A True Legend

Standard

photo

Like millions, I’m struggling to understand Robin Williams’ recent death. He represented a significant part of my childhood — he was the Genie, Peter Pan, Mrs. Doubtfire, Doctors Patch Adams and Sean Maguire, John Keating. The list goes on and on and on. He brought these roles to life with the type of imagination and zeal that only a true genius could muster. Sometimes with laughter, sometimes with tears, he always delivered with passion. He taught me things, and because of this I felt like he could be my goofy uncle. I felt like I knew him. Then again, didn’t everyone? He was one of my favorite actors because, apart from the “stage,” he seemed like a genuine, regular guy. 

And just like that he was gone, and, to everyone’s dismay, of his own accord. It’s hard for me to imagine wanting to take my own life. I’ve thought about it, sure, but more in a philosophical “what would it be like to die?” way when I’m feeling sad. I’ve never planned anything, never desired to act it out, never actually wanted to end my life for good. Because what a horrifyingly final decision. The very thought of getting a belt out to hang myself sends shudders down my spine.

I’m lucky, though, to have never struggled with intense, manic depression like Mr. Williams did. I have always reached out for help and depended on others when I felt life was too much to bear. So I can’t even imagine the level of despair he was experiencing. I’m not a stranger to depression and the effects it has, not by quite a stretch. In fact, I love someone who struggles with clinical depression, and it’s, well, not fun sometimes. It’s a scary illness. It’s difficult for the person with depression, and it’s difficult for the people that love them and want to see them grow and succeed. 

News sources report that his daughter is “inconsolable” and no wonder. My own father died almost a year ago today. He died on the 20th of August. I saw him struggle for breath on our entry way floor. I saw his face turn blue. I made the 911 call, shouted at the voice on the other end to send ambulances faster, pleaded, wished, waited. He wanted to live, but he could not survive the attack that was pulsing through his heart. My dad had demons of his own, sure, but he didn’t want to die. I know this for sure. I don’t know what it would be like to know my father made the choice to end his life. It’s impossibly devastating to even fathom such a thing. My heart goes out to his family. 

Sometimes things in life are so tragic that there aren’t enough synonyms in the thesaurus or words in the dictionary to accurately capture them. To really convey how it pains the heart to even envision them again. It’s too much. And, as a writer, that’s a tough and frustrating thing because that’s what I do. I describe things. I try to say, “this is how it looks, feels, sounds,” in a way that no one else can. I feel like I can’t rightly do that here. I didn’t know Robin Williams, unfortunately, I only knew what I was filtered through the media like most others. But I know how he made me feel and how he made me laugh in his movies. And damn, he made me laugh really hard. He was a comic genius, but not only that, he was an unbelievably talented, well-rounded actor. There won’t ever be a “friend” like him. He was a true legend that will be missed sorely around the world for quite some time to come I’d expect.

I’m here to say I’m sad for Robin Williams, for my own father, for people who feel they have no way out, for people that die suddenly and unexpectedly and the loved ones they leave behind, for so many things. I’m sad in a way I can’t describe; I’m sad for a man I knew and a man I didn’t. Williams’ daughter, Zelda, is clearly a wise and feeling woman. I’m going to share her tribute to her late father here, because it’s heartbreaking and perfect:

“You — you alone will have the stars as no one else has them…In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night…You — only you — will have stars that can laugh.” — Antoine De Saint-Exupery

If that doesn’t say it, I don’t know what does. 

Rest in Peace. 

Bah Humbug

Image

Photo on 7-17-14 at 6.30 PM

My life has been a fucking mess lately. Scene: Like a Girls episode except I’m not Lena Dunham, and I’m also not in New York City. Oh, I also don’t have a hot manic boyfriend named Adam. And I freaking hate Cool Whip. So, pretty much the only similarity is she also struggles. I STRUGGLE, WE ALL STRUGGLE.

It’s true. Sometimes life deals you weird, terrible, shitty cards. And you’re holding them in your hands, at an imaginary poker table, and you’re like, wait what? Where did these come from? How did I get these cards? These cards are wrong! Take them back, Kevin Spacey!

Let’s back it up a bit.

Just a few short months ago I felt pretty optimistic about my L-I-F-E. I was some dude in an 80s movie with Ray Bans and high-top sneakers giving the thumbs up to everyone around me. I’m envisioning Tom Cruise or maybe Robert Downey Jr. Long story short, I was feeling fly. And I was doing it on my own.

