Monday, Hasty Dawn is giving me the chance to #BeReal

imageI’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…?

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34 thoughts on “Monday, Hasty Dawn is giving me the chance to #BeReal

  1. You’re doing it again, Ned…

    Being funny, and authentic, and even vulnerable. It’s what I was referring to in an earlier comment this morning.

    I am so glad you married a beautiful woman who not only appreciates your funny side, but your smart, protective, and intuitive side, too. It’s not always easy to separate from the labels people put on you, but you were self-aware and resilient enough to find your way to the exact space you are supposed to be.

    Loved this post – Hasty and the #BeReal series is amazing!

    • Thank you so much, Michelle. And you’re right about my wife — she is simultaneously the reason I am who I am, and also my reward for being so 😉

      I’m looking forward to sharing more of this Monday — and yes, her series is really terrific. And important.

  2. Oh sure. Tease the hell out of us on a Friday morning. Thanks a lot, Ned!

    I’ll be off in my corner waiting ever so patiently for Monday morning and reading other stuff. Maybe I’ll write. I kind of need to do that a bit more.

  3. I’ll be there, Ned. I can’t join you when you are laughing at the world if I refuse to join you when you are making a serious point, now can I? Okay, I could. But that would be a pretty poor excuse for a friend. Most humor has its roots in pain or frustration, and makes a great coping mechanism, but sometimes, you have to take a harder look at your life, and stand up for yourself. It’s one thing to be funny. It’s another to be someone’s scapegoat.

  4. I will be there. I already feel prickly. The character of the “bumbling husband” made me itch when I saw it on tv and in life. My friends degrade themselves and I’m like wtf?? I’m glad you are no longer in that place.

  5. Without having read the rest of your post (yet) I think it’s safe to say you can relate to what it’s like coming out of the closet. At least, I found myself relating to what it’s like being a ‘trophy husband’, even though to my knowledge I’ve never been married.

  6. Pingback: 10 Assumptions about Church Ladies | jennsmidlifecrisis

  7. Pingback: Featured Blogger: Ned Hickson – Art by Rob Goldstein

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