No one gave me permission to be a comedian. Few people encouraged it.  as a career. And I while I had a spark, I wasn’t really that funny. At first. But I felt the desire to do comedy from my toes to my eyeballs and everywhere in between. I had to do it. Not because I was good at it, but because I wanted it be.

And having gotten good at creating comedy (after a very many years of noodling), I now give myself permission to create every day. Habitually. I have to do it. Like meditation or exercise or getting to bed early. (Ok, not great at the last one.)

A mandala in the sand. A poetic blessing for a friend. Jokes for my new show. Anything. If I don’t move something through, I feel creatively… constipated. Cranky, sticky, dissatisfied.

The thing about permission to create (or not) is that it’s wired into our deep unconscious. Mom or Dad or a teacher or a kid told you when you were 7 that “your drawing is ugly“, or “you’ll never make a living at playing trombone”, or “you just shouldn’t open your mouth and let words come out.” Parents are like God. So they literally took away your permission.

Well, now you’re an adult (surprise!) And it’s time to take it back. But how?

The 3 magical secrets to reclaiming permission to create:

  1. Make a choice to show up for yourself, even if it’s scary.
  2. Shelf what you should or should not create and return to that inner desire you felt to create that lit you up. What did you long to do? For me, it was a burning passion to be on stage, in front of people.
  3. Take that passion and consciously choose to make bad art. See how bad you can make it. And then check to see if you’re still alive. If you died from feeling mortified. (Check now. Did you?) You’re still reading this, so you’re probably alive!

I encourage you to tap into that burning desire and do something badly.

And while it’s cliché, I’m gonna say it anyway, because it’s true. Don’t waste a decade of your life like I did f**king around, pretending to be doing it and telling people you do it but really just being afraid of doing it. Get help with this. (I just happen to know someone…) (Me. Duh.)

Alicia Dattner

Comedian and Creatrix Alicia Dattner is an internationally-acclaimed, award-winning performer who loves to help others use the power of humor to transform their lives and write a new unfolding story for the world.


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