If you let go of nothing else, let this be the one.

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I performed in a comedy contest two years ago. One judge told me to never perform comedy again after my first night. I had two more sets to do after that. Honestly all he did was piss me off — I may or may not have semi-intentionally torched that bridge while I was still standing on it. I may receive the grace at some point to make that right and I may not. I don’t know yet.

A second judge watched all three sets and then called bullshit on 90% of my jokes.

“If who you are communicating on stage is who you really think you are, then someone lied to you. Go find out who you really are, she’s the woman I want to see in your comedy next year.”

I then went home and promptly broke my ankle, had two major surgeries on my leg and was left without my go to for approval places, giving me 14 months to think about what both comics told me.

Neither judge was wrong.

I let fear rule my choices in jokes.

I wanted everyone to like me.

That was my first “big” comedy deal and I played it safe and I played it weak. I played “cute” to win people over.

It’s no wonder they didn’t like me, I didn’t even like the woman I pretended to be on stage.

I spent 14 months taking more than my comedy set back to the studs, I took myself there and I ended 2014 with a lot of letting go.

My trash pile includes:

Friends on Facebook who were only there because I thought I had something to prove — They were there as a see, you should have believed in me – look at me now kind of thing. Some were people I used to know but am no longer friends with and others weren’t even people I actually like in real life.

Names I’ve been called, things I’ve been told. Words like “lazy”, “Slut”, “Bitch”, “unwanted”, “stupid”, “bossy”, “Controlling”, “Bastard”.

Filling that wound with applause and achievements.

My need to control people by being cute or overly submissive.

Mind reading. I suck at it anyway.

Places and friends that are not safe.

Tilting at windmills — wasting energy and trying to change what cannot be changed. Controlling others.

Purposefully giving people a reason not to like me if I think they already don’t. Burning bridges while standing on them.

The desire to be known being over run by the fear of being found out. — that’s a big one and I’ll write more about that as the year unfolds.

Now you’d think after 30 years in a recovery program, I’d have all of this down cold. Notsomuch. One of the worst tag lines that’s going to take work for me is being told,

“I can’t wait for the day when I can prove to the world what a bitch you really are.”

That sentence alone has been the root of so many choices. That’s the sentence that I’ve allowed to define my actions and word choices for so many years. It also defined my sets and choice of jokes.

That’s the fear both comics saw manifest itself in that small theater in Indiana.

I learned a lot at The Cove. I learned that I’m not a bitch and that seasons pass just fine without my interference. I’m not any of those other labels either.

I’ve learned that I can know that for myself without having to inappropriately lean on those who already knew that for me.

So, I call a do over not only in my approach to comedy, but my approach to relationships as well and 2015 is just the year to do that.

Happy New Years you guys.

Much love,

Deana

Time to face the music

messIt’s reckoning time boys and girls.

My office is a nightmare.

No really.

I’m not exaggerating.

It is so jam-packed with stuff that I can barely walk in the room.

I’ve resorted to using my lap top on my back porch just to avoid the mess. Only problem is, it’s winter and baby it’s cold outside.

I have an excuse.

I’ve had a broken leg for 14 months and so I’ve spent the last 14 months just throwing things in my office and thinking, “I’ll deal with it later.”

That is a LONG time to stock pile crap.

Bills to be filed.

Boxes of I-don’t-have-a-place for-junk that I probably really don’t need.

Crafts that I thought I’d work on while convalescing and didn’t.

Books I never got around to reading but want to someday.

I even let other people store things they didn’t have room for in there like an old turn table, huge inflatable balls, stuffed animals, and broken things.

There are only two things that are motivating me right now.

  1. PAIN: It’s too cold to use my laptop outside.
  2. CHANGE AND THE CHANCE TO CREATE SOMETHING NEW. My oldest son moved out a couple of weeks ago and my youngest wants his room. That frees up his old room which is larger and nicer than my office. I now have the opportunity to clean out my office and move it to another room and create a guest bedroom in the smaller space.

 

If I’m being honest it turns out my office isn’t the only area of my life I’ve been putting off to deal with later. I’ve stock piled a lot of things in the last 14 months, anger, hurt feelings, insecurity, fear, you name it, I loaded it up. I’ve even gained 21 pounds since I broke my leg.

My physical weight is always a good indicator that I’m stuffing things. I stuffed a lot.

While my son and I removed over seven bags of physical trash from all three rooms, I thought it would be a good time to let go of the emotional garbage as well.

Touch it once, deal with it and move on. Make that phone call. Write that letter. Say that prayer. Let it go.

I want to end 2014 on a clean slate and start 2015 fresh.

How about you?

What things have you stock piled this year to deal with later?

Why not start today?

