And that’s it for this week.
Hope you enjoy friends! And tell a friend to become a Femoir friend!
And that’s it for this week.
Hope you enjoy friends! And tell a friend to become a Femoir friend!
I’ve been watching a lot of Game of Thrones lately… so forgive the very specific partnership picture. I talk about being a lone wolf, but if you watch the show there’s a wolf in this picture so I’m counting it (nerdy laughter!).
Anyway! The latest episode of Femoir: The Podcast is live in iTunes. And it’s talking about PARTNERSHIPS!
I talk about how I’m going to vary my intro like the Simpsons, then I dive into being “particular about my company,” and talk about a famous song from Chicago about partnership. I discuss my solo show and my stand up comedy, make a reference to a delightful Chris Tucker moment, talk about how I write about partnership often, discuss Stage 32, The Other Client List (my web series), talk about Closure, and how not all partnerships can work out.
And I also discuss my upcoming Western.
So much discussed! Take a listen and subscribe for free if it please ya!
And now back to Game of Thrones for me…
I’ve been working on lots of projects lately. Which means I’ve had lots of partners. And I got to thinking about it. Then I got to writing about it. And then I got to publishing the writings about it. And now I’m sharing it with you.
And now I’m gonna go keep working on things. Perchance and perhaps you should do the same.
Not long ago there was an article circulating the comedy community called “Brains Behaving Badly.” I, like many of my peers, read it. Unlike many of my peers I didn’t take it to heart. In fact, I passionately disagree.
I do not believe you have to be deeply damaged to be truly great. I believe you have to be you, whatever that means to you.
Now let me start by making something very, very clear. I do not believe depression is a weakness. I believe it is a malfunction. Something just isn’t firing correctly and many people truly do need medication to fix it. If you suffer from depression, as many of my near and dearest friends do, please seek professional help (http://www.sccc-la.org/). I do not believe you can will yourself out of a legitimate disfunction.
I have been lucky enough to not have to deal with those issues (yet) in my life. I recognize this is pure luck of the draw. In no way do I want to seem like I’m belittling those who really do fight those demons. I am simply trying to voice the creative journey through a different perspective.
So here’s my response. Because I feel like I need to say something. I realize my piece isn’t going to be featured in Rolling Stone and probably won’t reach the same number of people his did. But maybe it’ll reach a few. And that’s what matters to me.
Mr. Gould, I’m so sorry for your loss of a friend and peer in Robin Williams. He truly was a spectacular performer and I can only imagine how tough it would be to lose such a seemingly good man and good friend. And I am so sorry for the loss of other friends of yours to suicide. And for your own struggles with depression. As so many performers have begun openly discussing their own struggles with depression, I in no way disagree with you that depression amongst people who have an uncanny ability to bring so much happiness to others is very real.
But I wholeheartedly refuse to believe that my creative brain will cause me to “self-destruct.”
I said it before, but let me reiterate. I love my creative brain. I love my creativity. I’m grateful every day for it. I do not yet know your level of success, but I can vouch having an overactive imagination. And I know the times it can start to work against me. It takes little more than a look for me to create an entire backstory of a stranger I walk past and a life for us together. I have several imaginary personalities on Twitter who sometimes fight each other. I have gotten so enraptured in writing that I’ve almost burned my kitchen down on more than one occasion because I forget that I’m actually living in the real world. I can vividly picture what will happen when I’m driving near a cliff and how it will feel if my car veers off suddenly or any number of creatures that could be waiting for me outside in the dark as I walk alone at night.
I understand imagination. Both the good and the bad.
But I love my imagination. And I am grateful for it. And I have spent years of my life cultivating it so it stays strong while simultaneously cultivating a strong foundation outside of my own mind so I can reel it in when I know it’s going down a dangerous path. I know how it feels when I let it run free so I’m careful- no, meticulous and disciplined about being proactive about my own positivity.
Yes, it sometimes wins out and I can go in a tailspin. But I’ve created an environment of support around me who can help me quickly get out before I go too deep. And I do everything in my power to stay self-aware of my emotions so I can communicate them openly and do my best to stay balanced.
Comedy gives me the voice to vent and understand my frustrations and pain. It keeps me away from the abyss rather than plunging me into it.
My creativity and imagination are the tools I use to give myself a voice in this world. Even if my conscious mind is in denial about a feeling or an attitude or the status of my life, it will come out clearly in my work. I can’t hide from it. And when sometime goes awry, I know that I will use those same tools to try and understand it and maybe make light of it. Even if it doesn’t work, comedy is how I view the world. It’s how I cope. It’s how I bond. It’s how I communicate. It’s how I comfort. It’s everything to me and does everything for me.
I refuse to believe that I am only as good as my level of anxiety. Of course my imagination can create a number of anxieties when I let it run free. But because I know it can, I do my absolute best to keep in check. I talk to friends and family to make me feel loved and safe. I protect my active imagination and train it to work when I want it to and how I want it to. Then I’m grateful for it and protect it. I protect it from me and from itself. And I do that by constantly, diligently being careful about my friends, my environment, my feelings, my thoughts, my time, and a thousand other smaller factors that are choices I make beyond what I pursue career-wise.
