The saying goes – write what you know, but I think it should be – write who you are.
For some reason – the reason I think, being that I try to listen to that inner voice (and that inner voice can be a real pain in the ass), and sometimes I am successful in hearing it – a few months ago I decided I wanted to try stand-up comedy. Let me make something clear – I don’t like making a fool of myself in front of people – but because I listened, this time I did it anyway, in spite of myself. So I put together a five minute set and tried it out at a show in a neighborhood bar. Was I nervous? More than I think I’ve ever been.
Afterward, someone came up and asked if he could talk to me. I had never seen this young man before, and I haven’t seen him again. Was he an angel? It’s possible. I think we can all be angels to each other if we listen. So he said – I’m kind of nervous, I don’t usually approach people I don’t know, but I had to tell you how much I liked your set. And he said – this was your first time doing this? And I said – yes. And then he said – can I tell you what I liked about what you said? And I thought he would say that it was funny. But what he said was – you were really funny, but what I liked most about it was that it was true.
And mostly I think of speaking the truth as being a serious proposition, but it hit me then that it doesn’t matter what category what we say falls into, what matters is that we speak from who we are. We want to hear the truth, the truth about what it means to be human, the truth of what we know, and the truth of what we don’t know. Sometimes what we have to say will be funny and sometimes sad or angry, or my favorite, a little of each. And we all have good bullshit detectors; we can spot a liar a mile off. But if we want to connect with other people, and what bigger want is there, we have to speak the truth about who we are. I believe that we all want to be seen.
I firmly believe that this is the only way to make change, the only way to realize that we have what we need right here to make this world the place we want it to be. And if we fail the first several times around in expressing ourselves, and we will because we don’t get much training at this, so what? The worst that can happen is we don’t get a laugh.