Josh And Failure Vs. The World: Day 1

Josh and Failure Vs. The World: Day 1

The failure that looms over me – the failure that haunts me to this day – is the failure I felt when I did not make it into my high school advanced acting class. Compared to all the other failures that have occurred, this may seem like something that’s not a big deal. And that’s because it is not a big deal. I am, however, insane, so here we are.

All through high school, I wanted to get into the advanced acting class – they got to do two extra plays per year, and they were guaranteed roles in both of those plays. And the plays they did were a bit more mature and funny and the plays put on by the rest of us. I remember saying to myself “don’t worry about winning the oscar, don’t worry about trying to make it in Hollywood. Just make it into Advanced Acting – just do that, and the rest will fall into place.” While I was obsessing over this, other people were having sex. I knew about sex. I had read about it. I’d taken the necessary courses on it. I was familiar with the theories – but I never thought I was eligible. Asking me if I had sex would be like asking me when I was joining the NBA.

I worked on my audition pieces for weeks – a Shylock monologue from The Merchant Of Venice – (I got into character by having my own DNA) – and a comedic Dave Berry monologue that I failed to make funny.

I did the audition – I was an over-the-top angry Jew, then I was a sort of middle aged man from Florida aka an over-the-top slightly younger angry Jew. After the audition, the teacher asked me some questions to test my improv skills – the BIGGEST laugh that I got was during this time when I said that I was a virgin. Huge laughs – rolling on the floor laughing. I think it was the answer to a question of why I liked eating cookies – or something to that effect.

I did not make it into the class. I was devastated. The teacher told me that I was too close, in type, to another actor. Which, come to think of it, should be a huge insult to this other actor. I’m glad he never heard about it. She also said I was stiff and choppy. Presumably in my delivery. She said I was “almost there.”

This analysis of me has stayed with me for years. Or, rather, I have allowed this analysis to stay with me for years – I’ve been clinging to it for years. I’ve imprisoned myself within it for years.

I spent so much time sucking up to this teacher, I felt betrayed. And I didn’t treat her too well in the years that followed. And I harbored feelings of ill will towards her. As I harbor feelings of ill will toward any person who criticizes me. (As much as I hate to admit it, because I pride myself on being the victim in all circumstances.)

I totally lost confidence in myself after that. My stage fright got worse. I kept acting, but for years, this failure was hanging over my head.

Stand-up was the first place where I felt like I could be a failure and be ok. Ironically – but all the negative things about myself – all the stiff and choppy – as long as I copped to that, people seemed to like what i was saying.

Even thinking about this right now is making me nervous – “what if I suddenly suck again.” That’s the thought crossing my mind, which tells me that there is a part of me that thinks I’m great, and, that simply has to stop. I can’t think I’m great – that flies in the face of everything I believe in. I need to go walk around the block and rail at the lack of justice in the world.

Ensign’s Log: The Naked Now #startrek #startrekthenextgeneration #startrektng #startrekcosplay #startrekdiscovery #startrekds9 #startrekvoyager #startrek💫 #startrekfan #startrekkers #startrekmemes #startrekenterprise #startreknextgeneration

Ensign’s Log: The Naked Now #startrek #startrekthenextgeneration #startrektng #startrekcosplay #startrekdiscovery #startrekds9 #startrekvoyager #startrek💫 #startrekfan #startrekkers #startrekmemes #startrekenterprise #startreknextgeneration

Josh and Depression Vs. The World: Day 90.

This is the last entry for this topic. There’s something about ninety entries that tells me it’s time to end this. Have I conquered depression? No. I’ve just watched it. And I’ve concluded that I have to take bigger risks. I have to attack failure – embrace it. I have to face my fears and failures. Make friends with them. That’s why the next blog is going to be Josh and Failure vs. The World. So all I’m doing is changing the name of the title – that’s terrifying from a branding perspective, which is why I’m going to do it.

Perhaps depression is the absence of forward momentum. Or at least, that’s what it is for me. It’s inaction. It’s treading water. Depression is what happens when I stop and think. Perhaps it’s time to start moving.

And the first thing I’m going to do is start a podcast. Which will probably lead me right back into another round of depression blogs.