It’s important to talk about depression. And I’m glad we are. But let’s not make unfair generalizations about the nature of any particular brain. I want to be very careful not to feed the already fragile minds of so many up-and-coming creatives who may allow their minds to get the better of them in an unfortunate self-fulfilling prophecy of needing anxiety and depression in order to be accepted as a true comedian.
The imagination is a beautiful thing. To squash it preemptively out of fear it will turn on you is a disservice to yourself and the world around you. And to believe if it doesn’t turn on you that you’re somehow not as good as those who have had it turn is just false.
I think it’s not only a slippery slope, but one that doesn’t even guarantee greatness. There are plenty of other slopes on this mountain. Just look around.
Depression affects everybody no matter how they interpret the world. It’s very real and very serious. It’s even more dramatic when it affects those who are able to bring so much lightness to others while carrying such a heavy weight themselves. I recognize that I lucked out and was dealt a brain and body chemistry that are more balanced than others. Yet it is my imagination helps me to continue to keep that balance and to, whenever I can, bring more light through lightheartedness to those who feel they need it. It works with me, not against me.
I vehemently refuse to believe depression is inherent or inevitable in the mind of the best creatives. Depression, like alcoholism, is a debilitating disease that should be treated with care. But, like alcoholism, it would be unfair to say that just because many great entertainers were alcoholics, you have to be an alcoholic if you want to be a truly great entertainer. It an inaccurate and unfair conclusion that could cause more damage than good.
There are a number of extremely famous comedians who have made millions laugh who have gone on to lead particularly balanced and healthy lives. Lucille Ball, Ellen Degeneres, Carol Burnett, and Mel Brooks are a few that come to mind immediately. Of course they’ve had their ups and downs, but they’ve used their creativity, their comedy, and their gift to be resilient in the face of difficulties and to continue to bring light and laughter to millions internationally.
When I was a kid, I saw Aladdin in theaters because I was part of that lucky generation when Disney was creating their classics for exactly my age group. I remember laughing so hard at the Genie that I was nearly crying in my seat. I saw the move two more times in theaters. And bought the VHS the week it came out. And I had every line the Genie said in that movie memorized in no time. I was mesmerized by the energy, the charisma, and the creativity it took for a human to make that character come so alive to me. And it is no exaggeration for me to say that that Genie is one of the major factors in why I want to dedicate my life to bringing that same laughter and light to others.
So I disagree with you, but thank you and your generation- alive and passed- for the world you’ve carved out in comedy for me and my generation. In many ways, it’s your creations that have allowed me to become my best self. And when I’m my best self, I’m balanced, happy, and loving. And I want to bring as much of that to others that I can.
I wrote this article for Ms. in the Biz.
I’d say more about it, but I think it speaks for itself.
That is all.
I’ve got some pretty thick skin. It’s pale, that’s for sure. But it’s also thick.
I have to. I’m in the entertainment business.
I know from experience on all sorts of ends of the creative process that there are a thousand considerations that go into any decision. I know that, at the end of the day, this is a business and business decisions are made that have little to do with my personality.
So I’ve learned to take very few things personally. And I think it’s a valuable approach to most things in life.
Because here’s the thing- that guy who was an asshole to you on your drive over here? Odds are he’s just having a bad day for reasons that have nothing to do with you, you just happened to be around when he needed someone to yell at. That seems much more likely than the idea that he found out who you were, decided he didn’t like you, and has been studying you for months to know the exactly moment he could meet up with you in traffic and be an asshole to you because you personally deserve it.
Unless someone I know, love, and respect looks me in the eyes and says, “I’m going to say something to you about you personally that I hope you seriously consider…” I pretty much assume most decisions and interactions with people I have throughout the day aren’t worth taking personally.
As silly as this sounds, too, I apply this to both good and bad interactions. One of my favorite stories is about a boy and his horse (abridged version #6 here on this juicy list). I take that approach to getting too many emotions involved with people- positive or negative. People I’ve just met, even if I’ve had a great interaction with them, don’t really know me. So even if we’ve had a great interaction, I don’t really take it personally. I don’t go home thinking I’m so spectacular or amazing. I enjoy the positive energy shared, am grateful for it, and move along without investment in an outcome. For all I know, that person could only be being so kind to me because they want me to act in a certain way in the future that I may or may not comply with. and then they’ll get angry and turn on me. And, if I’ve taken their positivity towards me personally, I have to take their negativity as a personal attack, too. When the truth is, they have certain wants and needs that I don’t meet. And that’s a-ok. And it has nothing to do with me.
So let’s all just relax a little and take most things that happen less personally, eh? I know it’s fun to play the victim, but odds are whatever happened to you probably had nothing to do with you.
October was an odd month for me. Lots of ups and downs. Lots of being really in touch with my gut and lots of waking up in cold anxiety-provoked sweats because something was off but I didn’t know what.
Maybe I sound dramatic. But that’s my style. So deal.
It really was an odd month. A bunch of strange things that kept making me feel more “off” than usual. For various reasons that I’m not going to get into here.