Coulda Woulda Shoulda Take Two

ImageFor those who tried to click on this yesterday, I do apologize. A technical glitch (ie. ID10T error) caused this post to temporarily post prematurely.

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Nothing quite says “good morning” like walking outside and realizing your car has been stolen and nothing quite makes finding the car bittersweet like discovering that the thief kept all of your electronics.

Granted the whole issue is 90% my fault. If I hadn’t decided to unpack my car in the morning because I was “tired” from a road trip, I’d still have my camera, IPad, and laptop. Lesson learned.

And I’d still have my video footage of my comedy as well as the boys high school graduations if I’d backed my camera up to more than just my laptop. But I didn’t.

Oh well.

Coulda woulda shoulda does nothing for how I feel about the whole situation though. Truth is, I feel violated.

Feeling violated is a perfectly normal response. Staying stuck in that feeling however, is not.

Even though I wrote a rather funny comedy bit about how the police officer didn’t believe my car was actually stolen and even though I got to tell my bit on a nationally syndicated radio show (Thank you Daren Streblow for that wonderful chance), it was months before I could tell that bit without my voice shaking.

I kept telling myself “It’s just stuff, no big deal. At least we got my car back” but I didn’t really believe it.

My “stuff” – my tapes, my stories, my photos, were stolen in July 2013. It is now March 2014 and only now have I saved up enough money to replace my lap top and my camera. I even took that as forgive me for this “a sign from God” that maybe I shouldn’t do comedy ever again.

I mean let’s face it, all proof that I’d ever done comedy was now gone.

We let fear get the best of us during the in between stage of theft and recovery. I live in Fort Knox. I no longer keep my front door unlocked. I keep lights on in my house, I leave nothing in my car and I don’t go anywhere alone.

I really needed to take back my peace of mind. I made the decision to replace what was stolen once and for all.

This is my first post on my new laptop. This is me telling whomever stole my stuff that you can’t steal my heart.

Honestly, I could have probably found a way to replace it sooner, but I think I was punishing myself for allowing it to be stolen in the first place and put it off.

I convinced myself that my $299 Samsung tablet was good enough. It wasn’t. Not for what I do anyway.

I write.

I do stand up comedy.

I take amazing photographs.

I love sitting on my back porch, writing in the sunshine.

I’m doing that today.

I win.

Question for you dear readers. Have you ever had anything stolen? How did you deal with it?

A Subversive Revolution

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This is my last resolve quote. I’ve sat on it for quite a long time. I looked up subversive and it doesn’t sound like a nice person at all. It sound’s rebellious. I’m not rebellious. (okay so that’s a total lie.) And then I remembered, I said “tits” on a Facebook Post and I’m a Christian. That’s pretty subversive if you ask me. Granted it was totally in context of the point I was trying to make even if it is shocking.

I’ve sat here at my desk for well over a week trying to come up with my end of year blog. Every year I take inventory of my life. I write what went well, what didn’t and ponder where I want to go next year. Something ate at me though.

All I saw for days was what I didn’t do in 2013. 

I didn’t ride with the Tulsa Diva’s like I said I would.

I didn’t walk the Rt 66 Marathon or run in a 5K

and I still stink at banjo. I didn’t practice enough so I have no one to blame but myself.

Now the fact that I had a physical limitation that took most of that off the table did not matter to me, all I could see was I failed my physical goals for the year. I couldn’t see my successes at all.

You know what?

As I wrap up 2013, I’ve decided that the most subversive thing I can do, for today, is to tell my broken brain to shut the heck up and start agreeing with God that I am who He says I am. I’ll admit that I do sometimes struggle with that.

2013 rocked!

I began 2013 with one word on my mind, Resolve. Every week I’d look up quotes that spoke to me and focus on them. It’s interesting to me to see the theme now.

  • Dare to be powerful.
  • Be my own best friend.
  • Get outdoors.
  • Free myself from criticism, fear, negative self-talk, and discouragement.
  • Push myself to my limits
  • challenge myself
  • be fabulous
  • don’t give up
  • trust my courage.
  • Remember who you are.

Wow, what a list. I did all that. While it’s true I didn’t do it all perfectly every day, I did do it to the best of my abilities. That’s an accomplishment. I also allowed myself to go on a four day vacation with some friends – only the second time I’ve ever done that in my life. That’s pretty cool.