“Here I am, walking down the street! The sun is shining! I have my stuff together! I got this! Summer in the city! my life is GOIN’ GREAT. Watch out, world!”

Yes, my friends, things were coming together. I was writing consistently, treating myself well (mentally AND physically), putting myself back into the dating game, seeing someone new, eating bananas, feeling the sun on my wintered-out skin, dressin’ fancy. YOU KNOW, things that normally signify health and happiness…er something like that.

And then, all of the sudden, they weren’t. Things got strange. Life threw me a ::CLICHE ALERT:: curveball. And I’m not going to get into the specifics of what exactly happened (…but BOYS, IT’S ALWAYS BOYS) that started this bizarre, downward spiral again. Because really, in all honesty, that’s not the point. I let a situation take advantage of me and bring me down. Which is not what a strong ladyGIRL does. I should have been smarter. I should have had my guard up. I should have seen through the act. Shoulda, shoulda, shoulda.

But I didn’t, sadface, and then things got difficult. And I’ve been here for a little while. Hell, I’ve been here lots of times in my life. But the disappointment always feels new. And then you decide to go out, pretend to be happy and carefree and social, and then come back and worry yourself to sleep at night. Wondering, will it ever REALLY get better? Eh, it’s not so great.

So what I want to talk about here is the ascent. Which is what I’m struggling with right now.

Yes, ladies and gents, that glorious ascent back into awesomeness.

And it can be done, but it’s super hard and annoying because you’re like, I just had everything, and I was HAPPY, and now I have to start AGAIN?! Yes, it’s stupid. Life is weird. There’s no denying the fact that it sucks to feel like you’re at the bottle of some old, rusty barrel again.

I want to start to climb back out once more. To open myself up to new things and places and people and eat those damn bananas again. And shine from the inside out. Because I know I’m capable of it, and I also know I’m 26 and I’m young and in my prime. I should be clicking my kitten heels and wearing bubblegum-hued lipstick and drinking Moscow mules. There’s no point getting hung up on people or things that won’t matter when everything is weighed in a balance. The people who care about you and have your best interests in mind will stay.

I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. The point of this blog is simple: If you get pushed down by some dildo who’s out to make your life a living nightmare, you get back up. Because you gotta. Because you’re awesome.

Girl Crush

Standard

So I have this theory that everything happens for a reason. It’s not a religious, kumbaya “God has a plan for me,” -type realization either. I say this because when I look back at my life, teetering now on the ripe ‘ol age of 26, things have happened and I’ve seen the reason for their occurrence. People came into my life to add something to it, and, if it was meant to be they stayed. Or they’ll come back, like Gandalf. This is something I firmly believe, and, at the same time, when I look up at the cosmos, I don’t think there’s some immortal white guy in a big chair staring down at me directing traffic. Sorry, I just don’t. 

But I do think things happen for a reason. And I’m going to give an example. And you’re going to like it, so buckle up. 

I’ve been hanging out more with some girls lately. Two of them, to be exact. Two awesome females each with unique style on their side. One I met when we were in high school or thereabouts, had a bit of a gap in between where we were doin’ our own thang, and then had our friendship rebirth once she applied to be my editorial intern. Ah, a match made in magazine heaven. We got along swell, and we worked great together. The other girl happens to be said writing girl’s friend and is also a writer. Both of them are equal parts lovely and rad. 

And here is why. 

These girls, we’ll call them Sam and Lana, have changed my outlook on female friendship. For the first time I wanna yell, “where my girls at?!” like I’m in some Destiny’s Child video. Heyo, waving my arms back and forth in front of a neon screen. I don’t want to put gum in their hair, slutshame them or write about them in a burnbook. Not that I have ever wanted to do that, anyway, but I’m trying to get at “typical” girl-on-girl behavior in an example of its nasty underbelly. No, this union between me, and Sam and Lana is all the real, dense mass of something blossoming. Something deep. 

In saying this I want to make sure to say I have felt a lot of my prior friendships with women to be strong. Very, in fact. I have another awesome friend, let’s call her Michelle, who started out as my random college roommate. I just spent the weekend with in the city and was reminded of why she’s been in my life so steadily since we met. She’s fun, understanding and complex. She’s helped me through very hard times in life. 

