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  • Writer's pictureJaqi Furback

purgatory is a real thing

Some religions believe in that "in between" world.

Robin Williams was in a very beautiful movie about it. (What Dreams May Come.)

I'm not a religious person, but I see the story of purgatory as a metaphor a specific time in life. Escaping these real moments of purgatory is an important skill to be practiced. It's a skill that brings you closer to the joy of Heaven.

in other words:

Purgatory: moment we are yanked from our life as we know it, and get thrust (against our desires) into the cloudy abyss of the unknown.

Time spent there: the struggle to accept a new world is a place where joy is possible to find


a story about why this makes sense to me

First you must understand that I've spent 32 years working toward a career in performance/entertainment. (I started at 4.) Almost half of that time was focused specifically on comedy.

Last spring, in a desire to get "camera ready," I hired a personal trainer. It was nice to have someone pushing me at the gym, until he pushed me hard enough to damage my meniscus.

Being unable to walk and climb stairs is as good as death in this city, to those who spend half of their working time "pounding the pavement" between performance venues.


For a while, I fought my new disability. But the more I fought it, the more my knee felt like fire. Pain and suffering was winning. Hello, Hell.

But I couldn't bring myself to stop performing -- I wore a brace, I iced it. I learned to wrap the injury using Rocktape so I could keep limping to gigs. I convinced myself it was okay to say yes to the shows I was asked to do. As long as I didn't try to get bookings, I would get enough rest. When that didn't help, I had to stop booking gigs in general, and instead chose three specific venues I'd say yes to. Eventually I even pulled back on that.

I felt like a police detective forced to take a desk job by my ball busting captain.

(That ballbusting captain was my own body.)

The pain of my body began to poison my mind. I felt helpless, frustrated, pissed. I had jokes I was working on that I flat out stopped writing cuz I was too mad to write them. I had other writing projects that I was working on, but I started drinking so much that the words and purpose blurred on the screen.

The demons pulled me closer to the abyss.

They whispered in my brain:

"Your creative life is over."

"You might as well give up."

"Maybe you could become a really great accountant."

They got more confident. They spoke louder and said that the thing I moved to New York for had been stolen from me so I should probably just run away somewhere....

I reminded them of something. "I literally can't run."

The poison voices came back with more fear:

"Then you'll have to hitchhike because you're a loser without a car, and you can't fly anywhere because the cabin pressure would probably blow out your knee for good."

I was stuck in purgatory, falling toward the first circle of Hell. Limbo. I can't help but laugh at the irony, considering this was the result of a bad Limb. (ohhhhhhh!)


I threw myself into books, and youtube educational videos and listened to audible. I flooded my brain with positive programming and I got back to basics. I asked "What is My Purpose?" in the grandest possible way. "Why is it comedy? How can I do it without walking?" I prayed to ascend out of my swirling world of unknown.

I had to make a choice or I was going to break. Do I let my demons drag me kicking and screaming into this Earth? Or do I find another path to Heaven that doesn't include running back and forth across town, putting in 5 miles a night on a bad leg?

You can probably figure out the path I chose....

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