It’s Always Something

Like many women of my rapidly advancing age, I loved Gilda Radner. I watched old SNL skits on VHS, while eating popcorn with my dad. He and Gilda helped me learn what funny was. 

When I later became a reader, I devoured her memoir “It’s Always Something”, probably still while eating popcorn. The book was funny and heartbreaking. A passage always stuck with me. 

When Gilda was advancing down the floor, dancing with cancer, she told of lying in bed at night with Gene Wilder. She relayed her memory of once again crying, being scared and needing someone to hold her and make it all okay. 

She revealed, to my teenage disgust, that on one dark and lonely night, Gene could no longer do those things. He too was tired. He was scared. He needed someone to rub his own cheek with words of solace, and make it all okay. 

How dare he! I spat and eye rolled and huffed as only a disappointed privileged teen can. How could he ever consider not being there to the very last curl of his hair for Gilda Radner!

I didn’t get it. 

Now I do. 

I watched my own dad die of cancer. I watched my mother care for him as he slowly did. My father needed the physical care. The mental care. 

But so did my mother. 

It’s not easy to be the caregiver or the partner. I know that. Sometimes, it really is easier to be the patient. As hard and callous as that sounds. 

I watched her do it before for him. Before cancer. She laid with him through anxiety and mental illness. I know there were nights that she didn’t have any more to give. When she was bone-tired from her feet to the end of pin-straight hair. When she needed someone to tell her it would be okay. 

There was no one. 

Last night, I lay there like my dad. 

I was the one hurting. 


And I was the one who asked to be held and comforted and coddled. 


And I never thought for a moment to consider if the one I was asking might not need some care, too. 

They did. 

I forget. I avoid. I neglect. Not on purpose. Not at all. But because while anxiety and depression hurts. And hurts. And then hurts even more. To have your own brain and body rebel and scream lies. It hurts. I was too busy hurting to see. And remember. 

It hurts to be the one watching. 

It hurts to give and give and never get any return. To reaffirm and encourage and try to lift up someone who seems to only want to drag themselves as far down in the pits as their claws will carry them. 

And that’s what I do. What many of us with unquiet minds do. And sometimes we bring the ones holding us down with us. 

Because it is always something. It’s work. It’s a kid. It’s a bill. It’s a failure. It’s a successs that’s not success enough. It’s a wonderful weekend of love and magic that your brain tells you to fight against for no good reason, only that you can’t believe it actually happened. 

Today, I want to remember. To be thankful for the love I take that is so freely given. Again and again. Even when I don’t see or believe it. To see, really see when someone is watching me and maybe hurting too. I want to go into the pit alone if I need, but alone. And I want to have strong, free arms to grab hold, to keep them from going into the same dark. 

That’s what love is. 

Being there. 



Remembering every little something.


He wanted matching toes. This kids steals more of my heart every day.

He wanted matching toes. This kids steals more of my heart every day.

There’s something humbling, and pretty filthy, if I’m honest, about having a kid with the flu. It gives you some damn dirty perspective.

The stupid, insignificant garbage that usually fills your brain evacuates immediately and your obsession turns to an obnoxious bitch of a lymph node on the right side of his little neck. A lymph node that has the audacity to be swollen enough to concern the pediatrician. The jangling warnings of him having not one, but two grandfathers ,who have been diagnosed with cancer. The younger of whom,  held the prideful place of being the reason for this sweet child attending his first funeral.

It is the current alarm ringing in my ears, which drowns out my own pathetic fretting in favor of real fear.

I’ve been in my head for a long time. A right and proper long time. I have tanked relationships with really good people. One at least among them that might have been ‘The One’ because I chose to stay like a fish in the salty water of my head. Only seeing and perseverating on the same view, the same problems, the same dusty shelf, the same askew and inaccurate reflection of myself staring back at me from the glass, instead of the clarity of the water-less possibility in front of me.

Was anything ever big enough to stand up and shake some sense into me? Apparently not.

Art and passion have tried. I lost a nice acting gig because I gave one of the worst call back performances in the history of acting. No hyperbole. Worst. When you are brought in for a second-tier, lead-ish part and instead of rising to it, you be-shit the reading so throughly that they don’t even want to read you for First Waitress? Yeah. Time to get out of your head and figure things out. Numb actors are unemployed actors.

People have tried. When you are again and again asked, and requested, and finally demanded and at long last are just left left standing and staring, alone on a sidewalk? Again. Time to get out of your head. Numb girlfriends are ex-girlfriends. Who go insane. And say radically implausible and hurtful things. And buy underwear no one will see. And spend exorbitant money they don’t have on self-help and relationship healing books. So much money on so many books.

So then, you throw a fit, and get angry and self-righteous ( and wrong) and angry again. Which doesn’t change any minds, which doesn’t get you the control for which you are subversively angling. I just gets you angry. Which, thankfully, is better than numb. You can’t act with numb. But angry? That you can work with. And if you really give it free reign in an audition room, you can get a really angry part in a really angry play. Some maybe not a terminally unemployed actor.

I’m starting to suspect, to my chagrin. that all the therapy and all the books do nothing, if you sit there robotic and numb, waiting for the fix and the help and the magic, hurt-stopping unicorn to come to you. You can pencil in workbooks and make lists and comparisons, but the fix doesn’t come in your room. It comes out there. In the big scary world, with big scary people.

I’m lucky to know some of the biggest (metaphorically) and scariest (that’s legit. I would not cross some of these broads) people.

Maybe instead of having things or people try, it’s my turn to try the shaking. There are a few girls in my life have helped more on this fool’s errand than they will ever know. I’m calling them out:
-Erin (my forever friend, with me from our last lives and gods willing, into the next)

-Carrie ( my role model, stronger than I will ever be and forever my hero)

-Heather (my organized inspiration who is as funny as she is smart and fierce)

-Joanna (my dear girl, what can I say? My partner on the road of sorrow and laughter)
Yes. Putting names down for my warriors because they deserve it.

And then there’s a boy. Isn’t there always? He would hate public naming more than he would despise a hug in public (or private, for that matter) so ’ll leave him anonymous and thank him for the lessons and the logic and the encouragement, in the myriad forms all those learnings took, to push me to always aim for better than I am. Progress is slow and I’m just not there yet.

There is no partner of present, personal or business and art,  to cajole or entice or encourage or just bloody make me see what I’m missing by being trapped inside my blonde head. Which isn’t the worst thing. Many people have accomplished incredible things with only themselves for reliance. I know I can do better. And I know there is support if I only look at it sqwaking its offers in front of me, if I am not fool enough to push it away. I can do things. I know I can. But that won’t happen alone. I need to remember that. Because, maybe that’s not a partner’s job.

I’ve let a number of dreams go. Which hurt. So I’m determined to not let anything else slip away, especially the things I am lucky enough to have in front of me, if not in my very hands.
A barking shame it takes things like grievously swollen lymph glands to appreciate the fragile magic circling our faces. Or sparkling in green and blue on the toes under us. But now, I see it. Not in my head, but right here with me. Close enough to touch. And then douse with sanitizer because everything is slick with germy body ooze these days. But it’s there. And now I finally believe it.

So, thanks, flu.

Next,  comes healing.