Rather, I’m going to CONTINUE doing a podcast – I had started a podcast and stopped it because I didn’t think it was any good, and even though I am correct about that, it’s no reason to stop it. I have to get better at it. Look for the next episode to “drop” this Sunday. It’s called JoshCast – it’s me talking into a phone in my car. Probably no more than ten minutes.

I’ve been told by people that I should have a partner in this podcast. That is why I will not have a partner in this podcast- I want to be able to do this alone. I want to prove that I can stand on my own two feet. Is it ego? Absolutely. If Bill Burr can do it, why can’t I? (That’s what I’ll be telling the guy at head of the welfare line in five years) But if the next blog is going to be about embracing failure – what better place to start with than with ego.

There will always be depression – even after death, probably. In the beginning there was nothing (and depression). And God Created The Heavens And The Earth and liquor. That’s how I’d re-write genesis, because I believe in the facts.

I have absolutely no confidence in myself or what I am doing. But I’m going to proceed as if I had confidence, and if I’m really really lucky, nobody else will have confidence either, and my lack of confidence will seem confident by comparison.

Here’s my opinion on how you’re living your life – don’t let anybody tell you how you should feel. You feel what you feel. And it’s not wrong to be sad. For better or worse, you are your own damnation and/or salvation. Don’t you get it – you don’t need the sword of power because the power was within you all along (though being rich helps).

I reserve the right to back to writing about depression at any time, by the way. So don’t worry – you haven’t seen the last of it. Not with the kind of money to be made on sequels.

And so I say to depression the one thing that should be said: thank you.

Josh and Depression Vs. The World: Day 89

Josh and Depression Vs. The World: Day 89

My depression level has gone from bad to Marc Maron.

I noticed some folding chairs, which had a striped upholstery pattern. Does that help the folding chair? Are people looking at a folding chair with a somewhat stylish pattern and thinking to themselves “My God, I’m blinded by the luxury.” My fear is that a person who designs folding chairs is reading this – and this is the last straw – the slap in the face that sends this person over the edge – and he hangs himself using one of his own folding chairs.

On the other hand, maybe the person who designed the pattern on those chairs is doing exactly what he or she loves to do – they knew, from the beginning – from age 5 – that their future would involve folding chair upholstery. Imagine a room full of various stripe and checker designs. “You see a folding chair, I see an unfolding dream!”

So I’m depressed. As I have been. Coming up on day 90. Three months of this. Well, more like 36 years. I call it functional depression – I still get up in the morning, but every second of it is horrible.

Face my fears – that’s what I keep coming back to. I have to face my fears. What is coming to mind when I think of facing my fears? Quite honestly – doing a podcast.

What am I afraid of? That I’m just another guy doing a podcast. that what I have to offer isn’t good enough. That I won’t be as good as Seinfeld. But the fact is, I am not Seinfeld. I am Joshua Snyder. And I have to learn to be myself. That way, I can accept and love myself for who I am while simultaneously not being as good as Seinfeld. So it all comes together.

At the end of the novel The Alchemist, we discover that the treasure the boy has been looking for was at the very beginning of his adventure – where he started. Where did I start? Literally, I guess it would be Aurora, Colorado. But metaphorically, where did I start? Anxiety, fear, and depression. So that’s where my treasure is. Great. Just great.

Josh and Depression Vs. The World: Day 88

I’m feeling absolutely no motivation to do anything today. Except write this blog. I find myself asking what I want to actually do with my life. Let me rephrase – I know what I want to do with my life, but my fear is that I won’t get to do it. Or that I will only be mediocre at it.

I strive to be the best that I can be. I really do strive for that. And I keep going around in circles saying to myself “well, if were truly great, wouldn’t I be discovered by now? Wouldn’t my greatness be self-evident?”

But this leads me to become more obsessed with being great than with having fun, or with saying what I want to say – and then I get stuck in everything – the writing, the performing, everything. And always there’s the question of whether or not I’m good enough – the greatest fear I have is to tell myself “yes, I am good enough.”

That is my biggest fear. Perhaps that is the cornerstone of all of this depression. The fear of believing in myself.

Saying that I’m great – first of all, that’s horrible for comedy. People don’t want to hear about how wonderful I am. They want to hear about how miserable I am. If this were Josh and Happiness Vs. The World – Facebook would have banned me by now.

So, my instinct as an artist is to say “you are an original, wonderful, and talented individual who has been touched by God.”

