Sunday, May 26, 2013

Santa After Christmas

I'm depressed right now, and I'm going to tell you why, but before I do, let me quickly say, this is normal for me and there's nothing to be alarmed about.

I'm just going through what I call a post-show hangover. This one is a little bigger than usual because I've been busier than usual for which I'm profoundly grateful.

I don't know if it's because of the amount of energy I put into shows has left me emotionally depleted, if I'm sad the show is over, or it's just from the feeling of coming back to earth--one night you're a star; the next morning you have to get up and clean your kitchen.

Maybe I'm just lonely.

That's something I try not to think about. I tell myself that the lifestyle I love is hard on partners. I tell myself things are a lot easier when I'm not in a relationship.

But there's always that quiet reply, scratching behind the walls of my subconscious. It looks at the things I've accomplished from mountain climbing to martial arts tournaments; television shows, short stories, and newspaper articles; recording, writing, and performing. I look at the most rewarding relationships in my past and the people who are still part of my life and says: When have you EVER shied away from doing  something because it was easier?

I was telling the Slayer about my post-show hangover and she suggested it was like the Day after Christmas.

Maybe. I imagine it's like the Day After Christmas...if you're Santa Claus.

You spend all night racing around the world joyfully doing what you feel you're born to do, what you spend your life preparing for. The next morning, while everyone else is celebrating and opening presents, you wake up alone by yourself at the North Pole, your boots and red suit spread all over the floor cause you were too tired to do anything besides pull them off and fall into bed.

Your present is to clean up and start getting ready for next year.

This is where I'm grateful for my family and non-show business friends. I neglect them shamefully when I'm preparing. Often even when I'm with them, I'm not totally with them because part of my mind is occupied with thinking of new jokes or things to write, processing the lessons from last night's show or thinking of the things I need to do to get ready for the next one.

But being around them keeps me grounded. It reminds me there's more to life than preparing and performing, even though most days, I wish there wasn't. They remind me I can be a brother, a son, a friend, and a co-worker.

It's weird because I often don't completely understand my more 'normal' friends and I suspect they don't totally get me. I often feel like I'm waving to them from a boat on the river, not understanding why they won't leave the shore.

But I also envy the shore. I envy a lot of their lives. Truthfully, I oftenwant what they have...but I'm not willing to give up the life I love to get it.

I'm probably not explaining this well. Oddly enough, the best description of this feeling I've ever seen was in Georges St-Pierre's book 'Way of the Fight.' It's weird to see what feels like a description of yourself in the final chapter of a Mixed Martial Artist's ghostwritten autobiography, but there you go(*).

Today I saw my parents, my sister, and my nephew for the first time in weeks. It was awesome.

Last night I had dinner with a friend from New Zealand I had met five years ago when he was travelling through town on a work visa. We ended up hanging out the whole summer. I hadn't expected to see him again, but when he came through town with his girlfriend, it was great to get a chance to catch up.

Already, I'm feeling better.

Already, I'm starting to look forward to the next show.

And when the inevitable hangover comes, I know I can handle it. I know that lonely or not, depressed or no, all I need to do is look around and realize I already have everything and everyone a man could possibly need.

(*) Another thing I really like about the GSP book is how much time he spends in it talking about fear, indeed, it's practically the central theme of his book. I've noticed most performers downplay the role fear plays in what we do. Many non-performers think we're fearless. The truth is, many of us deal with fear a lot. We use it as motivation, learn to overcome with it, or simply accept that we can be afraid and still do what we set out to do to the best of our ability.

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