Who Am I?
That I have anxiety came as no surprise to my therapist; that I have a therapist should come as no surprise to you -- I’m a Jewish comedy writer. My friends find it unsurprising I’m pursuing comedy -- my lower-school principal had a special seat for me in her office so she could ensure I kept my pants on while I ate. By why a writer specifically? Haven’t I always been passionate about improv and musical theatre? Why not a comedic actor? Well, just as I was circumcised of my foreskin to become Jewish, to become a writer I was circumcised of my friends.
In the past twenty-seven years, I have lived in seven houses, five apartments, three dorm rooms and a hotel, encompassing four countries and three states. My parents, following their divorce, lived in two additional states and have roots in three more. My life has been like a continuous game of musical chairs where no one is smiling and the chairs are separated by the Atlantic Ocean. Moving around so often meant I had to adapt quickly to new environments and make friends quickly … then stomach leaving them so thereafter. That's when my burning love for movies began. I grew up with Harry, Ron, and Hermoine and wondered when I'd learn enough magic to join them. I yearned to become Indiana Jones, craved the knowledge to master the force or captain the Enterprise to explore the deep reaches of the universe. Now that I'm old enough, I know I can't do any of those things -- by my characters can.
I became the Master of my fate -- and I wanted to write in one place for all time. In my mind’s eye I envisioned writing alone on the deck of my grandparent’s beach house on the rocky cliffs of Marblehead. My wavy brown hair and hazel eyes are hidden underneath my favorite golf hat and Ray Bans -- the better to survey a scene so quiet I can hear the calm ocean waves lapping against the rocks a hundred feet below. I am hiding from life, and happy for it.
But then came college. Overwhelmed by my fears and doubts, I forgot all about that dream and replaced it with a new one. I wanted, for once, something secure. A suburban house with a wife and two children. Maybe a job writing corporate commercials, so at least I could still be a bit creative. To prepare, I started a transportation company in college that predated Uber ... but became engrossed more in writing blog posts than driving. I worked Wall Street … but was writing during my free time. The passion wouldn’t die, but still refused to step forward and claim dominance. I worked retail. I tutored, walked dogs, taught eighth graders and got my bartending license while writing on the side. I wrote a play that made it into a New York festival, and a comedic web series that has so far been to seven festivals. Even so, my fears reigned supreme.
But I’m not scared anymore, and am anxious no longer.