Sunday, December 11, 2011

“Don’t be a Fuddy-Duddy. Don’t be a Moon Calf. Don’t be a Jabbernowl. You're none of those things, are you?" W.C. Fields- The Bank Dick

 Getting that first little Comedy Works show out of my system was hugely cathartic. For the first time in eleven years, I felt like my old self again. Not my man-self, but My Self.

I’ve touched on this in earlier posts, but it bears revisiting here. The idea that gender is defined simply as a matter of chromosomes, social norms and genitalia is more of a historical construct than it is a fact. The idea of male and female is very simplistic. The reality is far more complex than that.

In truth, gender is very fluid. It has been reshaped over and over from the earliest of times. There is plenty of evidence of transgendered folk throughout history and the information is readily available on the Internet. Go look it up!

But in simplest terms, gender is a myth as we view it today, just as the clock, as proof of time, is. Time doesn’t exist in the construct of twenty-four hours, it is a man-made mathematical creation designed for the purpose of chronicling and order. Gender falls into the same format. We view ourselves as male or female, but the truth is we all have a little of each within us. All of us start out as female and no two of us are the same. We all fall on a continuum. And so, when I say that I found MY SELF up there, I mean that my essence, the person I was BEFORE the surgery is the same as it always was. Not male or female, but uniquely ME, just as you are not like any other. The difference though, between you and me is that you were born close enough on that continuum to the gender with which you align yourself, and I was not.

On the drive home that night, I began my usual post-show analysis and concluded that although the audience was polite regarding the transgendered chunk, I might have been a bit too militant in my zeal to make that the focal point of what I was there for. In retrospect, I had only one goal up there; to stand before an audience of strangers and try to make them laugh on my terms with my truth. Having accomplished that, the next question became; What now?

Once again, I toyed with the idea of a one-woman show. Too much at this point and too long to write and produce. No, I would have to go back to the three-person show format and rebuild my reputation and reshape my material. I would also have to go back and study old tapes, the prospect of which gave me great anxiety. I look at that guy, and I know it’s me, and I know I was there, but I don’t KNOW HIM. Yet there was the possibility that there was enough SELF in them to pull out some ideas and attitudes. I vowed to dig them out of the box in the back of my closet and force myself to watch.

Over the next few weeks Kaplan let me back on the stage to try out the material. I shifted the order a bit, but I kept the opening as it was on that first attempt. The reaction was always the same; disbelief. More and more, I was getting to the point where I felt uncomfortable even bringing it up, and it was suggested to me that perhaps it wasn’t even necessary. Not necessary? Then why am I here?

Fear began creeping back into my psyche.’s the killer of all potential. It’s what keeps people from doing the things they love the most. That stinking fear that a dream might not materialize and  all you’ll be stuck with is the aching want of it for the rest of your life can make you old before your time . Worse, there is the horrible weight of settling for something less than what you truly want from your life and having to carry that stone around your neck forever. That’s why I chose the Fields quote at the opening of this entry. Fields was saying to his potential new son-in-law that you need to step out of that comfort zone and face your destiny. Of course, W.C was trying to scam the poor guy, but the ideal is a good one.

So, once again I was at that point. Wondering ... Could I do this again? Did I WANT to do this again? To be honest, I wasn’t sure. But I’ll get into that in the next post.       

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