I don’t have to tell you that the world is in mourning for the loss of the amazingly talented and wonderful Robin Williams. I woke up this morning to the internet in a pouring of emotions in regards to the sudden and tragic passing. I, like so many others owe parts of my identity roles only he could encapsulate.
I found my passion for public speaking and my expression of my beliefs, even if others disagreed with me from ‘Good Morning, Vietnam’, my passion for teaching and learning from ‘Good Will Hunting’ and ‘Dead Poets Society’, my love of the fabulous from and that is ok to be and look different from ‘The Birdcage’ and ‘Mrs Doubtfire’, the reminder that although we grow up it is important to not lose elements of our self from when we young, like imagination and a childlike wonderment from ‘Hook’, also my love for looking at the world with a sociology and humorous gaze came from ‘Mork & Mindy’.
Performers like Robin Williams are the reason I entered into the performing arts and why I am still in it today. I credit much of my inspiration from artist such as him. The messages that I get from this tragedy is that no one is immune to the effects of mental illness, specifically depression. As someone who also suffers from depression I have an idea how he must of felt. Depression is not an easy illness to tackle as many still see a stigma attached to it. Over the past 2 years as I have immersed myself into the performing arts I have met a staggering amount of artists who suffer from depression or anxiety. To those performers, and anyone else reading this, I want to say you are not alone. Stay strong follow Robin Williams by being your most authentic self. If you need help don’t be afraid to ask for it. There are many organisations out there to help. If you are too nervous to seek these avenues out and wish to talk to someone you are more than welcome to talk to me.
RIP Robin Williams you have inspired generations and you have inspired me. You will never be forgotten.
Last night a friend of mine invited me to Swagger, a gay event for dancing fun times and drinking among other homosexual related things.Tonight Adore Delano, from Ru Pauls Drag Race fame was there. I was excited to see a fellow performer rocking the stage in my home town.
The night started off like any other, fun times were had. I confessed to my friend before entering that I was slightly nervous because I have this fear when I am surrounded by gays. I am a naturally confident person when it comes to life, well I try to be anyway, but when there are gays around I feel 2 feet tall.
Now we got into the club the party was a pumping and my friends and I were dancing and laughing having a great time. Adore Delano did her 2 sets, which we all rocked out to. She did an amazing job. After her gig the stage was bare.
One very confident girl got on there and started twerking. At which point we all thought the security would bounce her off the stage. This didn’t happen in fact more people got on the stage and expressed themselves in the most amazing ways.
The natural performer in me saw this opportunity to shine and the ‘keeping up with the Jones’ thought sprung to mind but I was happy dancing like the whore I am on the dance floor with my friends.
At this moment my friends, who are also performers in their own right, encouraged me to ‘get my ass up there’. Now who am I to refuse a friends suggestion to entertain the masses. I replied ‘I am just waiting for a killer song’. It happened the next song was something that got my legs moving to the stage.
I got up and danced with the group that already occupied the stage. It was freeing. There is nothing I like more than dancing and entertaining. After about 2 or 3 songs the stage started to empty. The amateurs made way for the professionals. All that was left was a random girl, my mate and I on the stage. This gave all 3 of us the chance to bust out the big moves. I felt so alive!
It was at this moment on I noticed the faggot on the dance floor. Now I know many of you reading this may hate the term faggot. I also hate the word and this is why I use it to describe this guy.
let me explain:
As we are dancing I am scanning the crowd and I notice a guy that I follow on Instagram. He and I have mutual friends as I have seen him occasionally on my Facebook news feed tagged in post with mutual friends of ours.
Now he I thought, but the perception has changed, was cute so my eyes would dart back to him while I was dancing. It was in this moment I saw him pointing at me and talking to his friends and laughing. If it was a smile I would have been sure about this than a laugh. He made me feel like I was a part of a freak show, but it didn’t stop me in fact it made me want to dance harder.
Then he got out his phone, as many do in today’s world, and took a photo of me dancing. Presumably to show friends ‘Hey look at this retard I saw dancing on stage’.
This saddens me to think that people have to do this in the world. They feel the need to belittle and degrade people. This exact reason was why I was initially fearful of going to a gay event. I feared the judgement that gay people seem to have in spades.
