Hello! 2018 is the year I start a blog. I decided my first post should be a little introduction of who I am and how I came to be where I am now.
It has been just a little over four years of going off my ADHD medication and I have never felt more calm and collected. I was a mess when I started comedy but it was part of the journey to saving my mind's ability to focus energy in a productive way. When I went off of my amphetamines I was currently prescribed 60 mg of Vyvanse and an additional 20 mg of Adderall instant release tablets if I needed it. It is a lot but it was a long process of changing doses and scripts for a long sixteen years since I was initially diagnosed. I was diagnosed with ADHD not even that old, just about four to five years old in Dallas, Texas. People may think my parents were crazy for letting a doctor medicate a child so young but it was part of the trend during the 90s. Teachers still had a lot of say in what parents were prescribing their children and my mom felt defeated having three children to balance while my dad was always away for work. "Did Katie take her medication today?" They would ask, and being a wild child prior, my argument to not take it never held up. The feeling of being on and off medication as a child felt like you are present and then you are a robot. I just did what I was told, my parents were amazing at putting us in various academic explorations and with a decent amount of privilege. I was swept away by becoming an artist. A funny one, but it was always confusing having your personality go back and forth between medicated and not. When I was off medication I was free and crazy. Laughing attacks were every moment of the day and you could not hold this girl down. I was the fart queen and class clown. Medicated, I was just a ball of feelings wrapped up in a blank face. I continued to make art and stay in the mindset that I would just be an art teacher one day because the only cool teachers to me at the time were the art teachers.
Fast forward to four years ago when I had the epiphany that I wanted to change my life and stop taking ADHD medication. I was a year out of college and I was denied a letter of recommendation I needed for art graduate school (two weeks before the due date). It was a letter from a particular mentor I adored, loved and respected and even though it broke my heart and left me feeling helpless it did not feel malicious. I mean, I definitely already paid for all my applications so I was thinking to myself, "wow, could she have just done this a little earlier?" But that is how creative mentors in art school can be, everything is done with harsh criticism. A lot of my friends and colleagues said she was insane for doing that but I took her letter of why she declined to heart instead. I am a sucker for brutal notes. I had a few other mentors tell me they would write one for me but she had such a close eye on me for the last couple of years prior, deep down, I knew it. She was right. She said I needed to wait because I wasn't ready for graduate school and my portfolio reflected that. My portfolio was all over the place at the time which was reflective of my mind. I never truly had control of my goals, I just followed what my parents and every scholastic influence around me pushed for. All my peers in art school at the time made it seem like taking time off between undergraduate school and graduate programs was a bad idea.
Simultaneously, I had been spending my spare time with friends or exploring Tinder and OKCupid as well as holding onto an intimate friendship of blurred lines down in Austin, Texas. This guy we will refer to as Texas, hit me in all the feels. I had just moved to Denver from Boulder and was all alone so why not try to get laid. It was maddening, the pool of people you mindlessly go out with and I was just comparing them to a Mr. Texas who was not worth my time when it came to intimacy. I met him through a friend I would stay with when visiting childhood friends in Austin, Texas. After hanging out with him and his friends we ended up all staying in touch, it was around the same time I just was exposed to the show, Broad City and I was so excited about it I tried to recommend it to one of his friends and he just said, "No way, I am sick of girls that are not hot trying to be funny." Of course it blew up into a huge fight and will continue to haunt me. How could anyone say that? I immediately began thinking garbage thoughts like, "Well, if his friends say the girls on Broad City (WHO ARE GENIUS AND BEAUTIFUL) aren't pretty or funny, what does he think of me? This is a toxic way of thinking but at the time it was the only reality I knew. I still tried to argue him and there was no convincing which led to me to fall away from vapid friends like that. “This punk isn’t even the guy I am into, why am I trying to convince an idiot. I know what I think is funny,” is what I reminded myself. I felt alone again and was drinking a lot and just plowing through more dates. My girlfriends would hit me up after nights of going out dancing and tell me what I did. “You stormed off the dance floor and left us at the bar.” I was not enjoying anything anymore. I hated that I dealt with my friends that way, it wasn’t who I wanted to be. I always identified as the fun one before and now I was close to losing them.