I think with Sam and Lana, for the first time in my life, I understand why the friendships I’ve made with women in the past lasted and why ones faded away. 

Minor segue, but I recently got out of an on-off relationship, and I guess it was for the usual reasons. Partner didn’t love himself. And I’m realizing that maybe I wasn’t loving myself properly, either. To give love, you need to have it for yourself first. That’s when the most loving happens. That’s when love really takes flight and kicks ass. And after I got out of this relationship, I realized that more fully. That which I was blind to because I love that person so freaking much. I still do. But nothing can ever truly grow if one person or both is stunting the self-love. 

So now, more than ever, I want to give love to somebody. And it’s because I’m loving and accepting more of myself. I want to show somebody how nerdy I can be over Star Trek: The Next Generation, how crazy cat lady-like I am or how I have ten different editions of the same book. Those things are damn cool and get with it or get lost! I mean, don’t go anywhere, you know what I mean. 

Sam and Lana started helping me believe that I’m a human being and that’s okay. I have faults, sure, everyone does in one way or another. But those quirks are what make you, you. They helped me see that I’m not a wandering, aimless machine. I have a say in my own happiness. 

Also, that I’m a good writer. And to be honest, that means so infinitely much. Because writing is where I find my worth. They read my short stories and said hell yes, please show me more of this. Fuck yeah, that detail there is amazing. Keep writing. 

And they are honest too. They call me out when they think I might be hiding something. Sheltering myself in my thoughts like a camper in a rainstorm. I still can’t escape some insecurities, just now writing this I went back and said “you should erase the ‘I’m a good writer part’ from above, that sounds pompous.” But isn’t that what we’re supposed to be saying to ourselves? That we’re good at something? Isn’t that how we get to the next level? The answer is yes. 

They believe in me. I feel the sincerity in what they write in comments on my papers. They really do want us all to excel at our craft. That which is the divine process of stringing words together to make them resonate with our fellow human. Good stuff. 

Know what else they help me understand? Sex. No and not in the dirty way you’re thinking…even better. 

Sam and Lana helped me own my fucking womanhood. They told me my clitoris is my friend, and if you want to ride the orgasm train to orgasmtown by yourself, you should do that and do it now. Hell, do it all day. Do it in your office when you have 15 minutes of free time. No, really you should. Not that I was a prude before, but I wasn’t exactly Madame Bijou at the Moulin Rouge, either. I still have things to learn ~winky face~

So get this: Up until very, very recently (we’ll call this day YESTERDAY), I had never had a self-stimulating orgasm.

I know, I know it’s actually kind of silly. I’m given this delightful collection of orgasmable parts and I’m not putting them to use when I’m alone. Ay, carumba! But that is all in the past now and hey, who knows, maybe I’ll get comfortable enough in one of my future blogs to describe how completely and totally, hmm, wonderful and liberating that was. Ahhh. 

Soooo… it’s great, thanks to Sam and Lana I’m working my way to being comfortable with my sexuality. And I think there’s important depth there because no, I’m not gay or bi or trans or the myriad of other things a human is capable of being (and that are all TOTALLY, completely fine for them to be). I’m straight, and I might be in the majority, but that doesn’t mean I’m necessarily all ooey and gooey and super in touch with it. I don’t watch porn because I’m scared, I don’t let myself get lost in sexy thoughts, I don’t explore. I’m ashamed. But I don’t want to be. 

There’s one more vital point in my knowing that Sam and Lana have a known place in my life. When I’m not with them, sharing our views at our weekly writing group, I feel like I’m missing something. A gap. 

And that’s what friendship is, that’s what friendship can be. Getting to a point with your fellow woman where you feel like they add something to your life, and, without it, you aren’t quite whole. And my current group of lady friends really fulfills that for me. Not only with Sam and Lana, but the other women in my life as well. 

I’ve thought before that I’m friends with certain women because we have things in common. We complain about the same stuff and that’s probably the extent of it. No, it’s really deeper than that. Much deeper. These women satisfy a part of me that’s hungry. Hungry for acceptance. Hungry for appreciation of my femininity and all that’s marvelously separate from a man. We’re all a part of this thing called existence, but being a woman is awesome. 

This is one of the things I’m going on a journey to seek and understand. I’m going to do that through writing this blog. 

Hey, hi, nervous wave. This is probably one of the most honest things I’ve ever written. I’m excited to start being more honest with myself. All ye welcome aboard.