Tag Archives: anniversary

(fifteen years ago) the speed of time

Time’s a funny thing.

For the first twenty-four years of my life, today’s date was just a date. But fifteen years ago, it became important.

Fifteen years ago, I stood at an altar. For the regular reasons.

(eighteen years ago) Surrounded by throngs of married and engaged law students, I thought I was going to die alone, and it terrified me.

(fifteen years ago) I wore a tuxedo and said “I do” in a Catholic Church, and no lightning touched down upon our heads.

(twenty years ago) As a college sophomore I played video games and then went home and touched myself too many times.

(fifteen years ago) We danced to a song that took much too long to choose and sometimes now I can’t immediately remember what it was called.

(twenty-two years ago) I had a 1984 Chrysler Fifth Avenue and rolled up the sleeves on my T-shirts. Sometimes I stapled them so they’d stay.

(fifteen years ago) I gave into tradition for the last time as my best friend from college walked down the aisle as a bridesmaid instead of a groomswoman.

(twenty-four years ago) I cried about unrequited love and punched holes in my walls.

(fifteen years ago) Friends from each stage in my life drank and laughed with each other as they toasted my future.

(twenty-eight years ago) I snapped a girl’s bra strap and my dad said “Boys will be boys,” because he knew I’d eventually turn into a respectful man.

(fifteen years ago) I didn’t drink, but the night was still a drunken blur.

(thirty years ago) I devoured every book I could find and found whole new worlds worthy of exploration.

(fifteen years ago) We were too tired to consummate our marriage, and nobody noticed that giant red flag flapping in the air.

(thirty-two years ago) My parents burst with pride at my intelligence and precociousness, not realizing how unbearable it might become.

(fifteen years ago) I said I did, even though I showed I couldn’t.

(thirty-four years ago) I was the only male child, and I liked it.

(fifteen years ago) We started a new life with a terminal lifespan.

(thirty-six years ago) We moved to Florida from Boston and ate Raisin Bran for dinner, which amazed me at three years old.

(fifteen years ago) I hadn’t evolved from someone who knew everything to someone who knew he didn’t.

(thirty-eight years ago) My parents loved me fiercely without reservation, and haven’t stopped.

(fifteen years ago) I danced with my mother as she cried and took my face in both of her hands and kissed me.

(forty years ago) My mother looked at herself in the mirror and wondered what I’d be like when I arrived in three months.

and

(one year after my divorce) My best friend took me to dinner and wore a long blonde wig so, as he said, “I would feel like Amy was still there and wouldn’t be sad.”

Adam Avitable and his best friend in 2010

Time’s a funny thing.

Married For Forty Years: My Parents The Unicorns

Robyn and Jim Avitable, today and 40 years ago

Why do you build me up buttercup, baby
Just to let me down and mess me around
And then worst of all you never call, baby
When you say you will but I love you still
I need you more than anyone, darlin’
You know that I have from the start
So build me up buttercup, don’t break my heart

Forty years ago, my 21-year old mother and my 23-year old father stood awkwardly in front of a Catholic priest, nervous and anxious, eager with anticipation, and declared their love for each other. Two children (practically) committed to each other, unaware of what the future could hold, with no guarantees except the potential each of them saw in the other’s hearts.

And here they are today. Happy, successful, and retired, they live a good life – a life they deserve, a perfectly balanced relationship gyroscope. Their complaints are minor and superficial, nothing more than a familiar patter that’s been rehearsed for decades. My parents are, above all else, still madly in love (maybe even more so now that they don’t have any of us around).

The lessons they’ve taught and the examples they’ve set are almost incalculable. My father’s respect for my mother is quiet and unspoken yet clear and heroic. The matriarchal role my mother steps into effortlessly is gracious and benevolent, filled with mutual love. Together they demonstrate what a marriage is supposed to be. How to roll the dice and walk away a winner. That when you make the right choice, and you listen to your heart and mind, love isn’t a gamble at all.

Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad. I love you.

Divorce and the Lace Anniversay. Thirteen Years Later.

I still haven’t gotten rid of that fucking calendar notification.

Why not?

I don’t know.

It seems like it should be easy.

Just click “delete”.

Yet I can’t.

anniversary_02

Will I get married again? Sure. No. Maybe. There are too many steps from this point in my life to even get to the consideration of another marriage.

I should probably do more dating. Get into a healthy relationship with someone to whom I’m attracted, who I trust, who doesn’t have baggage that colors her every action. Find someone to share my life with.

But it’s so hard. I have an active social life. I’m out performing 3-4 nights a week. I work a day job that has taken over my life. I work until I stress myself out and then I crawl under the covers and sleep until I have to do something else. Where does someone else fit?

Today would have been my 13th anniversary. Thirteen years ago, I stood in a church, an immature 24-year old with no idea of the burdens coming his way, and professed a promise to someone whom he loved. And man, did I fuck that one up royally.

I think, maybe, it’s a good idea to keep the reminder around a bit longer. Not to wallow in the past but to remain motivated. This is my reminder to strive towards happiness, to avoid settling out of a fear of being alone, and to remain secure in who I am when I let someone new into my life.

So this year I’ll just buy myself something lacy and frilly and keep on moving forward. Do you think Victoria’s Secret has something that will fit a gorilla?

Twelfth.

October 13th will always be a DATE to me.

The 12th Anniversary

Our clock stopped in 2009, at nine years. There can be no more anniversaries, but that doesn’t mean it won’t visit me every year. Email reminders from florists, marketing materials from hotels or resorts where nine earlier anniversary celebrations took place, the calendar notification that I still haven’t removed after three years.

I don’t need the external reminders, though. My heart still knows. It will always know.

Today is incongruous. Regret battles the confidence that the right choices were made. I remember the visits to tucked away locations, the laughter as we explored genuine Americana, and the fullness pushing from within my chest. From Cape Girardeau to Malibu, Las Vegas to Savannah, the memories shine brilliantly, highlighting the best stops along the path our marriage took.

It ended because it needed to, but the trip will always have been worth it.  I am the me of today because of the me who said I do twelve years ago, the me who made bad choices four years ago, and the me who said it was time to move on.

If you see me today, congratulate me. Not because I got divorced – that was a failure on my part and nothing to celebrate. Congratulate me because I built upon an experience that turns many bitter and became a better person. Congratulate me for realizing that I was unhappy and that I needed to make changes for me. Congratulate me for respecting myself enough to know that I was hurting both of us by staying married.

I will always regret hurting someone who I loved. Whom I still care for very deeply. But I see who I am today, and I know that it was a mandate – it was completely and utterly imperative – that I end my marriage. Every day, seeing people in unhappy relationships who refuse to make difficult choices, who would rather suffer under an illusion that they’re martyrs or being selfless, I celebrate my decision to be selfish and think about myself first so that I can better take care of those in my life who mean the most.

Today would have been our twelfth. But it’s not. And that’s fine.

One Year of Doing Stand-Up Comedy: What I’ve Learned

On March 6, 2011, I stood up at the Orlando Improv, in front of an audience of around 150 people, absolutely terrified, and did my very first stand-up routine (with the exception of a few open mics before that night).  I practiced and practiced for hours before a mirror, working on timing and delivery.  It was an amazing night, due in part to the fact that the Improv is one of the best places for a new comic to make his entry into that world – a great environment, a highly receptive audience, and a professional, comfortable venue.

This Tuesday will be my one-year anniversary doing stand-up comedy.  And almost a year later to the day, I am at the Orlando Improv again.  However, this time, I’m there as the emcee for all six shows this weekend with headliner Bobby Slayton.  In the last year, I have developed my material and edited and revised it.  I have a fantastic, almost perfect five-minute set, a good ten-minute set, and an okay twenty minutes.  I’m constantly working on revising and tweaking my existing material to incorporate new bits.  It is a process that will never end, and I love it.