So Many people today, and this happens in the straight community as well, go out and ‘party’ with the expectation that an Instagram selfie is a requirement and we ‘MUST’ look our best. What I love about my friends is that we on occasion will take a photo or 2 on a night out but that is not going to stop us from making fools of ourselves. We go out to have fun and experience the moment not look like plastic dolls and post photos on the internet for the world to see.
So to that faggot who judged me and took a photo of me to laugh at with friends I say to you
Take risks, Be unique and don’t follow the crowd. Get up and dance, Make a fool of yourself it is freeing. If this is not your style that is fine but FUCK YOU for judging someone who wants to enjoy their life.
I had the confidence to get up and dance on a stage. I put myself out there. What did you do? stay in the crowd with your friends pointing and jeering.
First off I should say that I have been unwell for the last week. Stomach and chest pains are awesome. So I have been home bound for most of the last few weeks. But making the odd outing for a couple of hours.
I have been thinking with my brain box, which is never wise for me, about how alone I am in the world. Firstly I should mention this is not a cry for attention or a plea for reassurance.
My loneliness comes in 2 tiers the first of which relates to my love life. Over the course of my adult life I have let’s say ‘entertained guests’ but sadly no one has lasted the distance. That’s right I have never been in a relationship. SHOCK GASPAHHH I know many of you will be thinking ‘but you are so amazing wayne’ or ‘don’t worry you will find someone when the time is right’ both of these I am well aware of so thanks. some of you may also be like ‘well you are fat’ or ‘you dress like a homeless person’ and to those of you who say this I understand your position and agree with you also. As a result I am filled with conflicting emotions relating to my self worth. Will I find love? Well I am not going to wait by the phone hoping they will call. I am not going to put my life on hold for someone to say. I love you Wayne!
The second tier to my loneliness is in relation to my friendships. Over the course of my life I have made some truly amazing and unique friends whom I love for their individuality. If you are reading this I will assume you are one such friend. So I thank you for reading.
I have always been a social creature as well many of you will know. I thrive in social situations, and yet, recently and in the past I have felt unwanted. Now I know you might be thinking ‘C’mon Wayne you are awesome I love hanging out with you’. I’d agree with you I have the ability to be fun/serious when the mood calls for it. Yet thanks to my facebook news feed I see people I would consider friends at social gatherings I thought I would be a part of. It is had to reconcile the fact that you like me but not enough to invite me to things. Now I know this can be a result of my insecurities as well as the fact that friendships grow and adapt as time progresses. nevertheless it still hurts to see people I love having fun without me when I assume I would be invited.
Also in the past and recently I often do the ‘self invite’ where I overhear friends discussing a planned outing and I, all casual like, invite myself along to the event. Usually friends will be like ‘sure idiot come along’ but i still get the feeling I am unwanted.
Even today my lack of confidence when it comes to friendships is low. I have a emotional wall I raise to protect me from the pain. I sometimes see friends being closer friends with eachother. This upsets me because I want to be a part of that closer friendship but then I realise that I can’t force a friendship and what they have is something unique.
Standing alone or in a crowd I sometimes want to cry out loud. I always fear my friends and peers. fuck this loneliness, this anxiety, this depression I crave for a happier dimension.
I started writing down what has happened to me this week and how much emotional pain I have been in but I couldn’t bring myself to share the embarrassing things I have done to myself this week.
If I can say anything about depression, for me, is that it takes all of the energy I have just to stay alive. I know that I have so many people that love and support me. I know that some people see me as an inspiration for others. But sadly some weeks I don’t see or feel that.
I have spent the last 5 days straight locked in my room secluded from the world. As someone who loves to be surrounded by people you will understand that depression affects you in a way that you can not control.
This letter isn’t a cry for attention or an excuse for my actions but a hope that if you find yourself in emotional pain like I have this week know that I am here for you.
We may have only met once before. We may have known eachother for years. We may never have met. All of these are fine if you are hurt or sad. If life is causing you to question what your purpose is.
I am here for you
yes I might be a comedian but I am a comedian with a mental illness. I never want anyone to feel the way I have felt this week and if I can be any help I will.
So before I start spilling my heart onto the page let me first state that I am in my final months of my education degree at university.
I know many of my friends who are teachers in the past scoff when I say I am a teacher. Teachers put a great deal of passion, dedication, time, energy and add countless more adjectives and adverbs to the melting pot to make their classrooms a success.
As a part of my degree I have been fortunate enough to be on placement and with my work in schools as a teachers aide I feel I am able to throw in my voice.