But the comedian in me says “at best, you’re the economy version of Richard Lewis. And you can’t digest milk products. And there is no God, so you should call the police on who or whatever “touched” you.”

So where is the truth? Somewhere in between. Or perhaps it doesn’t matter.

I read the following in a book about meditation: there are three basic steps to medication – precision, gentleness, and letting go.

Precision – the discipline of practice.

Gentleness – not letting precision run away with you.

Letting go – happens eventually, by itself, as you find the balance between precision and gentleness.

I’d say the same is true for stand-up. I need to find a better balance between precision and gentleness. The morning is a great time for precision – that’s when I write. Gentleness is useful after bad performances, and letting go will happen when it happens. Yes, it all sounds angelic on paper – it’s quite another thing when I say what I think is a punchline, and it turns out to be just another sentence.

Or is it that I’m not even sure what I want anymore? The things that gave me joy are no longer doing so.

Or am I just tired?

So continues the endless questioning. And then the thought that I am letting everyone down.

That’s it – I’m getting a Rice Krispy treat.

Josh & Depression Vs. The World: Day 88

Surprisingly not depressed today, which is TERRIFYING to admit, because I’m afraid God takes that as a challenge.

I talked to my mom yesterday- that actually helped me – why? Because I need other people in order to survive. That’s why Mad Max is so mad. If he had even a sister-in-law, he’d be a little less mad. He’d be Moderately Annoyed Max.

It it wrong that I am glad the kids are all back in school? The streets are less crowded with raw enthusiasm, and I can feel the crushing of spirits increasing exponentially. This shouldn’t be a good thing, and nevertheless, it makes me feel light on my feet.

I also came to the realization today that maybe I should only focus on what I want to do in life, and maybe that will make me feel better. Well, let’s not use the word “better.” That word hasn’t been applicable since the era of the Trapper Keeper.

Are there still Trapper Keepers? Their slogan should be “Trapper Keeper: So cool, you won’t notice that major disparity in educational opportunities between the classes.”

The Trapper Keeper was a notebook with “cool” designs on the front. They were big on turquoise. I enjoy turquoise myself. It’s blue, but with 10% less depression.

Does this mean I’ve won the war against depression? Oh, God no. Not at all. How could I even come up with a thought like that? Besides – that thought goes against the whole point of this blog – which is to turn depression into a friend. After all, who else is as reliable?

Making friends with depression. That’s why I’d like to celebrate having a negative attitude. For all those people out there who hold no hope that the next Batman movie will be any better than the last, I raise my glass to you!

For all those out there who have given up on the possibility of a Twin Peaks finale with a happy ending, I raise my glass to you!

For all those out there who react to “true love” the same way you react to “Rogers And Hammerstein,” I raise my glass to you!

Josh and Depression Vs. The World: Day 86

Sundays give me the free time to worry about Monday morning. I’m contemplating getting another job just so I can vary my anxiety.

I had a profound conversation last night where I received the following advice: purge the trauma that has caused the depression through writing and performing. So I’d better start from the beginning.

Conception – I don’t actually remember any of this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the sperm that fertilized the egg went through survivor’s guilt.

I have been told that I cried a lot when I was a baby – and that the reason could have been because I was lactose intolerant, and it took everybody some time to realize it. So the root of my depression is my failure to digest ice cream. Hence, there is no cure for depression.

I’m tired of being told that I should be optimistic. I know this is a departure from the theme, but I can’t get this out of my head. I’m reading this article about how people should teach their children to be more optimistic. If somebody is optimistic or pessimistic, doesn’t mean that they are not currently doing anything? If I have time to think about whether or not the glass is half full or half empty, the one thing I am not doing is something constructive, like filling the glass with alcohol.

So instead of being pessimistic or optimistic, do something! That’s the only thing that helps me. I go do something.

Sometimes I ask myself “what would I be doing right now if I were not depressed,” and then I would do that (the answer is sex, so I obviously can’t do that – I have to go with the next best thing, which is sugar and processed white flour).

I’m suddenly feeling fatigue. Which means that I am close to an emotional breakthrough – yes, what was the emotional cause of my depression – where did that begin?

