breaking point, and what to do to cope and be the best I can be. I want to thank myself, me one year ago today, as I was nursing a drink the night before, realizing I needed to quit if I ever wanted to be better. Commitment is not my strongest suit, and I am glad to see I can commit if I find the right person to love. I just never thought that person would be me.
Just a recap, in 365 Days, 8,765 Hours, 525,948 Minutes Sober, I have done the following:
- Moved across the country to live with my parents #humblebrag
- Worked in customer service for the largest Sports Apparel franchises, and now as a stylist at one of the largest Luxury Department stores in America
- Had over $50,000 in restaurant sales as a waitress
- Started performing Improv and re-started Stand Up Comedy
- Made new friends from all walks of life
- Lost 35 pounds and can run 11 miles (unfortunately I need a lot more work on my health…french fries, man)
- Started my own freelance styling and eBay boutique with over $2,500 in sales
- Launched this professional website with a launch of over 250 visitors in one day!
- Traveled to Boston, DC, New York, Raleigh, San Francisco, The PCH and Big Sur, and re-visited Los Angeles
- I bought Taylor Swift’s 1989 and I don’t care who knows it
- Had some interviews for jobs that didn’t amount to anything, but opened future doors
- Have built great relationships with my parents, family, and old friends
- Went to doctors!!! (big phobia of mine)
- Rekindled my love for writing, comedy, and fashion again
- Read BOOKS. READ, people. READ!
- Saved over $4,000 in drinking costs (alcohol, drinks at bars, Ubers, ‘I’m sorry’ brunches)
- Built a savings account, a CD, made investments, and became financially literate
- Saw Ace Enders and Brand New live in concert (again)…Attending Governor’s Ball in June. Remembered how much I used to love listening to music and playing music
- Quit drinking, a-duh
And, most importantly…
- Found out how to have fun and be happy (sp?)
Thank you, thank you, thank you for reading and your support! I’m doing what I can to keep it up, and some days are easier than others, so your kindness does not go unnoticed. Hopefully there will be a 2 year re-cap next year, but I just have to take it one day at a time. Here’s to another 365 Days, 8,765 Hours, 525,948 Minutes Sober!
Stay tuned. I’m just getting started.
This week I was welcomed on to The Rawal Report podcast to talk about the controversial film “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck” now streaming on HBOGo and HBONow and HBOTheCableNetwork. Since I was a petulant teen bursting with my own ‘teen spirit’ (please forgive me), I have loved Nirvana and Kurt Cobain. His posters hung in my room, and I devoured every article I could ever read about him and his tragic life. He was a walking contradiction, where he hated attention, but wanted to be successful, he wanted to be lazy, but he would write a song or create art every day while unemployed, he wanted a family, but pushed away his own family, he hated drug addicts, he became one, he hated phonies, he married Courtney Love….need I say more? Even his journal entries (shown in the picture above) show his self-awareness of just how contradictory he can be.
I admittedly don’t watch movies, but Raj watches enough for the both of us, and it shows. I had a lot of fun talking about one of my favorite rock legends and the best rock documentary I have ever seen. Nirvana fan or not, you have to see this film. From the home footage, the interviews, to the animation, it’s a masterpiece that even Cobain would appreciate. Give it a listen, and I hope you enjoy it! Please do yourself a favor and see this film, but don’t skip on the tissues.