On Thursday, I did my first show since Layla was born. First show since April 30, as a matter of fact. It was at the Sidewalk Cafe in Alphabet City. I’ve done a fair number of mics and I’m booked for a few paid fundraisers in March but I was pretty damn nervous.
I feel like a completely different person. This is who I am now.
But part of me still remembers this girl. Yes, I recognize that one can’t forever look as though one is going to one’s bachelorette party at Hunkomania.
The same sweaty awkward neuroses are all there but beyond that, there are still elements I simply don’t recognize. My body is normalish, new potbelly and larger thighs aside. I have something resembling definition in my arms and waist. I feel, at once, that I do and do not belong. I had a baby in July and turned 40 in September and yet, I’m on a show with a late 20s/early 30s woman who’s auditioning for MTV’s Girl Code. Unless you’re already fairly established, stand-up is not for the 40something new mom. But it’s what I know and it’s what I love. When I go to work, I suddenly have a LOT more in common with most of my coworkers and it’s awfully nice. I don’t feel entirely like the socially inept girl (“Katherine does comedy? No way. But she’s so QUIET!” has generally been the reaction) who ended up in private equity with an English major, a minor in Theater, and a concentration in Creative Writing.
I’m trying to juggle my job and my home life, primarily, and then trying to fold in working out and doing stand-up into that already jammed day.
An older coworker has had a serious of health issues in the last year, culminating in a recent fall. She called me from a rehab facility, sobbing.
“Maybe I should say ‘ screw stand-up’ and just work out instead,” I told my husband.
“Hon, there are the healthiest people in the world and they have one accident or something happens and they end up injured or worse.”
“But I’m an old mom. Maybe I should do it for Layla. Look at your parents.”
“My mom had some of her kids in her twenties, hon.”
My in-laws are not quite 70 and in remarkable shape. My mother-in-law hasn’t had a carb in at least thirty years. I’d kill for her flat stomach and tiny legs. My father-in-law runs every day. They travel the world for weeks at a time.
Could I even do that, though? Would working out be enough of an outlet? Could I find enough fulfillment in my job and my health that… that would be enough? One could argue that that’s plenty! One should be so lucky to have a job that pays well and to have their health! Plenty of people are perfectly happy, or at least content, I would think, to go to work and come home. Could I be one of those people? Have I ever been one of those people? I don’t mean to sound judgmental. I’m envious, truly.
My ten-minute set on Thursday was fine. It wasn’t spectacular. There were definitely a few duds but I did get some nice laughs and I got my sea legs back. I feel a bit more prepared to make some decent money in March, though I find myself thinking “if I didn’t have those shows in March, I could just stop doing this.”
It’s just fear. And fear can be awfully convincing.