Something that I have noticed since attending university is the importance of words and there impact on their audience. We see this throughout society and it makes me laugh. You know the one where you think to yourself ‘are people so worried about this word?’. Should we not look past these words to the individual person they affect ? Does this person like this label?
As I sit now writing my second to last essay for my university degree, at 4:21am, I notice that I am confronted with two of these words. In the past I have brushed off labels and tried to remind myself that I am more than a label. I guess, simply put, I am a series of labels. These words are Educator and Learner. Teacher (educator) and Student (learner) are still thrown around occasionally almost like forgotten relics of the past.
These words made me question myself and their validity. Now I see labels as a necessary evil in the world. I hate being pigeon holed by characteristics I hold. I want to be judged on all facets of my being. With this in mind, this is how I tackle the interactions I have with others. If for instance I am confronted with a brash person, I don’t instantly jump to ‘what a cow’ mode. I take into account the situation and the possibility that their day may have not been as smooth sailing as my own. I know I am a saint feel free to worship me at your whim (insert chuckles here).
When people look at teachers they assume or expect this all powerful all knowing super human. Although we attempt to be we are not. We are just like everyone else. We make mistakes sometimes and that is ok. After all learning from our mistakes makes us grow. This in lies the problem.
If teachers are educators and students are learners there is even more pressure placed on ‘educators’ to be all knowing. Now I know this isn’t the intention of the word but this is how I feel. I am proud to call myself an educator. As soon as I learn something new I want to share it with the world, hence why I am writing this to you now. But by this admission I am still a learner.
Doctors have a ‘doctors practice’
Lawyers have a ‘lawyers practice’
teachers should have a
Any good educator is still themselves a learner. Which is something that university has taught me above all else. But we as individuals need to remind ourselves that people aren’t defined by one label but a series of labels that might contradict eachother.
Tonight at Rhino Room was what has been dubbed ‘One Mic Challenge’. This night gives us ‘young’ comedians the opportunity to experience some of the more unique challenges a comedian can face during their comedy career.
The last challenge night was in December last year and I was slightly nervous/excited as I was still quiet new, as I am still new now I think, to comedy.
The last time I got ‘The pokie room challenge’. Sometimes, quiet often you will have to do a gig where you are competing with other external noises. So while I was on stage I had people rattling coins in tubs, the sounds of pokie machines playing through the speakers and someone occasionally yelling ”jackpot” or ”i’ve won” throughout my set.
This might seem a bit cruel to the outside world but that and many other things are what we as performers have to face and having this challenge night provides us with the opportunity to learn about these in a safe environment.
I am glad to say that this through me off a little but overall my set went well. So when I heard that this night was going to happen again I was so dang excite.
This time around hosting the night was the ever Irish Eddie Bannon, a good friend to some (one of his jokes I stole, in case he reads this). He did a truly fantastic job and I was once again nervous/excited at what would unfold.
Some of the challenges included:
James McCann - Internal monologue (Eddie would use a mic offstage and pretend to be the voice in James’s head)
Duncan Turner - Encore (Duncan was told he had 2 minutes, instead of the usual 5 to do his set. He was escorted off the stage only for the crowd to ask for an Encore….More than a few times)
Lewis Dowell - Deaf and Blind (unable to see or hear the audience)
Now it was my time to shine…
I had to do a duo act or split bill. without notice or preparation time I had to work with someone who I wasn’t told about.
This was thankfully a good friend of mine Joshua Robertson. Now for those who have not seen our Josh before you will not be aware that he is physically disabled. He needs help getting on/off stage and has to sit down to do stand up the works. He is amazing funny and quiet quick witted.
…..then there is me. Now we both realised fairly quickly that we wouldn’t be able to do our material so we would have to improvise. I decided, VERY QUICKLY IN MY HEAD, that he had to get the laughs and I had to be the fall guy. If anyone has seen me for more than a minute will know I am hmmm how can I say it ohh a DIVA … I like me the stage. But I knew if I started making fun of a disabled person, even if he is my friend, I might get a few boo’s. So I gave Josh ammunition to insult me and make me feel like shit.
This worked amazingly well Josh got all the laughs and I was the fall guy. After leaving the stage I wondered what would it have been like with someone else. Could I have held my own as well as I did with Josh.
Also could I have done as well with one of the other challenges.. Who knows.