- Found this in my drafts folder today, July 17th, 2020.
p.s. My Brother is doing amazingly well. YES!
I am in Vancouver, my husband in New York. I am washing my hands constantly and yelling at my Mom and Stepdad to do the same. I am taking my brother to the hospital for his day visits. He had a stem cell transplant on March 5th. Today is March 17th. Under any other circumstances this would be an incredibly stressful time, but these aren't any other circumstances.
Last night I slept, I hadn't the night before. It took me a while to get there, my meditation app, Insight, has some sleep meditations. I listened to a few and finally I was relaxed enough to stop the wheels churning and then sleep. I was deciding what to do about travel. I am scheduled to leave for New York tomorrow. I've already delayed my departure by a week, in order to see my brother get better.
What a difference a week can make.
I've been social distancing as much as I can for almost two weeks. I stopped going to restaurants or seeing friends right before the transplant on March 5th. I'm still going out for groceries, supplies, and to the hospital for Al's treatments. We are alternating. We were going all together, one big boisterous family, but now restrictions are that only one family member can be with him. We are each a lot, so there is no shortage of personality with one of us there. Al's wife is the primary caregiver, but the rest of us also pitch in, so she can have breaks.
I've learned how to take vitals, it makes me a bit nervous, not my wheelhouse, but it helps the nurses and in a way it's kinda fun. Wipe down the machines twice, he puts his arm cuff on and then you press a button. Ok, truthfully, I haven't fully done this on my own yet, I've been with my Mom, but I write down the numbers, which also makes me feel very important.
The last 2 days were a bit scary, his numbers were so low and there was an infection, Judy, the AMAZING nurse, saw it coming and preemptively asked to put him on antibiotics to keep him out of the ER. Today his numbers are coming back up. Phew.
Now, do i go back tomorrow or not? I have searched myself and while I want to be with Max back in New York, huddled up in our apartment, in our bed, watching our shows, I know I am needed here and I'm scared to travel right now. It's not the kind of fear that you talk yourself out of, it's the kind of fear that you listen to, the kind of fear that says, pay attention, this is bigger than you.
So, I will change my flight to next week and hope that there is more clarity by then and that the airlines are flying. I know this is going to take a while and there is a lot we don't know, but we will know more with each passing day.
I trust us. I really do.
Recently I've been thinking about romantic rejection, both breaking up and being broken up with, have often been extremely difficult for me. I know I am not the exception here and break-ups generally suck for everyone.
Going down the rabbit hole, I was remembering a fella that I used to have a big crush on, he was super cute. I met him in acting class, that happened a lot too, meeting and crushing on super cute boys from acting class. He had a resonant voice and sculpted abs. He liked me too, I think, or he wanted me to like him, it can be tricky to tell the difference and actors are especially good at being tricky and possibly more than most people want to be liked.
He used to page me, yes, page me, I'd call him back and we'd talk about movies art and other such stuff. He picked me up in his convertible one afternoon and took me for a drive around the city, that was sweet. I remember him watching me walk back into my building and feeling his steady gaze on my insecure denim clad buttocks. Was I hot enough for him? I felt pretty sure I wasn't.
Soonish after we started hanging out, he entered a Mr. ? contest, (I don't remember if it was Mr. Fabulous or Mr. Pacific Northwest or whatever). Anyway, maybe you know what I mean. They're a little like wet t-shirt contests for boys. This one took place at a popular cheesy bar, one that I mostly avoided, where we both knew the doorman. He asked me to come support him, I tried to wrangle a girlfriend to join me and when no one could come, I went on my own. Our actor/bouncer friend let me in for free without waiting, so at least there was that. There were about 10 guys competing for Mr. ? and crushy was hellbent on making a mockery of it, which in theory is fine, but ultimately he succeeded in make a mockery of himself. He got too drunk and acted like an embarrassing asshole, yelling out random expletives, while wearing a superhero cape. The crowd was not on his side. Seeing him be super annoying didn't stop the tidal flow of feelings that I'd been harboring. I've always been loyal, to a fault, and In my mind we were dating, or pre-dating, yes, that's a thing. When the contest was over (duh- he didn't win), he introduced me to a petite blonde, as 'his very good friend' and then made-out with her in front of me. Crushing.
I went home and got in the tub to soak. I then had a moment, one that I'll never forget, partially because it was so eerily matter of fact, no tears, no fear either. I looked at the razor in my hand, and I though, hmmm, why not? It hit me in that moment, that suicide was a real choice, and then I put the razor down and got out of the tub. This is striking for many reasons, not the least of which, is that this person was NOT for me, and I knew it, definitely not worth all my efforts and not remotely worth my LIFE. What was I thinking?
That night wasn't exactly a turning point for me, but my disproportionate reaction illuminated something that was so much larger, something inside that was begging to be healed. It was an alarm that woke me up to the knowledge that there was a dangerous current running through my life. I'd been self destructive before, but in much more subtle ways... drugs, alcohol, not always being so smart about where I was, or who I was with, drinking and driving etc. But this was different, it wasn't subtle at all.