  1. I gave up my IPhone in order to reconnect with real people face to face instead of online.
  2. I got a ton of stage time performing locally. While it was exhausting, it was fun.
  3. I met some personal heroes like Anne Lammot, Mark Lowry and Jennifer Rothschild (we sat next to each other on a plane. It was awesome)
  4. My humor piece about never having met Mark before is the most shared story of the year. He’s read it, I’m embarrassed, but I am allowing myself to admit it is funny and besides now that I’ve met him I’m a little less embarrassed that he read it. oh and thank you thank you thank you for that! You guys are awesome.
  5. I drove 15 hours by myself to podunk Indiana to compete in a clean comedy challenge next to comics who’ve been doing this for years and in front of national celebrities — AND I allowed myself to be critiqued by them. HOLY CANOLLIES — that woman – the one brave enough to do that did not exist five years ago — I’m just saying – we’re talking full on miracle here.
  6. I graduated from Thelma Well’s Daughters of Zion mentoring program and was awarded 30 college credit hours from the seminary she teaches at in Indiana. How cool is that?

Why do I get the feeling that I’ve spent 2013 being subversive and revolutionary and I didn’t even realize it?

I’m presently in a boot, recovering from surgery on my tibia. One of my goals for 2014 will involve physical therapy and learning how to walk again. Beyond that though, I’m still stuck. I don’t have my word or a scripture verse. Somehow, I’m okay with that.

Maybe all I need to do in 2014 is show up and leave the rest up to God.

What do you think?

We are all hypocrites and drama queens

There is a difference between a catastrophe and an inconvenience. While some of us are happy that President Obama won a second term, many are unhappy and are reacting as though this were an earth shattering catastrophe.  Let me make myself clear here — Hurricane Sandy and the destruction to lower Manhattan and other parts of the East coast is a catastrophe – Mitt Romney losing the election is an inconvenience at best. Some  of us need to get a grip.

No matter who you voted for yesterday, today we breathe in, we put one foot in front of the other and we live. Hopefully we live for something outside of ourselves. I voted, and those who know me best know who I voted for and why. Granted if you follow me on Twitter, you already know who I voted for and if you are still reading my blog you either agree with me or came to see if God struck me dead with lightning yet.

So for all of my Christian readers who believe I’m in a hand basket headed straight for hell, sorry. I’m still here. And being black-listed for either being a Christian or being a Democrat does not hurt my feelings. I needed time off anyway and now that my entire month of November is free, I can write my book.

I say that a little tongue in cheek in all honesty. Are we really that petty? Hollywood black lists Christians and Christians black list each other over trivial things. Drama queens abound on either side and yet somewhere in the middle is our tribe.

I’ll admit trying to give up anger during an election year has not been easy. I might as well as tried to give up chocolate while working in a candy store. So many things can make my skull split in half, the word “Koolaid” being the most recent thing that brings out my alter-ego “home-girl.” I try to placate her with cookies, but sometimes she comes out and she is U-G-L-Y.

I have an IQ of over 145, I don’t drink koolaid and neither does anyone else I know. I hear that word on both sides of the spectrum. Not only does the far right use it to describe Democrats, I have several atheist friends do the same thing to describe anyone who dares believe in a God.  My writers group is loaded with atheists and progressive Christians. I fall somewhere in the middle I’m sure.

I love my friends dearly, and I know I am a bit of a conundrum to them. I’m a Christian female who gave up my career to raise my family. No regrets. I choose to submit to my husband out of love and respect (not fear or koolaid brainwashing), and yet I am a Democrat. I believe in helping those less fortunate. I believe that women have equal value to men. I believe in a lot of things actually. If I’ve learned nothing from this election season, I’ve learned this: In the final analysis, be us believers of God or not, we’re all hypocrites and drama queens.   

That’s good news to me. Knowing we are all hypocrites means we can let go of our masks and just be ourselves and hopefully learn to love each other.

Now let us put one foot in front of the other, breathe in and out, stop awefullizing everything, quit being a victim and LIVE.

Have you ever played small? Cut it out.

Making myself nothing to suit others is not humility; it’s ego and lack of trust. When I make myself small to “help” someone else feel like they are important what I’m really communicating is I think I’m too big for you to handle and you are too weak to see my greatness. Real relationships require real honesty. If I cannot allow myself to be fully me when we’re together, am I really allowing the other person to be all they can be? Of course not.

Making myself nothing is just another mask for fear. Fear is nothing more than False Evidence Appearing Real. What are we really afraid of when we do that? Rejection? Failure? Pride?

We get caught up in the lie that we are being too prideful if we boast (talk) about our accomplishments. Really? Isn’t playing small prideful as well? Yes, we can be very prideful in our ability to make ourselves small — I see it all the time in church. We get hung up on thinking that playing small pleases God. No it does not.

God did not create us to be small nor did He create us to fit in. We are created in HIS likeness in order to make a difference in this world. We cannot make a difference if we are playing down to nothing.

Making myself nothing so that other people can feel like everything is about manipulation and control. It’s about people pleasing and being liked.

Let go of the control.

Be who you were created to be and make a difference.

You can do it.

I believe in you.