My Chappelle Show

This past weekend I got the opportunity to see an iconic, much beloved comedian stand on a stage for sixty minutes and tell us some jokes. I’d been jittery and achingly ecstatic for the night since the idea came to fruition. We were going to see Dave mothafuckin Chappelle.

I got someone to cover my shift well in advance, re-watched some classic sketches from the innovator himself, looked back fondly on my impressionable time watching said show as I just began discovering my love for comedy. My smile would have to be surgically unhinged for the 24 hours leading up to the show. Like so many millenials, my view tends to get obstructed by the foggy guise of nostalgia.

There’s danger in glorifying the past. Times and people change. Audiences change. If we’re aren’t open to that change, we’re doing a disservice, not just to ourselves, but to the hundreds of artists and dreamers with a spark, ready to ignite. Aside from the obvious “we must learn from our mistakes” bit, putting the past on a pedestal is a straight up lie. You do everything to replicate that warm feeling associated with a moment or song or show but memory is a fickle bitch. It’s not real. The fuzzy feels you associate with watching a show or a movie have a lot more to do with your environment. Did you actually like that movie or did you just like the experience of watching it with an infinite amount of twizzlers and that cute boy from school? Imagine getting food poisoning at a popular restaurant you used to frequent. You have great “memories” there but they’re now overshadowed by the days you spent in the hospital trying to re-hydrate after one ill-prepared meal.

Every ounce of me was ready to replicate that feeling of watching Chappelle Show on Comedy Central with my buddies back in my hometown. Instead, I got a bout of food poisoning and I think it’ll be a little while before I go back.

While his set was underwhelming, it’s not the duration or delivery that missed. It wasn’t even his attitude or tone. I’ve got to say, Dave Chappelle genuinely seems like a wonderful, kind human. Granted, I don’t know him, but he appears to be a stand up guy with no ill-will towards anyone. Much like the restaurant, I’m sure they had no intention of sending me to the hospital. Chappelle even prefaces *red flag* that he has no intention of offending anyone. And I believe him.

However, he misses the mark with me when he stands there and starts joking about discussing trans lives. Then proceeds to do so for a quarter of his set. He doesn’t hate the trans community, or the LGBT community. He doesn’t want harm to come their way or for human rights to be denied. He isn’t a bad guy. He just doesn’t get it. And that is just enough for me to walk away.

Not only does he completely miss the memo about people, you know, being born  transgender- he made it sound like picking between lunch specials (Hmmm, I guess I’ll take the Cunty Club Sandwich because that line is shorter, kthnxbye!)– but his comparison of black lives and trans lives furthers the “us versus them” narrative. By doing so, he is completely erasing the existence of an entire group of people who are fighting for their lives. It’s regressive, dangerous and ignorant. Intersectionality is imperative and for someone with a platform to have such a politically charged setlist, you gotta know your shit. Your experience as a black man in America will not be negated by acknowledging the plight of trans people of color as well. He says he has “no problem with trans people but rather the conversation around trans people.”

I do too, man. I do too.

Look, I know comedians aren’t here to please everyone and that some older ones believe we live in a *too* politically correct society. I get it, believe me. I usually fight for the freedom to say fucked up things. But not at the expense of another person’s life. Not in the current political climate. Not in a city that prides itself on being a blue dot in a red state but defies intersectionality and welcomes gentrification. Not for a laugh. Not anymore. Not now.

 

Car Troubles

Hi. Hello. I know it’s been awhile- a couple months to be moderately exact. And to the two readers out there (bless your heart), I am deeply sorry. I want to be good and consistent but I suck at this. I can say I’ve been busy and that I just haven’t had time but we both know that’s bullshit. I mean, it’s true in the sense that my free time comes in the form of throwing myself on my bed with my work clothes on but it’s still a stupid excuse. Fear is the real culprit here and there’s no dancing around it. But we’ll get to that in a bit.

Here’s a quick life update: got three jobs, lost my mind for a little bit, quit one of them just this week, got into a car accident, had a lot of mirror pep talks and been listening to podcasts as of late.

Before work, I’ll fire up Spotify as I get ready and when I get home, instead of sitting and writing something to share, I’ll turn on my computer, write something abhorrent, watch I Love Lucy and eat the quickest consumable crap I can conjure up. Then I usually go through my social media feeds and eat my feelings in refined sugars while internally wailing “why is my life so shitty in comparison? Wah wah wah!” You know, the usual. When I first moved to Austin, I was bright eyed and bushy tailed. Eating better, working, and steadily dropping some packed on college lbs. I went to see free comedy and though, I never joined a troupe, I looked into it seriously and couldn’t afford it. During these absent months however, I’ve gained weight, quick and plentiful, and cried. A lot. Then I get up the next morning and do it all over again. The going out is less frequent and even the remote possibility of joining a social group, diminished.

