What inspires you?
What makes you get out of bed every morning and go “…Ok fine, fuck it. I’m up!” and get your day going?
For me, it’s hard work. Not even my own hard work. OTHER people’s hard work. My mom is retiring this year from her position as a Staff Specialist for the American Hospital Association, and I cannot help but think of her every time I’m having a “bad” day. I could not do what she did. Well, I could if I had to, I think? I don’t know…I don’t wanna know lol What I do know is that for over 30 years my mom woke up at 6 AM every week day, braved The Hawk (what we call Chicago Winters), and made the lives of people around her easier, and better. All the while there’s never been a time where I couldn’t call and talk to her for an hour about whatever bullshit I was dealing with in my life. Thing is? I’m one of four of her children. And we have a big family too, so I assume more people called her than just me with their bullshit! She made time for us all. Meanwhile if I have a 15 minute convo about a single subject I don’t like, my whole day is ruined!...She’s better at multi-tasking than I am is what I’m saying.
I also think of my brothers in the mornings before I get up. They have kids, and wives, and they work physically taxing jobs that require so many hours that they barely get rest, yet still have to balance and provide for their offspring. They do an amazing job. Balancing their own dreams and emotions as well as their families. I don’t have a kid. I don’t even have a damn dog. I get thrown off-track so easily just managing myself, it’s almost embarrassing. I make up for it best I can by being almost psychotically myopic when I finally do decide to focus on something. In those moments, nothing else matters. I turn my phone off, I turn some music on, and I sacrifice best I can for this one moment of inspiration, because who knows when I’ll get the next spark? I'm protecting me from…well, ME. I don't write every day. But when I do write, I hoard. I've got hundreds of jokes that haven't seen the light of day. So whenever I want to do a new set, I just pull from the stack. I will never run out. I maintain that.
When I write new material, or design posters, or edit audio/video, I am dogged until the last moment. It can take me days, sometimes weeks. I may not shower, shave, or eat, but I get it done! And it’s the hard work of the people I love who motivate me in those moments. The thought of the effort they will put into Monday morning pushes me to press on just one more minute of one more day when pursuing my own passion projects. They do this, daily, because their life requires it. I emulate them. I pretend that I have to, when in reality it is not required of me at all. It’s as if I have nothing outwardly prompting me to move forward. No one outside of me who needs me. I started to feel at one point that whenever I screwed something up in my life, no one was really affected. It used to mess with me mentally. Before I realized that I AM affected, and that should be enough to stop sabotaging myself immediately. But often in my past that wasn't the case.
Case and point, sometimes when my feelings aren’t in order, I tend to hurt other people’s feelings. Not intentionally, but consistently nonetheless. As the saying goes “Hurt people, HURT people”. So I made a resolution (before New Years, so you KNOW it's forrealsies) that I didn’t want to hurt others any longer. In any way. And I'm pretty great about that now. Hell I wouldn’t even swat a fly ?...(Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock reference?...No??? Ok)...Seriously though I never step on bugs. You can learn a lot about people by the way they treat bugs. Not animals...bugs. I accept bugs, slugs, and critters of all kinds. When they wander into my space indoors anywhere I am, I grab a towel and gently place them outside. I give them a second chance, because to me if they ended up in my hands…they fucked up that day lol BAD CHOICE BUG!!! People make fun of me about it, but I don’t give a shit. When someone asks me why I behave this way, I always give the same answer:
“This bug didn’t plan on being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Haven't you had a day like this before? Be glad you got out."
Now if that same bug finds its way into my presence AGAIN? In the words of Al Pacino in Heat, "I will not hesitate to take him down"...Might've been De Niro. I'm (kinda) joking, but I do live by the credo that everyone and everything deserves a second chance, and that has served me well I believe.
And while I have done well by others of late, I can honestly say I have been negligent at times with myself. Not taking care of myself physically, mentally, or emotionally. I had often squandered opportunities in my life simply because I didn’t respect myself enough to stop repeatedly putting myself in harm’s way. Thrill seeking behavior can often be the lifeblood of my comedy, but detrimental to my personal wellbeing in the long run. So this year, my resolution changed from "I don’t want to hurt others", to "I don’t want to hurt myself". If I'm good with me, the rest will fall into place. I am more than enough to create my own happiness. Therefore, that resolution should be more than enough to achieve all my goals. I mean it hurts me to hurt others already, right? So saying "I don't want to hurt myself" is the exact same thing as saying "I don't want to hurt others", except now I don’t eat nearly as much cake in the middle of the night either. Make sense?...Good!
In conclusion, when I see the people I admire, love, and respect, working their asses off because they believe in something greater than themselves, I am always inspired. I am also grateful I don't have that responsibility. I honestly don’t see that "something greater" for myself yet. And I don’t have to yet either. I can still walk with purpose though. Be good to myself. Be good to others. My payment is my lifestyle. I have a relatively easy life. I struggle to get out of my bed just like anyone else trying to make it in this world. But when I get outta bed…it’s noon. An alarm clock is not a part of my day unless I'm flying somewhere awesome, and that's pretty cool to me. I have no one who needs me, and that’s not a bad thing. It just means I have more time to look out for others who may need help but never ask, and I can lend a helping hand whenever, wherever, and however I please. That freedom is special to me. As far as my personal future, I can confidently say this:
Everything I’ve ever put my mind to, I’ve accomplished. I’ve had opportunities to do more, and I didn’t pursue them. Because deep down, I didn’t want to put in the work any longer. That’s the realest truth I could ever divulge. I wanted to coast off of all the hard years of my career that I had already completed. I had a fear of reaching "the next level" because it would have meant having to start back over again at the bottom of whatever that next level was. That fear had permeated the past 4 years of my career. I didn't ever want to struggle again, and it hasn’t led to the best decisions long term to this point. Easy roads were taken, even when I knew better. But I realize now more than ever that there is more hard work to be done, or else I will never be satisfied with the end result. I know I can do so much more if I get out of my own way, once and for all. And for now, that is all the motivation I need to be better.
…But the FIRST thing I need to do? Is get more Instagram Followers than my damn 19 yr old niece. Seriously what the HELL?! If you ever read this Azha, I'm proud of you Boo, truly! lol But DAMN! I travel the world entertaining people from every walk of life, and her dog gets more likes than me?!...His name is Gucci though…maybe I should take note. ??? Meh, maybe tomorrow. ?