This is about me
I’ve been an insecure and highly anxious comedy writer/performer for something like 16 years. All that worry and fear is incredibly exhausting and sometimes destructive. I can talk myself out of taking a gig, writing a show, or even accepting a compliment like nobody’s business. And ask my wife how charming it is to constantly be asked if I should just quit making comedy and making work- (Spoilers, it is zero percent charming).
In the past half decade or so I’ve co-founded a theater company that’s had some success, I’ve spent some focused time working with a therapist to find ways to take advantage of the “unique” ways my thoughts fold in on themselves (I also take some medicines), I’ve built more confidence about my abilities to write and perform comedy, and I’ve worked harder to be more positive online and in my own head. A lot more opportunities and successes have come my way as a result of these changes. And I’m overall more satisfied with my life.
But, the anxiety and insecurity never fully goes away. I still have all the unpleasant and unwanted thoughts and no matter how many tricks or tools I’ve developed to leverage those thoughts or turn them into productive and positive action some of them still do harm and many of them still chip away at my energy and self-esteem. My brain still exhausts me I’m just more likely to have something to show for that exhaustion most days.
One challenge with this self-betterment or brain-hacking or whatever other stupid word would best describe how I’m constantly working on using my shitty thoughts and impulses to my advantage is that I often forget it’s a struggle that I’ll never actually overcome or win. When I’m part of a great project or when I get a cool writing gig that is as great as I’d hoped it would be or when I have an amazing day with my daughter I get cocky and think I’ve got this whole broken brain thing kicked. And then a little sliver of not-good-enough or huge fraud creeps in and if I don’t get out in front of it quickly or if I feed it, the whole thing snowballs quickly.
I’ve worked myself into a place of largely believing that if I work hard enough, hustle enough, stay open to unique opportunities enough, and keep on moving I can make a career and life for myself that is mostly just making and doing things I’m genuinely excited about. But I’m not sure what the timeline is and I’m not sure if hard work and sheer force of will is enough.
Have you found ways to reshape your relationship with your own thoughts and habits?