I wish you could be with me right now. I snuck away to the balcony of a venue I’m performing in Charlotte, NC. I’m watching the team set the stage. They use big words I don’t understand and they do techy things with cords they call cables and screens and pullies and lights and it makes me feel stupid. They tear black tape and they move speakers and they check the sound on my piano with more playing ability in their little finger than I have in my whole body. I use my hands to type words but they use their hands to make those words come alive on the stage night after night.
Before I found my way to the nosebleeds earlier today, I was surrounded by the rest of my tour team in a creative meeting. So many beautiful minds going in so many different directions, but coming together in the end for one cause, one goal. I feel certain that given a mic and a cup of coffee, any one of them could also stand up there and do a little comedy while they’re at it, but that may be asking too much.
The misconception of tour life via social media, is that it’s this one-man-show, but most of you know better. To some of you it would seem effortless. How hard could it be, right? It’s who you are. Just get up there and hold that mic and be funny and sing us a few songs. What you don’t know, probably, is that being a comedienne is not some secret career path I’ve always hoped to follow. It’s not a craft I’ve been honing for the past decade. I haven’t been hitting the comedy clubs in between nursing my children and fixing dinner. I never signed up for comedy. You did. You signed me up. You told me I could do it, so I did…and here we are.
Just a few short months ago I had to figure this thing out. Am I going to keep working my big girl job or am I going to sit across the dinner table from my daddy and tell him I’m quitting my job to do comedy full-time? Am I going to give up the only bit of security and stability I’ve ever known to take a risk based on the popularity of a few videos and some blogs?
I think that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
And so I did.
But I didn’t do it alone. Were it not for the consistent encouragement of a few close friends and family members, and now, my tour family, I would be curled up in the fetal position in the corner of a room somewhere eating checkers and talking to my imaginary friend. The fear and the weight and the responsibility is gripping and can numb your mind quicker than gin on an empty stomach, but do you know what I’m finding?
I’m finding that the payoff is greater than the risk. The possibility of failure, in my humble opinion, is way more palatable than the question of the what-if.
And the team around me that spurs me on and loves me and the behind-the-scenes-payoff as much as I love hugging necks and telling jokes is worth the ride. It takes a village and mine is strong. Fixed. Our homes are made up of bunks on a bus, but our hearts are a settlement. We are guided by the same principles. Centered. We are all of different bends and trades, but we function as a unit. We are all of equal value. Our walls are strong. We work hard and we love well and we live for justice and we fight hard for the good of the whole. We are unified. My allies – they push and they spur and they steer the ship.
My village. It takes one.
And in a world that tells us we can do all the things alone, sometimes we just need people. We need community. Cheerleaders – telling us to go after the thing and do it afraid. Lovers of the ride who tell us, “If you don’t, you’ll regret.” Motivators who say, “You’ll never know until you try.” Believers who remind, “I have faith in you.”
Friends…fans…you…who love and encourage and keep the dream alive.
Leaning in to the support doesn’t make you weak.
It makes you strong.
Life is not a one man show, and living in the shadows is not really living at all. Pushing past the insecurities and the fears and the “I can’t”s, I think you’ll find, is way more exhilarating than eating checkers.
So, what is that thing? That fear?
That belief in your gut that you want to go for.
That mountain staring you in the face begging you to climb it.
What is it?
And what’s holding you back?
Maybe it’s just simply…you.
Take your chance. Be a risk-taker. Find your like-minded village and surround yourself with people who believe in you and move you on to greatness. Find your tribe that puts a mic in your hand and pushes you out on stage with nothing but a glass of water and says, “Now, go tell some jokes.” Find those people, because they are gold. And if you can’t find your people just yet, be your own cheerleader. Tell yourself to go for it and not look back, because it will bring you life – a life that you most definitely need to be living.