It’s not broken, it’s just a little fractured.

Not the cauldron… My heart. It’s my heart. It’s been leaking into my brain and causing all sorts of emotional turmoil. I think those are called hormones? I’m not sure, the entire thing is confusing to me. My “feelings based” personality and sensitive nature make life extra challenging some days. Not all days, thankfully.

2017 happened for me EXACTLY how I needed it to happen. From 2012 to 2016, my life had been a series of situations that left me depressed, unfulfilled, mourning the loss of loved ones, healing from bad relationships, seeking new bad relationships, wrapped up in negative friendships, unmotivated, anxious, broke… I like to call 2012-2016 “the hangover from my 20’s” because in 2012 I turned 30 years old, and apparently I had years of damage to repair.

I can say with 100% certainty that my heart and brain are stronger, more understanding, smarter, and more mature than they were on 12/29/2016.

Like I’ve said in a previous blog entry, I tried stand-up comedy twice in 2016 and took a 7 month hiatus after my 2nd set, mostly because it was at Austin’s and I had some anxiety that I’d be happy to discuss with you in private but on here it’s not necessary for the story. Bottom line: in 2016 I wasn’t ready to do comedy in the capacity that I wanted to do comedy. I just wasn’t ready. In November of 2016 I started taking anxiety meds, and by January 2017, everything started feeling better and I was finally ready to get back at it.

At the start of 2017, I cleaned my house from top to bottom, like I had never done before. That was the only way I could reasonably start the new year. Later in January, I hosted 2 out of town comics that were here for the Orlando Indie Comedy Festival. Duncan won the “most therapeutic dog award” and I really enjoyed having 2 really wonderful, smart and funny women stay with me. I was inspired and motivated. I started writing. I started developing jokes again. I was ready and it was fun.

2017 was bittersweet in a lot of ways. So many ways.

I learned that people are generally struggling with something, and kindness is more important than being funny or reaching goals in the time of need.

I learned that it’s a manipulative and cruel world and trust is to be earned, guarded and respected.

I learned that my worth and success is not impacted by any one persons opinion of me, regardless how vocal they are about it.

I learned to stick up for myself when things don’t feel right. I never got anywhere by being passive or nice about something that was done against my best interest. It feels good to be firm in things I was always too afraid to dispute. Comedy is not a team sport.

I’m glad that sexual abuse isn’t a hush topic any longer and these assholes are finally being held accountable, but really it’s far from over. I’m so proud of the victims that were brave and came forward to out their violators. I’m disgusted by the men who think it’s okay to violate women in any way. I’m disgusted by the men who manipulated me and other women to believe that they deserve such treatment. It’s really sick and twisted and so many of the victims have intangible negative mental and emotional backlash to deal with. I know this because I’m personally dealing with it.

On that note, I’m super proud of the men who treat women with respect and care. I see you. I appreciate you. I’m also proud of the men who have acknowledged when they have been out of line, and with contrition, remedied their actions accordingly. I respect that.

This year I also learned that when my parents raised me, they did a great job teaching me how to respect others. The problem for me is… they didn’t finish the lesson on how I should respect myself. That lesson didn’t come until I turned 35 years old.

I was a single person this year. I discovered that it’s better for me to be single and fulfilled than to be on any other romantic or primal quest. I tried dating a few people but ultimately none of them treated me like I would like to be treated, no good matches. The one person that I would date (and it’s probably for the best that we don’t/haven’t because I don’t want to ruin it), has turned into the sweetest and most important male friendship I could ask for at this stage in my comedy journey. I probably would have quit comedy by now if I didn’t have his support. It’s okay that he doesn’t read my blog. He knows how I feel.

It’s good to have good friends and allies in this comedy journey. It’s been a very bumpy road. 2017 was as much up as it was down.

Thanks to being on a few different podcasts I learned how to be extroverted and also introverted at the same time, which is crazy, and even crazier that people listen(ed).

I learned how to ask for things and when to shut up. Still learning, of course.

I learned how to be 10% more comfortable when my insides are screaming with panic and anxiety.

I learned that hosting is way different than doing a set, and I learned that hosting an open mic is way different than hosting a showcase. I learned that running a showcase is a ton of fun and I love coming up with ways to make it better for everyone involved.

I learned what it was like to do a 7 minute set. Then a 10 minute set. Then a 12 minute set. The fact that I have a somewhat cohesive 12 minute set is absolutely insane to me. I figured out that I could go up on stage 18 times during a holiday month without it killing me. I survived. Heck, I even thrived. My sets are better, and getting better by the week.

I learned that I had no clue what I was getting myself into for my 1st year in comedy. My experience was crazy, fun, crazy fun, awful, humiliating, terrifying, heartwarming, fulfilling and otherwise supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

What does 2018 have in store? So far, I have a lot of cool things in the plans – keep checking my events page for the most current dates.

I’m so appreciative to Broken Cauldron and my podcast fellas from State of the Beer Union, the future is bright.

I think it takes a village to raise a new comic, and in the All New Orlando Comedy Scene, I’m proud of our little community. A lot of people are working hard to get better, and the amount of creative and supportive people trying to make comedy fun for every audience – I’m a bit overwhelmed by how cool it is to be a part of this scene.

Thanks to everyone who has taught me a lesson this year, good bad or otherwise. There are way too many names to name. Ultimately it’s been more laughs than tears and more growth than loss. I needed this year and I’m ready to mark off new goals in 2018. Thank you for being a part of my comedy journey by following my blog or subscribing to my social media, and if you come to my shows, you’re my hero <3.

Everyone please be safe out there. It’s a holiday weekend, pre-order a lyft to avoid surge pricing if you plan on drinking. To get up to $10 in ride credit, just download the Lyft app using my referral. (I’ll get credit, too.) Here’s my referral link:

Until next time, cheers!
<3 Lesley Jo