The Battle

“You have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself.” - My therapist quoting Miles Davis

My Current State of Affairs:

  • I talk about sex with my mother on a weekly basis and release our discussions on a podcast called “Sex Talk With My Mom”
  • I’m grappling with whether to take up famed, 57-year-old pornstar and sex educator Nina Hartley on her offer to mentor me sexually
  • I am happiest and most focused during my weekly clown class known as “The Idiot Workshop” 
  • I did not get into the clown troupe that I convinced my clown teacher to create, which makes me quite literally an Idiot Reject
  • I’m living on unemployment benefits that were granted to me after being fired from a job that I had for the past four years
  • I present my current reality onstage and call it stand-up comedy

My heart, or true self, or whatever the hell North Star thing I have going on inside, has led me down a road that at best could be described as “untraditional.” This untrodden path often does not align with social norms, which leads me to vacillate between fear and exhilaration on an hourly basis. 

I’m most uncomfortable with the simple irony that when I had a job and was doing little of value for myself or society, I got paid a living wage. And now that I’m pouring all my energy into podcasting and stand-up (which seems to be potentially more beneficial to myself and society), I live on unemployment.

It’s the feeling that my beliefs and actions are completely different than those of people around me, even many pursuing careers in comedy, that makes me feel like a lunatic. It takes incredible strength to stand on my own and ignore those who frown upon or dismiss my career or relationship choices. I constantly find myself searching for support in inappropriate places, like from innocent open mic audience members. I often wish my dad would send me a sign telling me it will all be okay. 

I can never seem to find the reassurance to quench this self-doubt. It seems that even if everyone were to support my beliefs, their opinions could never satiate me because they don’t entirely understand my situation. Just as I could never fully comprehend another person’s perspective because I’ve never led their exact life, they cannot understand mine. 

It’s a lonely experience choosing to follow my own way. When I’m well-rested, properly-fed and adequately-socialized, I skip merrily down my road. But if I don’t sleep or eat enough or I spend too much time alone, the path becomes scary and dark and lined with shitty Halloween trees that whisper things like,

“This path is a dead end that finishes with you living in your mother’s basement (without any sex to talk about).”

“Perhaps choose another path where you can actually make a living that doesn’t feed off of other people’s tax dollars.”

“This path is a waste of time, like Highway O.”

Highway O was a “detour” that my dad took on the way back from a camping trip. He insisted it would get us home much quicker despite him never having driven it before. After two hours driving through hay fields, during which my dad made us call him “The Faithful One,” we learned why they named it Highway O. Like an “O,” it’s one big circle. It landed us right back where we started. The detour didn’t get us there faster, but it did give me a memory with my dad that I can laugh about today.

There are no signposts on the road I’m traveling because it has never been walked before. I guess the only thing I can do is follow my heart, or true self, or whatever the hell North Star thing I have going on inside me, and let it lead me to problems that I can learn from, even if they come from Nina Hartley’s bed.

Cameron Poter