Needless to say, it was a bit of a wash of a month for me in terms of my positivity and productivity.
And I kinda just let myself wallow a little bit. And I don’t regret it. Because I didn’t want to push myself. As a woman who can easily push down her emotions and let good old denial take the reigns, I have to be careful to not just ignore how I’m feeling because it’s inconvenient and not productive.
I was tired and sad. So I let myself be tired and sad.
I was lucky that one of my bestest friends in the world and one of the most positive people I know happen to also be going through a weird month. I wasn’t lucky because I wished that on her by any means. But we both agreed it was kinda nice to have someone to wallow with. It made us both feel a little less alone.
But we decided November is the cut off. Once November starts, the name of the game is productivity, positivity, and proactivity. We’re going to distract ourselves into thinking we’re back on track. And maybe by doing so, we’ll actually get back on track.
I stayed in on Halloween and spent the whole time writing emails and making an ambitious schedule and setting clear goals for the rest of the year. And journaling. God I journaled the shit outta those emotions.
And I woke up November 1 excited and ready. I’m no longer going to wallow. I exorcised those demons on All Hallows Eve. It’s time to focus on me and focus on the things I love most- creativity and entertainment. I call this “going in” because I’m about to turn my focus into hyperdrive. I’m gonna be on a bleeping mission for the next several weeks. And I’m gonna accomplish a boat load.
I’m going into the cave of wonder and focus. If I’m not out by the holidays… just know I went down doing what I love.
The weirdo, Zeekeela Tloxlan, is finally going to be coming to the big screen.
Not long ago, she made some time to be followed around and interviewed for a short documentary.
The documentary has been pending with a spectacular team handling all aspects of it’s post-production.
But soon- very soon- the world will see her for who she truly is. A friggin weirdo.
Premiere date is tentatively set for Wednesday, November 5th at El Cid Theater. Then she’s gonna be submit like crazy to whatever festival is willing to give her strange self a little screentime.
Then she’ll be released to the general public. That poor, unsuspecting general public. It doesn’t even know what’s gonna hit it.
She’s such a friggin weirdo. (I secretly love her. Shhhhh. Don’t tell.)
I am good at going. I am good at doing. I am good at moving.
I am not very good at stopping.
But I recently was fortunate enough to get to stop for a while.
Through a series of fortunate circumstances, I snagged a four night vacation in Hawaii.
Lucky. I know. Believe me… I know.
I was of course looking forward to some time in paradise. But I wasn’t sure what I was really going to do with myself. I wasn’t going on my own so it’s not like I could do what I normally do when left alone and create a series of make-believe characters that converse with each other. I couldn’t even really take too much time to write or work on any of the pending projects I’ve got coming up because I wanted to actually enjoy the beauty around me.
So I had to stop. For a period of time.
I had to not make plans. Not contact people. Stay off my phone as much as possible. And just enjoy the scenery around me.
And I’ll be honest, it was extremely refreshing. I read two books. Two! I never take the time to even finish one because I only have a few minutes here and there in my day. But I had time to read two!
I went for hikes. I woke up energized with the sun and watched it rise over the ocean from my incredible balcony view. I saw rainbows and went swimming in the refreshing water. I took deep breaths and enjoyed myself in the moment.
And I came back totally ready to work again. But this time, with a new revitalized perspective. I’ve relaxed because the relaxation of the vacation and the island seeped into my core.
I love traveling. I haven’t traveled (for pleasure) much lately. And this was a good reminder that taking a few days off make a huge different in my happiness and productivity levels. So even though I’m not always good at stopping and it can take me a bit to build back up the momentum I had before stopping… I think once in a while it’s worth it.
Forgive me in advance for the lack of details on this post. I want to convey the idea behind it without relaying every detail of my personal life. Believe it or not, I can actually be private about my personal life when I want to be (and I usually want to be).
But here’s what I’ve been thinking about lately. Just like that cheesy (but very true) saying “People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime,” I think some creative projects can be the same way. Every project you do may or may not have a lasting result (if it’s ever even completed). But you can always learn something and improve as a result of doing it.
I did a project not long ago. I came up with an idea, called together a crew of people to help me make it a reality, invested a lot of time and money into its creation, and was pretty proud of the result.
Then some things happened. And it made me not want to do the project anymore, despite the fact that I had a bunch of things ready to show the world. I just didn’t have the heart to continue investing anymore time and energy into something that had so fundamentally changed in me. The (excellent) quality of the product remains the same. And that’s the hardest part to deal with. I really want to continue with it, but I just no longer believe in it. I don’t have it in me. I have to step away. I’ll be a healthier, happier person if I just let it go and open myself up to the next great thing rather than try and fix something that I know is broken and no longer serves me.
And it took me a while to come to terms with that. But once I did, I realized that the creation of the project- even though it didn’t last very long in reality- was the important part. I will always have the memories and friendships I made while working on the project. I will always have the stuff to enjoy myself and be reminded of my own work and lessons learned about it. I will always have the memories made each step of the way.
So don’t worry about the outcome, friends. Never stop creating. And don’t you ever stop believin’.