Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Only 250 more days before the holidays begin

Just call me Ebernezerbelle Scrooge.

I hate the holidays. I'm glad they're over. It means I have 250 days before I have to survive them again. Some of you are now saying, "But Ebernezerbelle, honey, a year has 365 days. No wonder you got fired from your temp job as an accountant."

However, 250 is correct. I'm sure corporate greed will enter the picture earlier than ever this year just to provide me ample time to buy useless stuff for people who only come around when they want something. I feel bad saying this because these people could make a lot more money if they started the season in June instead of October.

Sure I believe in peace and goodwill among men. But the season of mirth and merriment turns the hustle and bustle on busy sidewalks into crowded concrete chunks of loneliness. For me, the holidays reinforce that "Bah-hum-bug" is not just a phrase a lamb recites when it sees an insect.

The main reason I hate the holidays is because they force me to deal with people who are quick to point out my flaws, quick to tell me I'm unworthy of love and quick to shove me aside. I call some of these people family. I don't want to know what they probably call me.

Quite frankly, I thought the holidays of 2012 would be different. After all, I just spent the past 10 months undergoing a spiritual awakening. It has been an incredible journey of letting go of my bitterness, learning to forgive and starting to love.

This miraculous adventure even allowed me to drop a lifetime of belief systems built on lies and physically drop 92 pounds. It also led to recovery from a debilitating injury that diminished my mobility for 10 years.

I honestly believed if I could experience such a drastic transformation, I was totally ready to spread my love and inner peace during the 2012 holiday season. However, I learned I wasn't ready to recall my pain. No Sir, Bubba! Ebenezerbelle Scrooge was not ready to face the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present, although the Ghost of Christmas Future brought relief.

It also became obvious my science skills are equal to my supreme understanding of accounting practices. I proved that what goes up must come down does not apply to weight gained by devouring Christmas cookies and tamales. Yeppers, this well-rounded Texas gal is 4 pounds rounder than before she placed that first tooth-clamp on a holiday buῆelo.

I entered the holiday season without apprehension because I've never had a problem spreading cheer. I'm a comedy writer. I'm a comedian. It's my job to make people laugh. I also actually thought it would be easy to feel a return of that cheer because of my awakening. I was wrong.

On my behalf, being a natural born comedian is darn hard. It requires feeling. It requires truth. It requires knowing being funny is a gift from God. It also requires knowing that being funny and being a joke are not the same – despite what your relatives tell you.

This was a painful lesson for me to learn. Fortunately, I had help from an incredible spiritual healer with psychic gifts. Our journey began when I was cast in a television pitch program. This involved his performing a 30-minute-made-for-tv exorcism. This was not my first rodeo, so I arrived as a skeptic thinking the only reality of reality shows is nothing is real.

I left a believer. Eventually, this guy's work did more to help me than a lifetime of physicians, therapists and clergymen. He helped me rediscover God, return to my soul and become a better comedy writer. He exposed me to some difficult and shameful truth and helped me peel away layers of lies separating me from my heart. He kindly set me on a path where I could no longer hide from myself.

"You're funny," he said. "You're very funny. You make me laugh, and that's hard to do. But, you're using humor as a coping mechanism. You might want to stop doing that for a while."

While that sounded crazy, it also sounded perfectly logical. The element of surprise is vital to making a punchline work. But, how do you surprise a psychic? That's something I never really questioned. What I thought was crazy was the suggestion of halting humor if it alleviated pain.

Still, he was the teacher and I was the student. So, I listened to the lesson, and I'm glad I did. It led me back to the origin of my pain and where the coping mechanism began. I thought it led me to loving people I don't even know yet – ex-husbands, mothers-in-laws, Facebook acquaintances. I almost wrote politicians, but that would be pushing it.

By trying to apply this lesson to life, I became a better person and kinder professional. My humor is less mean spirited than it once was. I'm even using it now to help others heal through a non-profit organization called Million Laughs. Composed of a group of professional comedians, we take standup comedy to people in nursing homes and recovery centers – people who often feel unloved and shoved aside.

I thought Ebenezerbelle Scrooge could use all of this new experience to deal with the spirits of the holiday season. But it left me feeling unloved, unworthy and shoved aside. My family celebration lasted only about 5 minutes – just long enough for the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present to haunt me with loneliness after eavesdropping on a one-sided telephone conversation with my sister.

My sister is generous, loving and kind. She also is very busy, which explains why we didn't have much time. Although we grew up in the same household, our lives never touched. She was busy with activities. I was the little sister she often found annoying.

This past Christmas Day, I did most of the talking and asked most of the questions. We didn't have much time because she was busy sharing with her husband and daughter – who I haven't really gotten a chance to know. They're also generous and loving but very busy people. However, my sibling did take time to ask if I remembered to call an uncle – an abusive man who used to hit me and who now laughs and calls me names and tells total strangers I'm not good enough to play games.

The last conversation I had with this man was Thanksgiving in the senior center where he lives, "This is my niece, Nancy. She's a joke. She's trying to become a comedian. It's not going to happen but we humor her since she's too old to get a real job."

My intention was to take him out for a special Thanksgiving dinner, but he insisted we eat at the senior center. He said he would be embarrassed to ride in my Chevy Cobalt since it isn't a Lexus. Such treatment was a good reason not to spend Christmas with this man. Another good reason is he decided to spend it with his brother in Sacramento. It would have been rude to invite myself to spend the day there with another busy uncle I haven't had a chance to get to know.

Meanwhile, the Ghost of Christmas Future brought relief along with sad truth. The sad truth is my relatives are busy, so they may never have time for me. But, I do believe they are extending what they view as love and laughter. I'm sad the truth is I haven't evolved as much as I thought I did. But there's relief in knowing I've made progress. There's also relief in knowing future growth is possible because God aligns people with good healers when people really want that.

But for now, I am going to bask in the comfort and joy of knowing that love and laughter are gifts from God. I never know where or from whom those gifts will be delivered. I just know there is comfort in getting through the holidays so I can return to being Nancy Jo – a person who is loved, worthy and not shoved aside. There is extreme joy in that because I hate the name Ebenezerbelle Scrooge. It's worse than anything my relatives could call me.

Comics on the Spot
The Warehouse
4499 Admiralty Way
Marina del Rey, CA
** $10 cover admits two
** No item minimum purchase required but food and beverage service is available

So You Think You're Funny Show
Produced by Cornelius Grant, original musical director for The Temptations
Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center
4305 Degnan Blvd
Los Angeles, CA
**$10 cover for clean show at 7:00 PM (I'm doing the clean show only)
**$15 cover for clean show at 7:00 PM AND blue show at 10:00 PM
** No item minimum purchase required

"Angel Academy" - written and directed by Chris Berube
Next Stage Theater
On La Brea just north of Sunset Blvd in Suite 208 of a shopping center with an ice cream store
** Details later - just make plans to be there for an 8 week run
** $20 - tell them I sent you