Sometimes the things we try to do go off swimmingly. It’s like we’re exactly where we’re meant to be, you know?
Picture this, right? You’re getting ready to head to an event and the first outfit you choose out of your closet fits well and looks great. You feel like a million bucks. Your keys are exactly where they should be and your shoes don’t even need to be horned onto your usually uncooperative feet. On the way to your destination, every light is green. You make excellent time and find rockstar parking for free. Everything is coming up exactly right. It feels good- dare I say, great, even. Life is just swell.
Every now and again everything just seems okay. You’re walking on air. You feel invincible.
but most of the time life isn’t like that, is it?
One of the harder things for me, coming off of the high of trauma, addiction, and ultimately a stay in a facility, was that my new life was a bit like bowling without gutter bumpers for the first time. Instead of “protecting” myself from my emotions by using unhealthy escape mechanisms, here I was trying to navigate a whole new experience. I was raw doggin’ it, y’all.
For a while there it was gutter ball after fucking gutter ball.
The other day I was sitting with my daughter who was on a video call with her bestie. We were chatting about Pride month coming up, and they asked if I would take them out to the parade in Vancouver. I vocalized that I’d really like to see the two of them get involved with a youth group for 2sLGBTQ+ folks, while wondering to myself how I could help expose them to strong queer folk more often.
Literally the next day I heard about this show playing at the Anvil Centre in New Westminster and I knew it was going to be a great fit.
ok, back up.
I didn’t KNOW anything. I HOPED that it would be a great fit. But here’s the thing, right? Comedy is hit or miss, obviously, it really depends on the perspective of the person listening. How was i supposed to know what a pair of fifteen year olds were going to find amusing? I did a little digging and found Lizzie Allan’s material and I hoped that the kids would feel the same little glimmer of magic that I was starting to feel.
I decided that we would go.
And I am beyond glad that we did.
Lizzie Allan was wonderful. Honest and vulnerable, charasmatic and clever. The show was a beautiful collection of lived experience told with truth and humour. As I mentioned, I wasn’t sure how it would hit with the girls, but even hours later my daughter turned to me and said, “I can’t stop thinking about how great she was!”
See, one of the most important take-aways from my last six months has been that things need to be felt to be dealt with. When we use, we constantly push our issues down into the abyss only to find them waiting for us on the other side. Drugs and alcohol, as I’ve mentioned, are incredibly effective at numbing emotional turmoil- if they weren’t, well… they wouldn’t have such an enticing pull to them, now, would they? But trauma isn’t anyone’s favourite space to live, and it’s not the kind of thing you want to dive into when a stranger asks you, “How have you been?”
We need to feel to heal, and we need to talk about these things in order to sort them out. That’s why the very idea of hilarapy just knocks me on my ass.
HEY! I’m funny! I like using humour to lighten up dark situations!
How could I have never considered that laughing my way through my own trauma might bring with it a sense of peace?
Lizzie did. This is what she does. Even in the face of unplanned adversity, I watched this beautiful, powerful person adapt so effortlessly to what we can only call less than ideal technical circumstances. I chuckled, nodded and belly laughed along as Lizzie brought us through some of what I imagine are her most painful and embarassing memories. There were things that were scary, things that were sad, and some pretty incredible revelations about the purpose of life, or at least, the role we can all play in finding world peace.
It got me to thinking, you know, about world peace. I’ve always sort of regarded it as this abstract idea that maybe, one day, on a grand scale we’ll have a collective epiphany and suddenly stop fighting.
Lizzie made me step back for a good moment and reflect on this. Maybe the crusade for world peace isn’t exactly as I pictured it.
If I’m seeking world peace, the first place I need to look is within, and let me tell you, I am anything but peaceful. Maybe, by going deep into my trauma and shame, shining light on the things that are dark and sharing my pain with others, I could create a little zen garden of world peace inside of myself. If I can turn those dark moments into light and laughter, much like Lizzie has, perhaps the peace that I find in my own world will radiate outwardly and start some bigger movement in the lives of those I love.
Listening to the stories of others is so beneficial, and connecting with one another is the absolute backbone of what it means to be a person. I don’t know if I believe the old saying that with love all things are possible, but I just might have found myself a mantra I can believe in after all. With laughter, all things just might be.
Laughter can turn it all around so fast. It can open others up. It’s a powerful way to tell your story and a beautiful way to receive the messages of others. It’s been so long since my cheeks hurt from smiling, and I finally feel like I might have the hang of navigating the game and staying out of the gutter.
All I know for sure was that last night, spent with Lizzie Allan, was my first STRIKE!