On one morning commute this week, while listening to the Unqualified podcast, which is delightful by the way, I slowly turned down the volume and started to cry. Not one of the “everything sucks, woe is me” kind of cries. There was laughter.

I just thought, why am I doing this? Why am I so tired all the goddamn time? On the surface it’s for a chance to move out of my sister’s place and not have to go back to my hometown but more than that, it’s for the opportunity to find home. Something I can call my own. I don’t mean an apartment or a car but a passion- a life outside of what I’ve grown too comfortable with. I’m working in hopes that one day my passion can pay the bills- something that won’t happen at the expense of that passion. It’s cyclical. And so, I quit one of the three gigs in hopes that the fodder for my soul doesn’t sit on the back burner anymore. The extra cash isn’t worth the stress and creative depravity. Step one to living a better, more balanced lifestyle semi-complete. 

When I’m not working, I’m really good at finding flaws in my personal life and coming up with dramatic, negative opinions of me pseudo presented by anyone with a pulse. While some people may actually think I’m garbage (s/o to the haters that choose to read this *besos*), there are people who either have absolutely no opinion of me or think I’m pretty alright. Which is really weird because [when I’m not in a depressive state] I know I’m fucking bomb.

And yet, I still care more about how I’m perceived. Below you will find some daily thoughts:

  • Did that person realize I was being sarcastic when I opened my mouth?
  • I wonder if my co-workers just laugh out of pity. Maybe they don’t know how else to react.
  • Oh man, I’ve got a really funny joke.
  • Just say it, you idiot.
  • Moment’s passed.
  • That tweet was fucking stupid.
  • If I delete it, I’ll look lame.
  • Leave it.
  • No.
  • Fuuuuck.
  • I say fuck too much.
  • USE YOUR BLINKER
  • Fuck.

Groundbreaking, I know. If getting words and ideas onto the paper is the most important part, then why have I written seven different blog posts and refrained from posting a single one? That feeling of not “being enough” has taken on a bit of a snowball effect these past few weeks. Even into something as simple as a blog post that no one will read. Because of some recent life events- quitting two jobs in less than 6 months being one of those things- I’ve decidedly halted putting myself out there in every sense of the phrase.

Back to that epiphany though. So I’m sitting there at a red light, in my dented Corolla, crying and grinning with the soft whisper of Anna Faris’ voice in the background when I tell myself- wow, Aimee, you beautiful idiot, grow the fuck up. Also, be selfish for once. To the drivers on either side of me, watching said event occur, you had a good story to tell your friends at the bar that night and for that, you are very welcome.

Sure I’ve experienced a lot of life changes in less than a year. It’s called post-grad. And being a woman. And living with anxiety. And aspiring to be an artist. And being broke. And having a moral compass. And and and. Every single person has/is/will be going through the same exact thing as you in some fashion or another. You are not the only person that needs to experience and emote with this big dramatic affair. While I recognize my feelings are valid, I also acknowledge just how normal this is. The human experience, while individual and unique for us all, is shared. We all come to a crossroads in our life at one point where you have to seriously- and in some cases tearfully- ask yourself, what do you want?

Then you fight like hell for it.

I can tell you that I want to be happy. I want to be fearless and not let the opinions of others keep me from chasing after doing what I love. I want to love the body I’m in because it’s the only one I have. I want to make at least one person smile and make their day a little better. I want people to feel good about themselves because they are sunshine personified. I want to commit to battling the trolls in my head and on the internet. I want to be a little selfish as a 22 year old and not worry about other people, even if for a little bit. I want to not feel bad for choosing to stay in. I want to be good at something. I want to leave the world a little better than I found it.

I’ve gotten candid with my struggles because I know I’m not the only one going through this, nor will I be the last. If you’re feeling a little lost or scared or sad like I’ve been, know you are not alone. I’m here for the long haul. While I can’t guarantee this is the last sentimental post- I’m a young artsy type with emotions, OKAY?- it’s definitely a marker of change and *hopefully* prosperity.

And if not, it is now documented that I lost my shit at a stoplight while listening to Anna Faris. So at least there’s that.