Adam Avitable at the Orlando Improv trying to be funny

A year is nothing in the world of stand-up, but that won’t stop me from spouting wisdom like I know what I’m talking about.

Nine things I’ve learned about doing stand-up comedy

  1. Write as much as you can.  This is true for blogging and writing books, as well. Sometimes what you need to do is just write.  Get it out of your head onto paper.  The more you can write, the more material you will see.  Learn brainstorming techniques, keep a notebook with you, and record your thoughts anytime anything strikes you. Then edit the hell out of it, delete most of it, and keep only the best of the best.
  2. Expose yourself to the world.  I don’t mean literally, as I’m known for.  Read books and magazines, surf the Internet, watch the news and other television shows, go to the movies, get out of the house.  What can you write if you limit your exposure to the world?
  3. Be honest and personal.  This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t stretch the truth and exaggerate and extrapolate and hypothesize, but the best material will always come from a place of honesty.  And the more humor you can find in the pain and suffering you’ve experienced in your life, the more your audience will relate to it, and, subsequently, you.
  4. Advice should be taken with a grain of salt.  There is no singular way to achieve success in this business.  Every person who gives you advice may have the best intentions, but they are learning as they go, as well.  Listen to the advice, file it away, and use it, but don’t rely on it.  Similarly, you can learn from every comic out there, from the newest person to the most cynical veteran.  Even if you learn what not to do, it’s a lesson worth learning, especially if it helps you to forge your own path.
  5. Jealousy and pettiness don’t belong.  The world of stand-up comedy is not a fair one.  Someone can put in time and effort and still be treading water while another comic comes along and experiences instant success.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a bad comedian or that you should quit (although sometimes it does – try to be aware when comedy maybe isn’t for you) – it just means that someone else is doing well. Support your fellow comics, encourage them, and be happy for them.
  6. Have faith in your material,  and the audience will recognize and reward it.  The comic who apologizes for his or her material is the comic who loses the respect of the audience, and that translates to a tepid response.  Be proud of what you’ve written, own your words, and never compromise.  On the other hand, never blame or berate your audience.  If they didn’t laugh, it’s nobody’s fault but your own.  It does not matter how funny you think you are if the audience doesn’t agree.
  7. Don’t be afraid to fail.  And I don’t mean failing in that sad, pathetic, self-destructive way that so many comedians seem to do more than many other professions.  Failing  means that you learned which bits won’t work, and that’s part of the process.  Actually, that is the process.
  8. Treat comedy like a job.  This is important for several reasons.  First of all, if it’s just a hobby, and you never put any effort into improving, showing up weekly to open mics with the same drivel, just quit.  It’s time to go.  Secondly, too many comedians get sloppy while doing the jobs that they are paid to do.  Be responsible, be respectful, be on time, and recognize that the audience is filled with your customers or clients.  Make them happy and you’ll succeed.
  9. If you don’t like to be criticized or judged, stay away from comedy.  The field of stand-up is unique in the way that you will get immediate feedback on the quality of the work you’re doing, in the form of applause, laughter, silence, or even hostility.  You will never be able to please everyone.  Even more importantly, other comics will judge and critique you to your face or behind your back, sometimes constructively, but usually not.  And some comedians are just assholes – that’s their personality and they will do whatever they can to tear down the others around them in order to feel better about how much they’re treading water in their career.  The only way to survive with your self-esteem intact is to be your harshest critic and your own worst enemy.

Humor has been my passion for decades.  From my ongoing subscription to MAD Magazine starting at age 10 to performing stand-up in my 11th grade talent show to launching Avitable.com in 1998, I have always respected anyone who can make people laugh, and taken great pride in my ability to do the same.  This last year has been eye-opening and amazing, and I cannot wait for the years of stand-up to come.  Unless the world ends in December 2012, in which case I’ll be really fucking annoyed.