A few months ago, I had the pleasure to have drinks with Akron based commedienne, Dionne Atchinson. Featured on She Blog and interviewed by NPR, her personality can be described as real with no f***s given. Literally. Dionne hosts “No F***s Given” once a month on Saturday at The Tarrymore Inn. Not to mention she works Mental Illness and Friends with Deena Nyer. Another Cleveland based comedienne, and mental health warrior.
We met up together on a Sunday evening at Dionnes favorite Lakewood dive, Tarrymore. Upon walking in, I found her on the second stool of the bar with her notebook and beer ready. Totally unprepared for my first meetup with a local, I began jotting down some of what she initially exchanged with me.
Scribble, scribble youngest of 5 and her pump-ups: Cardi B and Lizzo. Scribble, scribble.
As we went more in depth about her craft, she found no shame in sharing her battle with depression and mental illness with me.
“That’s why I do shows, and do all these things to keep myself out of the house and to keep myself busy. I wasn’t going to let depression get to me. I had to find my joy.”
Dealing with mental illness can be hard some days, to where it sucks our lust for life. Paralyzing us to our bed or sofa, feeling worthless and unmotivated to move. I asked Dionne what her method is for dealing with rough days, when your brain says no but life says yes.
CC: “Where do you find the energy to create when you are at a low point? ”
Dionne: “I get out of the house. I know I need to write and get shit done. I began coming to the Tarrymore, more just to write. I’ll watch comedy to get my mind out of it.”
Getting to know Dionne that night on more of a personal level, she is very strong and doesn’t half ass anything that’s important to her. She made up her mind at one point that she wanted to write from an honest place. That writing what people wanted to hear, becomes more of a homework assignment.
Before drifting into the land of intoxication and discussing ex’s, we finished our discussion remembering her old boss Mike. Quoting something special he said to her when it came to books and intelligence.
“Don’t be embarrassed about the fact that you want to learn. Stop dumbing down the fact that you want to learn…you went to college, you collected these books…this is who you are. Don’t be ashamed. You’re a wanderlust of life.” -Mike
Today those books are in a bigger tote, not stacked on a shelf.