If I really think about it, every time I've felt heart break, whether it was me being rejected, or rejecting someone else, which is also awful, a deeper wound was revealed and it would sent me into a tailspin. Not being chosen was a trigger to my wounded child, to old pain that was waiting to be heard and honored.
Over the years I've learned how to listen to myself. I've also learned how to choose myself and that I don't actually need to be chosen by anyone else. I continue to practice staying on my own side and being loving and kind. The thing I know now, that I didn't know then, was that there are ways of healing and growing through pain and expanding into those places to bring awareness and light. Breathing into the pain, letting it express, talking with a friend or my therapist, writing, meditating, and getting to the roots will always help.
BTW, we did eventually sleep together, super abs and me, it happened a few years later after we'd become actual friends and scene partners (that happens a lot too). It was awkward and went nowhere, except that I think it kinda had to happen. At the end of the day, I surprise myself in realizing now, that I care about him quite a lot, I have compassion and gratitude, he was probably at least as fucked up as I was. We don't stay in touch, but I know what he's up to. There was something between us, strange as it was, and I think we both helped each other grow, and that's quite beautiful.
I'll start by qualifying that last weekend was unusually stressful, and I wasn't in the best/calmest place. On Sunday, Max and I were on our way to a shiva in Queens and we wanted to get something to eat in our neighborhood beforehand. I didn't want to show up and beeline for the food, which I did anyway, but that's not the point, they had Levain cookies, so...
We tried some favorite spots near us, but they were jam-packed, and with my blood sugar crankily dropping, we settled on an Italian place we like, it was crowded, but there was enough room to sit.
There's a banquette along one wall, where I sat (I selfishly always take the banquette when I'm with Max) and 4, 2-top tables that use the banquette. There was a bigger dude on one side of me, and no one on the other, so I put my purse on the empty side of me, naturally, then two women were seated, and the woman next to me put her bag next to me too, a cute soft brown natural leather tote. It's a small space and the bags were jostling each other and us. She seemed pissed, because on the other side of her, another woman had spread her shit out and was barely harnessing it into what would be a reasonable amount of space. This kind of, I'll take up the whole sidewalk, put my bags on the seat next to me on a crowded train, manspreading etc., gets under my skin at the best of times, and last Sunday, wasn't the best of times.
Rising above, I thought I would kindly reach out to my purse rubbing neighbor and I said 'these guys next to me look like they're leaving soon, I can move my bag in a few'. She kinda rolled her eyes and muttered something, I am not sure what it was, but it was whiny and it pissed me off. So I handed my bag to Max, for him to hang off his chair and after a second, when she didn't thank me, I said to Max, 'well, I guess if you're bag has to take precedence over mine, then fine'. We then proceeded to have a surprisingly nice brunch with a psychic wall between us and bad vibes only crossing through now and then.
Before we left, my neighbor did make a point of hitting me with her bag, which i willfully ignored, I've never been one for a physical fight, and then when we stood up to leave, she put her bag in the spot where I had been sitting, as though her tote were a person and she was ready to order breakfast.
After we got home from the shiva, I tried to nap, but I was angsty, I kept replaying the scenario. I wondered, would Pema Chodron find herself in this situation? Maybe? Nope. Not.
What's my lesson here? After a while of tossing and turning I had a moment of clarity... this is it... here's the pearl...
Don't do it if you're going to resent it, even if it seems like the right thing. "It", can take the form of many things, inviting someone to your party, opening a door for someone, or moving your bag... don't do it, if you're doing it because you expect something back. Don't do it for any other reason than you want to.
This lesson is MASSIVE for me. It goes way beyond my bag and navigating spaces in New York, which is definitely a real thing, it's about releasing resentment, it's about not holding others to an imposed standard that they haven't agreed to. It's about not being the 'nice' one and then being pissed about it. It's extremely liberating and as always, it and I, continue to be a work in progress.
Thank you purse neighbor, I hope you got as much out of our exchange as I did, and that you enjoyed your Eggs Benedict, not what I would have ordered, but it looked pretty good.
I had a dream last week that an old friend of mine came to me, and said, let's be sober this month. I thought, YOU? Yes, you should be sober, but that ain't gonna happen, because my friend has been smoking pot thrice daily for decades... hey, not my business, but why YOU? Why you in my dream delivering this offer? I on the other hand am basically sober already... so me going sober for the month, eh, why bother?
I used to drink a lot, and over the years I've tapered off. Much of my 20's were a shit show, drug and alcohol wise, a blurr of bad decisions (you know who you are), fueled by overindulgence and the desire for escape. This shifted with time and therapy, but when I moved to New York 15 years ago, I started drinking a fair bit again, I mean, it's part of the culture here and no one drives, so there was really no need to be sober, plus I was dating, which is why alcohol was invented, right?
