Allison Page sharing something personal… and also her glamorous new headshot.
Oooh boy. Everything’s a nightmare. Each day brings a clutch of dark clouds. The news is a series of alarms and images of innocent people in unthinkable situations. Living legends turn into just legends. You’re reminded of your own mortality. Your own illnesses. Your own downfalls. Your own failures. You feel bad about not feeling bad about the right things. You feel bad about feeling so bad about the wrong things. The job market is terrible. Rent costs are sky high. What would you do with a better apartment, anyway? You don’t even keep the crappy one clean. Some people don’t even have apartments. Or dogs. Or families. Or lunch. You don’t take care of yourself the way you should. You’re low on vitamins and high on espresso. You think about how no one lives forever. Not even that guy. You wonder why some friendships don’t work out. Some relationships. Some jobs. Some sandwiches. Nothing seems easy, everything seems hard. What can you do?
Everything’s a nightmare.
It’s okay to laugh.
Sometimes you think you can’t, but you can. Don’t you hope that in your last moments, you laugh? And this probably isn’t even your last moment, so you should consider it. It’s okay not to, for a little while. But please don’t wait too long. It’s okay to think about how bad and wrong something is, and to try to make it better and less wrong, or to just understand it. That’s good. That’s important. But the cause of You is also important. You’re the only one there is, after all. Maybe you think that sounds stupid. You’re right. You should laugh at that, too, if you want.
Share a moment with someone that makes you both happy. Now, look what you’ve done. That’s quite a thing to do. If you miss someone, think about why you liked them so much. I bet they made you laugh. Think about how they did that. Now laugh about that, too. It’s okay to feel bittersweet. Sad. Exhausted. Scared. Filled with ennui. To know that all the answers are hard, and that some might not even exist. To say “Well, it’s not as black and white as that.” It’s okay to be in a weird gray area that makes no sense to you. To say “I’m upset. Nothing will make me not upset.” but recognize that something probably will. And it doesn’t mean you’re a terrible person if you’re able to see the sun coming up over the horizon.
As theater makers, art makers, comedy makers, anything makers – we sometimes exist to provide escapism that is desperately needed. And it doesn’t mean that we don’t care. It’s really the opposite. Sometimes we’re here to face an issue head on, to take on the burden of trying to explore the source of unrest, messed up power dynamics, injustices, loss, mourning, outrage. But sometimes we just need to lighten a load that can be so heavy no one person can bear it all. Because people need to talk about the bad things, work out the bad things, actively try to solve and understand the bad things – but they also need to remember there is some goodness left. A beam of light to look forward to.
Right now it feels like there are a million contests happening at once and all participants are trying to win the “No, This Is The Worst Thing That’s Ever Happened” award and begrudging the pain of others if it doesn’t align with their own pain. Different pain is not mutually exclusive. Don’t worry, all these things can be awful at once. And other things can still be good while those things are being awful. That’s okay too.
Two days ago I wasn’t sure if I thought anything would be funny ever again.
I went to the place where I make comedy, and laid my head down and cried alone for an hour. And then I had to go to a rehearsal, which I considered a nightmare. How was I supposed to be funny? How was anyone? But the strange thing is, within 15 minutes of being there, I was laughing again. I was still sad, don’t get me wrong, but I was laughing. And that did a lot for me. A room full of people all keenly aware that the world just got a little less funny and wonderful – and we were laughing together. That’s a pretty powerful thing. What would I have done if I tried to skip out on rehearsal? I would have gone home and cried some more until I fell asleep, probably. Which is okay, but I think the former was better.
And so tonight I will put some comedy into the world, in front of an audience. I really need that. And I can only imagine that they need it too.
Allison Page is an actor/writer/comedian in San Francisco. You can catch her tonight in the live sketch comedy show Killing My Lobster Goes Radio Active at Z Below, or catch her on Twitter @allisonlynnpage