It began when I started to want things. Success, achievement, love from an outside source. Before that, I was perfectly content to play with my M.A.S.K. Toys – including the red car that turned into a plane by simply having gull-wing doors. I was too young to worry about the real-world physics of this vehicle.

Thinking about the past like this irritates me – it’s the past. Whatever it is that I was, I am now what I am, and it is what it is. I have to accept that first, before things change.

I am afraid. Constantly afraid. Of everything and anything. As soon as the fear of one thing lifts, the fear of something else takes it’s place. My fears are like Starbucks promotions – there’s always a new one just around the corner. And I’m dreading whatever fear is represented by the Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Josh and Depression Vs. The World: Day 84

I’ve transitioned from depressed to afraid, so it looks like things are on the mend! It’s a relief to return to not being able to digest anything, due to the immense panic. It’s like I’m young again.

People aren’t reassuring me by telling me that I’m “young.” Anymore. They’re saying I’m “still young.” That means I’m three years away from “you’re a failure.” Though I would argue that I’m a failure now – so when it comes to failing, I’m ahead of my time.

I have come to the following conclusion after doing this blog for nearly three months: I have to face my fears.

1 – I recorded a comedy album in March. I’m going to release it by October 1st.
2 – My goal is to record a new comedy album next March.
3 – Starting October 1st, I’m going to be writing and starring in a webseries – let’s say five episodes. It’s either going to be a vlog about my life or a multipart epic science fiction adventure that rivals anything written by Bradbury or Asimov. We’ll see what the focus groups say.
4 – Wild Card – maybe I’ll also write a comedic novel due November 1st. It might be a graphic novel without the graphics.

These are the big fears.

I’m not sure what to say after that. I could go on and harp or complain or lament, but I’m suddenly not feeling the desire to do that.

There’s another monumental fear that I’m not even looking at yet – that would be the fear of relationships. The above fears, in many ways, are easy – they involve me either in my room by myself, or protected onstage by the barrier between performer and audience. But I’m taking baby steps.

I was talking about depression with my cousin (it runs in our family. More specifically, it IS our family.)

He was telling me about how we get caught up in the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and about the world around us. (The story I am telling myself is written, with much enthusiasm, by Victor Hugo.)

I suppose the trick is to identify the story I am telling myself as just that – a story. And this is where we meet up with Zen concepts – we must recognize that our thoughts are “thoughts,” and inso doing, we begin to see the illusion of our existence and achieve a higher level of equanimity and peace. Or we should just drink. At this point, it’s a toss up.

Last night, I tried counting my breaths in order to fall asleep. Here’s how that went:


I was finally able to get to sleep. It was right around that time that my alarm decided to go off.

And now I’m here writing this. Perhaps, at the end of the day, the only way for me to deal with depression is to keep myself busy. Depression needs a project – it’s too bad my depression isn’t a good contractor. For all the hours that its around, I could have central air by now.

Josh and Depression Vs. The World: Day 83

The only reason I don’t feel bad is because I don’t have the energy. Now THERE’S a status update for you.

I’ve come to the conclusion that my biggest problem is in avoiding failure. Namely, by avoiding failure, I have achieved an even deeper level of failure. So my aim is to embrace failure. After all, confidence comes with experience, and when it comes to failure, I’m a Fulbright Scholar.

I should start with a list of things that frighten me.

1 – Everything.

Ok, maybe I need to narrow my parameters.

1 – Everything.
2 – Everything else.

Ok, maybe I need to start small and work my way up.

I’ve always been afraid of writing one-liners. So I’m going to write some one-liners.

1 – I’m on a seafood diet. I “see” food and I “cry in the shower.”
2 – My family used to play “Trivial Pursuit.” We never played “Sorry” because saying that word out loud violated our family edict.
3 – I’ve decided to wear a fanny pack, because there’s still occasionally a person who is surprised when I tell them I’m single.
4 – I thought the sequel was going to be “Star Wars: The Force Hits The Snooze Button For Ten Minutes, Then Hits It Again, Sleeps Through the Meeting, And Spends The Rest of The Day Terrified It’s Going To Get Fired.”
5 – Yoga Pants – making me feel either guilty about being aroused or guilty about being disgusted.
6 – Chewbacca was quietly disappointed when Han refused to change his name to Duo, though he understood the emotional complexity of the situation.
7 – People wear track suits for two kinds of tracks: race and depression.