I Wanna Be Like Andy

The holidays were not particularly great for me. I was going through a lot and dealing with some heartache. All I managed to do for 3 days was lay on the couch and watch Parks & Rec reruns on Netflix. Not exactly healthy, but if I wasn’t focusing on watching it I would find myself bursting out into tears. I had to do something to distract my mind and reruns of one of my favorite shows did the trick.

I’m sure everyone goes through that funk from time to time, but as someone who deals with depression I had to constantly catch myself from falling into a pit of despair. “I’m going to die alone”, “no one loves me”, “I’m not good enough”; all of those horrible and untrue thoughts kept popping up in my head. So I laid there and focused on the show.

This is probably my third go around with watching this series, but something struck me while watching it in my depressed stupor. I want to be like Andy Dwyer. No, he’s not that smart and he doesn’t have any money, but he has a will to carry on. If you are not familiar with the show then just imagine a bumbling idiot with a big heart who lives in a pit. Yes, in the beginning of the series he is homeless and lives in a dirt pit next to his ex-girlfriends house. Now, it would be easy for anyone to lose hope when you are homeless; but not for Andy. He turns the experience into a song and takes life for what it is. Sure, it’s uncomfortable and odd, but he just slowly works his way up, figuratively and literally.

I need to be more like Andy because when I’m in my “pit” I just wallow. Very rarely do I see the hurt I’m in and realize that it’s temporary or know that it will teach me a lesson, I envision it being the rest of my life. When I’m sad or in despair I’m often consumed by it. Feelings are just feelings, they are not facts. But my feelings become the authority and it’s a bad habit that I’m trying to break.

The lesson from Andy Dwyer is knowing that bad things happen, but they are not permanent. And when bad things happen, the level of severity is really determined by how you view and react to the situation. Was the holiday break easy for me? No. Did I potentially make it worse by thinking the worst? Yes. Learning to make bad situations into art or into a lesson will make the blow a little less excruciating.

So, yes, I want to be the next lead singer of Mouse Rat.

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Case of the Fake People

A work of fiction:

 

“He’s a horrible person. You know that, right? You have to know that he is a self involved, horrible person” she said.

Christina sat and listened. But what struck her was the glimmer in her eye as she delighted in destroying another person’s character.

“She’s a bitch. I could care less about her, because if she’s lucky, she’ll end up being a prostitute who’s coked out and I might slip her a couple bucks for a ride” he said.

Christina sat and listened. He delighted in demeaning women and treating them like garbage. His face lit up as he described the horror that might be her future.

 

Years have passed and they all are living different lives. And they now smile in each others face. The ones who once spewed such hatred now act like they were once friends. The hypocrisy and falseness makes Christina physically sick.


“He thinks he’s God’s gift to the planet. I don’t want him knowing too much about my life, I just need to keep him at a distance” the other woman said.

But then she hugs him and heralds him as a success. Christina wished she never knew her true feelings, because seeing her behavior now has made Christina lose the little respect for her that she had left.


“Don’t compare me to that asshole, I’m nothing like him” he said.

Christina sat and listened. But she couldn’t help but notice the obvious similarities between both men. She wondered if the man in front of her hated this third party or if he secretly hated himself. He continued to lie, just like he accused the other man of doing. He was a womanizer, just like his sworn nemesis.


 

 

Christina spent a lot of time wondering why she couldn’t just let things go in the same manner that her friends did. She started to believe she wasn’t normal because she avoided people she didn’t get along with or didn’t like. She felt like she was being childish.

But she wasn’t lacking normalcy. She had something far greater than the people she once called friends. She had integrity.

The Sound

Have you ever heard the sound of a man dying?

I have.

August 21st, 1998- Orlando, Florida. I awoke to a sound that still haunts me to this day. My grandpa was struggling to cry out as he laid on the floor of our hotel room having a stroke. I was in a deep sleep and then I heard it. A sound I cannot, nor want to try, to recreate. I sat up in the bed, sat on the side of the bed that faced the wall. As I stood I turned my body in the direction of the sound. And then I saw him. He was on the floor, the left side of his body slumped over. There as a split moment where I remained frozen, not comprehending what I was seeing. I called for my cousin who woke to see the horror.

On that Friday morning I learned that the strongest of men can fall. Monday morning he was gone.

But that sound. The sound that started the most torturous weekend of my life. The sound of despair.

It’s a sound that can’t be erased from my memory. A sound that will forever be the song of loss.

For all the things that my grandpa told me in his life, it’s a shame that those were his final sounds.

Orlando, Florida, touted as one of the happiest places on earth. It became my hell. A place where I lost my grandpa. A place where one minute I was a child and the next I was an adult. A place where my life would be forever altered. And a place where I heard the sound, that haunting sound.

