Last week, my wife and I went to see Kevin Hart. While waiting for him and his crew to entertain us, an endless warning of “don’t break out your cellphone” appeared, well… everywhere. As a result, people were forced to talk to one another or stand in the lobby or bathrooms to talk / text / surf the ‘Net if they couldn't communicate with one another.
We chose to talk about comedy shows we’ve seen and how my wife found it so amazing that Kevin could command $75 a ticket and sell out a minor league hockey arena in our town on the basis that people wanted to come and see him talk humorously about his life. Granted, we both love his stuff, but this is a guy who went from getting booed to getting cheap laughs nobody would remember to going large to being the number one comic in America because people remember his new style of jokes thanks to his mentor's advice.
I agreed, and I elaborated how awesome it must feel for him since I feel the same way about people taking the time out of their lives to give my stories a read. And really, that’s true. I’m humbled and ecstatic how many people feel that my story resonates with their lives or feel that I tell some semblance of truth to them in my blogs. Yes, it really is that humbling, but it’s also inspiring and motivating to the person that I want to be, which is a writer.
What’s even better is that my life gets to have meaning for the advice that I am able to give out to others based on successes, failures, and a life with Parkinson’s. While I’m definitely comfortable in written words, I never felt like I was a hero for this. I see Eddie Vedder’s statement about not being people’s “messiah” reflects some of what I feel, though for me, I look to the heroes that have inspired me in action and words to move my life to a better place. To a significant degree, my self-help is actually just me channeling their teachings into my platform.
However, I know that my experiences are also my own, though they are not all unique.
And that’s Kevin Hart, too. His messages of growing up and learning, while laughing at his mistakes, show a level of comfort that he feels in himself. I find that worth $75 to sit in the crowd and take it all in. For instance, in his show, he talked about _____, and then he talked about _____, which was really funny. He concluded his set of family stories and other miscellaneous happenings in his life with _____. Yeah, it was definitely a great show. In this, if you have Netflix, you can check out some of his other shows, too. Like his security said, though, don't expect people to pay big money to give you the jokes for free.
One thing he talked about that really moved me was the story of how he was robbed, when he said _____. Sitting there and taking it all in, I realized that there’s people who see our successes and want to suck them dry. For all the lovers who feel the joy, others will tear us down and drain our lives.
So do we run from future success since haters look to fling poop at our victories or do we speak truth and ignore the noise and friction? The answer should be easy, but if it was that simple, I wouldn’t ask it here. If we don’t care what others say, why do we?
I wonder as much as anyone if my words will be misconstrued. Am I a narcissistic wreck? Am I bragging about my accomplishments to the point I’m belittling others? Are my facts correct? Do my prejudices and preferences for how I live trample other valuable life expressions that could work for others? Am I too philosophical, intense, or verbose?
You get the point.
Nevertheless, I know I have something to say, and like Kevin Hart did at the end of his show, I shout my sincere thanks to all of you. Like Jay-Z said, you could be anywhere you want. You’re here with me. I appreciate that.
And I appreciate the good folks at www.parkinsonsdisease.net who contacted me about writing for them several times a month. Joining their mission and the fine writers there not only leaves me humbled and excited, but it shows me that I’m saying things that can change your lives for the better. Every person I move is another person sympathizing with our cause, empathizing with our plight, and working on the cure.
As long as my tremoring hands type, as long as my legs can walk, and as long as my voice is loud enough and not too raspy, I’m going to keep it up. As Parkies, we’ve got everything to lose, so that means we have even more to gain.
So choose to live your life… out loud. Find the great voices that motivate you and run with it. The best days are yet to come.
And thank you again for choosing to give me 5 minutes of your time so I can make a difference in your life. That small feat makes a large difference in mine.