Wednesday, November 27, 2019

An Unintended Hiatus

A lot has happened since my previous dispatch, so much that I've gone nearly a month without writing (a possible record). Rather than go chronologically, I'll sum everything up in order of importance:

On November 5th, I finally moved back to Chicago. I now live in a third-floor walk-up on the northwest side. I hate that it took as long as it did, but it came down to both money and finding the right living situation. At the same time, I am now considerably closer to my social circle and improv shenanigans. My sister will be staying at the parents' house in Downers for the time being, but she intends to get a mortgage and start clearing out by mid-2021.

As some of you know, I'm part of a charitable organization that does short-form improv for sick children in hospitals. We have monthly rehearsals, and at our August session we had an impromptu discussion about gender identity and representation. After rehearsal, a longtime member of the group asked the person (they use they/their pronouns) a follow-up question, partially to clarify. The gender non-conforming person lost their cool, and our new director was forced to intervene.

One thing lead to another, but the guy that asked the question ended up leaving the organization under pressure. Just before he quit, however the GNC person then sent a long-winded email where they called the guy transphobic, implied a boycott of performing of shows, and threatened legal action. It wasn't the organization's intent to let the GNC person go, but that email forced their hand. Emotions are frayed all over, but I hope everyone can get past this ugly incident.

About six weeks ago, I unintentionally mansplained on the status update of a friend's Facebook post. Soon after, a second woman (another Chicago-based comedian) commented to double down. I apologized to both via DM, but the damage was done. I spent that weekend in a shame spiral, augmented by anxiety. Suffice to say,  I fucked up pretty hard.

For now, I suppose I'm hiding in plain sight. My 2019 has been driven by how I connect with people, and how that can be an outward struggle for myself. Being in the Chicago comedy community (improv, stand-up, and otherwise) has become more like a navigation between egos and narcissism. I am perpetually walking on eggshells, especially on social media.

Next Week: my 15th annual Thanks/No Thanks list.