I’ve been a fan and follower of Hasty Dawn’s terrific #BeReal blog series for quite a while, marveling at the honesty and insight shared by folks revealing their truths in the hopes of helping others — either through offering perspective or inspiration. Sometimes, it’s just good to know you aren’t the first or last person to tread a particular piece of painful territory. Monday, I have the privilege of being a guest at #BeReal with my own moment of truth — and the difference between embracing humor as a part of my identity or slowly being smothered by it.
Here’s a short preview…
As a humor columnist, I get paid to be a truth-stretcher. An embellisher. A chronicler of life blown out of proportion. And I get to do it without living in Washington D.C. It’s a skill my mother will tell you I began honing at a young age — usually as a way of getting out of trouble. Again, it’s a wonder I didn’t go into politics.
However, I decided to use my skills for the greater good by becoming a writer instead.
Early in my career, I was in a very unhappy marriage. It lasted 15 years because I got good at not being real. Often, I wrote about my married life in a humorous way by portraying myself as the bungling husband always falling short of his smarter, more capable wife. It kept the peace and also gave me an escape. But while it generated laughter for readers, it also generated an identity that I grew increasingly uncomfortable with. My ex-wife, who was a successful business woman, would introduce me to clients at parties or dinners as “the silly guy they’ve read in the newspaper.”
They expected me to be the same silly guy. Always.
And so did my ex-wife.
I was becoming less of a person and more of a commodity in our relationship (I’d say “trophy husband” but hey, this is about being real.) I was losing my identity and, along the way, a certain level of self-respect that only made what was already an unhappy marriage even more miserable and disconnected…
It’s not my typical type of post. Then again, #BeReal isn’t your typical kind of blog series. I hope you’ll join me Monday at 6 a.m. (central) when I post the link here. Maybe even with some eggs…?