Turning 2 Today: 5/3/19

Today is my 2nd birthday 🎁 . Its the day that I died, but also the day that I lived. Its the day a sudden & severe asthma attack stopped my ❤️ for 5 minutes while on stage performing in Philly. May 3, 2017, will be a day that I carry as close to me as my children’s birthdays for the rest of my life. Its a day as prominent in my mind as an impending court date for parking in a bus zone. Its a day that I think about every time I lace up my shoes to leave out for a show. Its a day I think about every time I kiss my wife Dionne & kids goodbye. Its a day I think about every night when I step onstage and grab the 🎤. Today is that day. This is only my second time experiencing this day since Jesus paged me back in 2017, and it always feels eerie. There is an anxiousness attached to this day for me that makes me want to get past it quickly. Because in my mind, if I can just make it to May 4th, then in my head, “I won”. I beat death, and now I’m straight for the other 364 days (365 in a leap year). At least that was my wishful way of thinking until last Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019.

May 3, 2017 following the asthma attack that killed me at a show in Philly.

For comics, Thursday-Sunday is typically our bread and butter, but every now and then early week shows arise. I had accepted an apartment show gig from fellow comic/ building resident Theresa L Concepcion. She hosts these swanky ass comedy shows on the top floor of this lavish ass DC apartment building. I’m talking these MF’s have Fiji Water Fountains & gluten-free toilet paper 😂. It was a fun lineup in store with myself & my homeboy Martin Amini both doing long sets. After sitting in tea-party sponsored traffic for damn near 2 hours on the BW Parkway, I finally arrived. I was excited to run through a bunch of new jokes & ideas. The show was already underway upon arriving & Martin was on stage when I walked in. I checked in with Theresa and found a corner to stand and watch his set before going up. Residents were sprawled on decadent ass couches drinking wine & enjoying themselves. About 5 minutes before going up, I felt a familiar and unwelcome visitor in my airways. Bitch ass ASTHMA !!! It had been a string of HORRIBLE pollen days and everything outside was heavily dusted with green anthrax. I’m assuming this could have aided in triggering things. In preparation for moments like this, I carry a mini ER in my travel bag that I take into all shows. It has prednisone, allergy meds, assorted inhalers, nebulizers, epi pens, all that stuff. Trying to remain calm and not THINK myself into a more aggressive attack, I discreetly took a few pills, puffed my inhaler and sipped some water. Martin had just said “goodnight”, and Theresa was announcing me. As I walked to the mic, I felt like I was floating. Like “Spike Lee Joint” type floating.

I couldn’t tell how many of my symptoms were actually presenting themselves and what I may be creating in my mind, so I took the stage calmly trying to assess myself. You can’t go around freaking roomfuls of “Crazy Rich Tenants” out (NEW Screenplay Alert 🚨). Anybody who knows me or who has ever seen me perform knows that I start riffing and talking shit as SOON as I grab the mic (many nights I don’t even ever get around to telling these things called jokes?). Oftentimes I scream shit out while walking to the mic. It’s a tone & energy I set immediately for myself and the crowd. I didn’t have that in me & I knew it right away. I pulled up a stool and sat down in the middle of the room with the audience surrounding me on both sides. The set started very slowly as I would say a few words and then just stare at the crowd in an attempt to conserve breaths & gather my thoughts. I was spiraling mentally. I could see Theresa looking at me concerned attempting to figure out what was happening with me. I was slated to do 30 minutes or so, and maybe 5 minutes in, I flat out told the crowd what I was feeling internally, apologized and told everyone about the meds in my bag incase things took a sudden turn. All I could think was, “This shit feels like Philly”. Physcially it was nowhere near as aggressive obviuosly, but mentally it was the exact same night. Actually it was even worse, because now I had an image of how it was going to end. In my DEATH. In my boys growing up without me. Its such a terrifying & humbling feeling because others really can’t see or feel whats happening to your respiration until its too damn late. It’s isolating & painfully terrifying. Somewhere around 10 minutes in, I felt a little relief and got some waves of laughs rolling. I was able to rest & hide behind them a bit and I’m thankful for that. Every few seconds through the wheezing, my mind would go to dark places and I would contemplate saying “Goodnight” out of fear. I DIDN’T !!! I think I actually ended up doing more than 30 minutes that night. I guess I’m longwinded even when short of breath 😂.

Did I CRUSH? Absolutely not. Did I LIVE? Absolutely yes. For me, going up that night wasn’t about being FUNNY, it was about being FEARLESS. Which is ironically enough when you are the most FUNNY. It was an AMAZING hurdle for me to get across. One that I try to forget is there, but reminds me of its presence often. I was scared shitless as I sat on that stool with the mic, but I still went up. It’s what comics do. I took the mic scared, performed scared, but I did not relinquish the stage, even though I wanted to many times. It felt like when someone has a bomb on in a movie, and they don’t want to move to avoid blowing up. That’s the level of pressure I walk around with & definitely what I felt on this night.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

I’m writing this to say “I’m Proud Of You” to my damn self. Trauma is so real and will come back in the weirdest of moments. Standup Comedy is a HUGE part of my life, only surpassed by my family. It’s also what I was doing when I lost my life, so you can imagine how I have mixed feelings about it at times. As much as I try not to think about it, it’s always on my mind. Standup changed for me after that night in Philly two years ago today. The stakes are higher for me when I take a show. Being funny is maybe number 3 on my list when performing. Breathing & Not Dying remain uncontested for the #1 & #2 spots. Who knows what the future holds, but it’s clear that late April & early May are clearly trying to assassinate me 😂. MF’s. I’ll end this by talking to asthma & death directly. In the words of my life coach/ spiritual advisor Shawn Carter, “I can’t take no threats, I got a set of twins (ah!)
Those were just some words you’ll never hear again (uh huh!).

The Marathon Continues 🏁💙

#FBF#JasonWeemsComedy#10ToesDown#GODisGOOD#May3rd#TwoBirthdays#HappyBdayWeems#AsthmaIsAHo#PTSD#FirstDayBackPodcast#JonSnowOfStandup#IronThrown 👑⚔️

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