Feature of the Week: Laura Hayden

Published on February 16, 2015

She is funny, quirky and clever, our Creative Mondays Feature of the Week is Laura Hayden, Comedian, Speaker, physical therapist, shoe fanatic. She is a front liner on the #CreativeMondays Community and has been one since its inception slightly over a year ago. So what a better way to lighten your Monday and rest of your creative week than with the best dose of medicine. So here is the story behind our feature of the week! Be inspired to laugh!

Hello!

My name is Laura Hayden and I AM the most interesting person in the world…and also slightly delusional, a bit narcissistic, seriously fun and well on some days– pretty darn interesting.

I wrote a book, first of many if I have my way with the words. More about that later (see below)

Technically, I’m Dr Laura, but NOT that Dr Laura—Think of me as the fun one.  Without the potty mouth.

The evolution of Laura is a long (fascinating) story I will try to keep to just the high lights – I don’t want you nodding off.

Essentially I’m about more fun, more laughter and more joy!

I am a physical therapist by day, and a comedian by night. I have no Marvel Comics type super powers, except for my fabulous shoes. Which are powerful, but have yet to help me fight crime.

I went to college for decades– literally, while in college I waited tables.  All my regular customers told me how funny I was–which I found ever so amusing because funny is never how I would describe myself, EVER!

While gowning up I was so painful shy and introverted I’m sure they are people I went to high school with that didn’t even know I could talk.  I would have been put in therapy if I was growing up now for my severe introvertedness.

While I was in graduate school for physical therapy we were required to give an enormous amount of presentations–apparently I made all of mine funny. Not sure how I made spinal meningitis funny, but I did.

My entertaining presentation skills was the reason my class nominated me to give the commencement speech– which terrified me (see above introvert) but I still wanted to do it.

Commencement speeches are notoriously boring. My only goal was not to be boring.

“ We’d like to thank the faculty blah blah blah….”

The whole time we all think to ourselves—‘if they would stop talking we could have cake- there is cake after this–yes – please let there is cake…’

Apparently, I over exceeded my goal because I had to stop and wait for people to stop laughing. I credit this speech as my first stand-up gig.

Afterwards people were very kind, telling me what a natural I was up there etc… Little did they know I threw up before the speech.

So to make this long (fascinating) story longer…

Every New Year instead of trying to give up something, because I have never yet been able to stop eating, drinking or swearing, I try something new. 14 years ago it was between sailing lessons or a stand up comedy class. I flipped a coin and heads came up–so I took a stand up class.

I expected to do the showcase and then move on with my life but there is no 12- step program for comics.

And better yet the most amazing thing happened—Laughter!

Laughter is truly a gift!

I will explain…

I was a new practitioner to the medical field, full of hope and desire to help—but the problem is medical schools (all medical schools and all disciplines) don’t teach you how to deal with the daily influx of people’s pain.  It can literally suck you dry mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Here I was one year into my chosen profession and I was burnt out. I had spent a great deal of time, money, energy and stress getting to this place and my job was not so slowly killing me.

But the most amazing thing happened—Comedy!

I would be so drained after working all day I could barely walk to my car but somehow I would drag myself to some open mic.  If I said I was going to go—because I have a crazy work ethic – I will be there by god.

I would get there and would try to tell the booker I couldn’t possibly go up after the day I’d had, but then someone would make me laugh and then I would feel like performing and I would make people laugh and then I would leave this silly open mic feeling better at midnight then I did at 7 in the evening.

This happened over and over again. It was profound!

Stand up comedy literally saved my physical therapy career.  Laughter and comedy turned my life around in the best way possible.

And because I’m a huge nerd, the healing aspects of laugher became a pet project of mine. And then the opportunity to get my doctorate presented its self.  I was on board as long as I could do my dissertation on the healing aspects of laughter – particularly as it relates to stress and burnout.

My goal has always been to turn my 482 page dissertation on laughter into a more user friendly book and a speaker’s platform, I have a message to share- helping and healing others through laughter and education —

I am a Comedian and educator, an edutainer.  

But along the way life through me some curl balls, I separated from my husband last year— Slogging through my own heartbreak, I got off my duff and decided to channel the pain in to a book. So my first book surprisingly is not about the healing aspects of laughter, but there some funny parts. And it is really beautifully human.

The Title—cue the drum roll…

Recipes for a Broken Heart.

It is a collection of true, tender, sad, funny, heart-breaking stories of people who have lived through the worst pain of all — a broken heart. And the comfort foods that helped get them through their painful ordeal.

My heart is broken why not cry, cook and wallow in sugar, chocolate, liquor or whatever helps us survive this part of life.

I find it both odd and sad that we gather socially to share in joyous events but in heartbreak we feel the need to sanction ourselves away. Sadness is just as much a part of life as happiness. I don’t really want to “celebrate” sadness, but maybe we could acknowledge it and provide a format for these very real life events to be noted as part of our human experience.

Wouldn’t it be healthier to have a heartbreak party from time to time? Everyone must wear black and come prepared to share their biggest heartbreak story—and of course their comfort food of choice. I bet healthier healing would happen with the loving support of a few friends. It’s just an idea, but I think it’s a good one.

So like I said – I’m fascinating. I’m all about healing, learning and fun.

My mission statement, written nearly 20 years ago – it was (I thought at the time) a silly class assignment. I found it a year ago and it effected me deeply, I had no idea I had this much depth in my 20’s, but then again I am the most fascinating person in the world. (Please note fun loving sarcasm)

‘I want to be genuinely kind. To graciously serve others and be grateful for the opportunity. I want to be a healer, a friend, and a mentor. I hope to evolve to the point where kindness is unconditional to all, free of my biases and shortsightedness.

In my service to others, I want people to know that they are important and needed. I plan to do this by providing kindness, wisdom and humor to a world so desperately in need of physical, emotional and spiritual nourishment.

As I strive to reach my level of excellence, if faced with a value judgment, I hope to choose what is good and right. The world I want to live in must start with me. ‘

—I feel like I’m just now evolving into this person I projected  nearly 20 years ago.

I love Creativity and Creative Monday’s because I feel like it is supportive place to learn, grown and explore. A community of people tapping into their talents and genius to share with the world.  The collective group can only help inspire us all to flourish in our individual talents.

It is a know fact, if you want to be a better skier, ski with people better than you. Creativity is the same way, but even more so, because there is positive energy that is not tangible but a by product of creativity.  Our collective whole is greater because we are a group.

The world desperately needs more beauty, more art and more joy in all forms. Oh yeah and laugher! —I’m back to work on the laughter book now.  Stay tuned – I have a lot more to share.

Thank you for joining me on the ever-evolving story of Laura

www.laurahayden.com