When I met my now husband, who is a sober person in recovery, I started drinking much less, or stopped drinking more, which somehow has a nicer more honest ring to it. Who wants to be the only asshole drunk on a date? Not me. Both assholes should be drunk or neither of them. So, I got out of the habit of it, except for the occasional occasion.
However, this JOYOUS (?) time of year is THE time to drink and be merry, which is why the dream registered at all. I dismissed it initially, but today, having been drunk twice in the last week, including last night when I noticed myself slurring, EW, not a good look on a grown woman, I am reevaluating. Today I feel like SHIT, I am blurry and foggy and off. Maybe this is what I felt like for all of my 20's? Probably, would explain a lot.
So, long story short, I am taking my friend up on his dream offer, and I am going sober for a month, starting now, this holiday season, and I feel a great sense of relief at accepting this invitation.
Drink up, I judge you not, and in a likelihood you will think I too am tipsy, but that's just me, having a good time.
** update - today is January 15th and it'll be a month tomorrow, since I wrote this. How did it go? Pretty well! I did have a drink on NYE, well, to be real it was more like 1.5 drinks and I felt weird about it, because i'd made a deal with myself and I didn't feel secure enough to stick with it. NBD, really, because I quickly realized that I wasn't enjoying the booze all that much and I had a great night with amazing friends, without falling off my chair or a hangover the next day. I've also really started to limit my sugar intake after reading a NYT article that says sugar ages you, vanity, in this case a blessing. The booze has often been a sugar craving for me, so it's all interrelated.
Onward... lots of joy, kindness and self love in 2020.
It's been a minute and I've missed you! This page... this place where I can share.
I've been writing every morning, mostly a string of nonsense that empties out of my heart and head onto the page and leaves me feeling marginally saner than before I started writing. This is different though, the intention to actually be read by someone other than myself.
So much to say, about so many things...
Like, old boyfriends, always... sickness, control, meditation, the subway, dresses, diets, hips and everything else.
Read or don't, judge, enjoy, whatever you like, but I will be here, sharing away.
I am very pleased to offer a new expression to you!
Welcome, the kvetchbrag.
What is a kvetchbrag you may ask?
"Oh my GOD, my arms are so sore from my workout!" Substitute, pecs, lats, abs...
"This Grammy is SOoooooo heavy!"
"I'm exhausted, I had to wake up at 4am for an early call on set."
"We've been invited to so many galas, I've run out of formal dresses!"
The kvetchbrag, kvetch-brag, kvetch brag (I'm coining them all), is different than the humble brag, because you're not disguising your brag in humility, but in a complaint. It's quite brilliant and effective!
Enjoy the kvetch.
- please use this expression and get back to me with good ones, I am hoping to start a movement. It's very tiring and hard work, but someone has to do it.
I've been reflecting on my 20's as I've gone down the rabbit hole of #Rich Kids of Beverly Hills. My 20's were not spent in Beverly Hills, in fact no part of my life was spent there, aside from a bus tour to look at the homes of the stars, when I was about nine. I grew up in Calgary, and although I loved the song Valley Girl and wore checkered Vans, I really didn't know much about LA at all.
What I do have in common with the #Rich kids of Beverly Hills, is that my 20's were totally messy and confusing. It's a deep dive to go into all of it, and I'm sure I will someday, but it's so easy to glamorize youth and forget the legit angst of it.
I had failed crush after crush, and emotional ups and downs with friends, I drank way too much, did too many drugs and came out the other side breathless and clinging to the side of the pool.
I love the dewey skin of the 20's, but I am (and have to be) willing to give that up for having my feet on the ground, most of the time, anyway.
A breakthrough is a change in behavior that results in more vitality and energy. What do you think? That explanation came to me this morning and it sounds and feels right.
This summer I spent a bunch of time with family and saw some of my best old friends. I hiked, and swam and walked on the beach too, which was amazing. I also made some shifts in behavior.
I'd been holding on to lot of resentment. Old shit. Very old. And with old shit, it can be hard to see it, it feels like it becomes a part of us, part of our identity/personality. Family (for me) is the biggest trigger and also the place of the biggest opportunity for growth. A change in behavior with family has ripple effects because if we can do it there, then we/i can do it anywhere.
As someone who has, at times, checked out of my own feelings to take care of others, NOT doing that feels awfully scary. Not doing that with family is almost to the point of terrifying, BUT doing it is liberation! Ironically me not taking care of others doesn't seem to be that big deal for them, and I'm finding that it's actually strengthening my relationships.
I found that my attitude with my family wasn't as snotty and antagonistic as it had been, once I realized that I could actually take care of myself, say yes, or no nicely and mean it, and know that it didn't equal disaster or being shamed.
Now I am doing it all over the place! It's quite incredible really! Cheers to breakthroughs!
Joyful Canadian loving it up in the Big Apple.