It's helped my mood somewhat that I had breakfast this morning with an old friend from my hometown in Wisconsin who told me, astonishingly hilariously, that last summer while my mother lay dying, she was calling convenience stores getting them to deliver cigarettes and cans of Coke - to her hospital bed while she was on oxygen (caused by decades of incessant smoking).
There's something simultaneously awful and awesome about that. And it did bring a real smile to my face - to know that she was uniquely herself even at the end. And it helped at a time when I'm still struggling over all the loss these past few months and spending a lot of time "fake smiling".
Well, less so at Bingo.
I have actually been having a lot of fun at Uncle Charlies - the staff has been really supportive and, hey, it's great to have working equipment and great crowds. And I have actually been feeling like 'me' more these past few weeks as we settle into our new home. In fact, I think I've felt more comfortable the past couple weeks than I have doing the show in nearly two years. That's a long time to have been out of sorts.
But when a friend appears, someone I really appreciate and love, and they ask me (knowingly) "how's it going?", I want to pour my heart out to them, but, given that we're at a bar and they're not actually my therapist, I hold back.. and then the moment passes.
They invite me for bean salad at their pad in Queens or to hang out with their husband and dogs in midtown or ask me out to dinner, and I just feel like the walking dead. The fake smile goes up and I stumble through the conversation. I worry about being too vunerable.
Appropriately, I'm currently reading an amazing book, by Brene Brown, DARING GREATLY, that's helping me work through much of the grief over all the loss (family, friends and work) and helping me feel comfortable again with being a loving, open person.
I recommend the book for anyone struggling with shame issues or anyone of a myriad of modern problems. Watch these two videos of hers from her TED Talk a couple years ago and if it resonates with you, you ought to pick up this book. (More after the jump)
Thankfully in addition to a short family trip to Boston coming up for Passover, I can look forward to next weekends Easter bonnet parade (I haven't been in years) and then, the weekend after that, a total boozey, fun three day/night weekend with good friends at the New York Imperial Court where I am being knighted at Saturday April 6th's Night of a Thousand Gowns, this year at the New York Hilton.
I think the best message that I can put out there today is to feel what you feel through the struggles of your life, take the time to heal but remember that sometimes even a fake smile leads to a real one.
And I am hoping that the real one is almost here.