I finally went on a date with an comedic improviser. I had never seen improv before and immediately just thought, this is wonderful. It was a whole different way of creating something fun and wonderful. “Wow, it is fun,” I thought to myself. All my life I wanted to make funny stuff with my art but it always just came out conceptual and nobody wants to buy conceptual art of hairy vaginas or prints of my HPV cells on Etsy. Maybe now, but not in 2013 (sadly so). The date ended and I wanted to go sign up for classes the next day but I knew I would see that guy and I didn’t want to step on his toes (lame). I ended up dating again and falling back down the rabbit hole of depression and you can only get so far into online dating until you meet the one. The one that slaps you in the face and wakes you up from the nightmare that is yourself! Let’s call him Ted. Ted had a very similar taste in music, art, film and mental illness as me. “We both have anxiety disorder! Yay! He will know my depression and anxiety so well. Finally someone that gets me.” So toxic but we fell fast and hard into a sexual exchange of sex and drunken nights. This is what I thought was as close to love as I could get at the time and I remember after one stupid night of hanging out and showing him my favorite comedy I spilled the beans about that date where I went to an improv show. I said, "it would be silly if I did it and I would feel like a dick if I saw the improviser I went on a date with." So stupid (I know). “You should just do it,” Ted said. I laughed and then my laughter trailed off into silence because he was right and it made me feel sick. We went to bed and the next day Ted kissed me goodbye saying he was going out of town for a convention of Magic the Gathering. I had to convince him to tell me that is where he was going (which if he really liked me, he probably would have told me) cause he was so embarrassed. Ironically, I thought to myself, “Why is he embarrassed, if he is making money off a stupid game?” We really got each other, right?
I didn’t hear back from Ted for two weeks and at the time I was so shocked that he ghosted me. "I was making him laugh so much! I felt like the dick was in the bag," I thought to myself. Turns out you can talk at people and they think what they want to say but your personality can really steamroll if it is not meant to be. That is why a couple "What do you think?" Statements are healthy. Anyway, it was clear I had no choice but to sign up for classes and a sign that dating was going bad and I need to move onto better things. I signed up for my first improv class with my friend, Becca and I had a blast. The idea of saying yes translated into everything. I didn’t realize how much I was saying no to my heart. I look back on my adolescence and remember how I talked about how much I love to make people laugh in all my journals, artwork and even the stupid youtube channel from my Myspace days that I can’t figure out the password for so I can delete it. In all of it, I was trying but had no idea how. I even have a firm memory of pretending to do stand up on a stool in my friend’s room while her and my other pal laid in bed watching me. I made some remark of getting my period cause that is what I saw on TV and when my two friends laughed I actually told them to shut up out of embarrassment (HA). The prescriptions that guided me through a life of depression were just manipulating the way I wanted to express myself. When I would find something fun to talk about as a child like farting or just a silly thought it would make me feel suddenly shy of explaining it. Finally being off these scripts for a solid chunk of time was starting to open up my confidence and mood.
After a few months into improv, I got convinced to do an open mic and steadily became in love with stand up. I loved improv and it gave me stage confidence and the ability to be silly, fail (Like fucking bomb) and be okay with that in front of a live audience. o be real though, stand up finally began to feel like I was sharing my story and connecting with people. I met people like my dear friend, Miriam who let me put her name down as a reference for my application to my current day job and now I have a solid day job at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains in the Arvada health center. It is not art related but when I leave, it is not coming with me except for my undeniable care for reproductive health rights. I have worked with many amazing women that have inspired me in comedy and performing in so many ways. I am so lucky to still have my close friends from college and before. The people that saw my ugly side and stuck with me. I could list them all now but that would be a wonderful blog for later. I am blessed (even though I hate that word) to not lose them or even my family through my healing, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t check my privilege for that. I am so lucky to even have met my first boyfriend without even trying. I just told myself, “you are going to walk right up to him tonight and buy him and beer.” Now, we have been together for almost a year and the old me would have never just said yes to opening up my heart in the ways I have for this lucky guy.
One of my mentors in college, Melanie Yazzie was hilarious and amazing. She taught me so much about sharing autobiographical work and she also did write me a rec letter for the record. Yazzie always believed in me though to say the least and THAT is another worthy blog read but for now, let’s just say learning that you are not for everyone is important in all aspects of life. She once said, “Why make stuff about everything else when you have your own story? When you die, you will just be dead and nobody has the ability to tell your story like you, that is why it is your gift to share.” I take this with me in my heart wherever I go on stage or when I still make art. It really holds up.