Dear Younger Me

Dear Younger Me,

Hey there, you. Your overly creative mind is such a gift and asset, don’t ever believe anyone who tells you that you’re weird because of it. With that, though, realize that your creative thoughts will not always become a reality. You will get disappointed and feel crushed that all the things you imagine are not part of the real world. It’s ok, keep those creative energies flowing, just don’t get disappointed.

Speaking of disappointment, you are going to face a lot of it, but don’t let it ruin you. People will come into your life and you may think all of these grand things, but remember something: they are just people who are flawed just like you. Don’t put all kinds of pressure on them to be these amazing beings that will transform your life instantly. They will let you down, and you will let others down. It’s part of being a human. Still do your best and have a good heart, but know that you are flawed and that’s ok too. You can have a heart of gold and it just not be someone’s cup of tea. It’s ok and it does not mean that you are not worthy. Different strokes for different folks. Just go with it and know that one person’s opinion of you does not define you. If someone can’t see your goodness, then their eyes are blurry, it has nothing to do with you.

I can’t tell you to do certain things and not do others, because what you choose will make you the person you are meant to become. But no matter what, don’t be so hard on yourself. You feel so much and carry so much, please realize that it’s ok to let things go. It’s great that you are so introspective, but don’t use that as a tool to beat yourself up with. Be aware, acknowledge, grow and move on.

Now, this might be the most important thing: there is no one on this planet that will heal you except for yourself. And you will come to know what I mean by this. Yes, grade school was difficult and you didn’t have a relationship with your father, but no one will be able to heal those wounds except for you. Don’t go looking for it in people who resemble or mirror the things from your past. It won’t work and it will make the problem worse for a time. Also, just because someone shows you kindness doesn’t mean you should blindly believe that they have your best interests at heart, be cautious.

Just stay true to who you are and listen to your gut. And trust it. You’re an anxious person, and at times it’s debilitating. But think of it in a positive way- at least you think and care. Maybe too much, but there are people in this world that don’t care at all.

And, please, don’t make such a big deal about being different. You are not going to do things the same way others do, you might be late or you might be early, but who cares? This whole timeline notion is garbage and should not give you angst. You are different and that is ok. You are you and no one else. What other people are doing isn’t your concern, just focus on what you want to do and how you want to do it.

Be good to yourself because this is who you are spending the rest of your life with.

Love,

You

Being Oz’d

“It’s been that way for as long as I can remember. Just ideas constantly popping up in my head. Sometimes I would ignore them, but if they were story related, I would end up feeling the emotions whether I wanted to feel them or not”. I said.

She looked back at me and stated “That’s a lot to handle”.

“Yea, I guess that’s why I feel overwhelmed even when I’m not doing much. Because my imagination is always doing something” I confirm.

“But you gave up acting?” she questioned.

There was a long pause. The girl just stared at her feet unable to move her lips to continue the conversation.

Finally, she was able to muster up a sentence.

“It’s like The Wizard of Oz in reverse. I was in color but now am in black and white. It just turned off one day.”

The woman looked back at her with a tinge of sadness in her eye.

“So you are in the grieving process” she said.

“I guess I am. The creativity is still there, I just don’t know what to do with it now. I guess you can say it’s a horse of a different color”.

 

 

Grass is Greener

A couple of years ago I was at a wedding and sat almost across what appeared to be a loving couple. The man had his arm around the woman and would whisper “I love you”. I remember thinking to myself “that’s what I want”. It seemed to be a great relationship.

Cut to their break up and his bad mouthing of his former love. “We are never getting back together. I love her, but I can’t be with her anymore”. He proceeded to sleep with other people, make false statements and continued to bash his ex. When they eventually got back together, his girlfriend was unaware of all that he had done when they split up. Uninformed and in the dark.

I thought back to the wedding and how I once envied what is clearly a messed up relationship. The grass is rarely greener on the other side.

So much of my time has been spent envying what others appear to have. This one makes more money than me, that one is more in shape. But I will never really know what it’s like to be on their side and know all the demons they have in their closets. You have to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, they say.

Well, I’ll keep my own shoes and water my own patchy grass. It might not be perfect, but at least it’s real.

Goodbye, girls.

Here’s the thing: on paper, Lena Dunham and I don’t appear to have that much in common. While we might disagree on certain topics, I have nothing but respect and admiration for her. In fact, she is one of the few people in film and television that I feel accurately represents me. She’s a woman who makes her own material and does not allow popular opinion to dictate her decisions.

The show GIRLS came into my life at a time where life was starting to change and confuse me. My mid and late twenties were strange, as I’m sure they are meant to be. I started to think differently and allow different kinds of people in my life (for good or bad). I had an Adam character in my life, a Jessa, a Marnie. Labeling myself as a Hannah or Shoshanna doesn’t feel totally accurate, but I certainly had similarities with both of those characters. While I would watch other shows for entertainment, laughs or scares, GIRLS was the show I would watch to feel like the weirdness in my life was not some abnormality. The uncomfortable realness of the characters and story lines gave me the courage to speak up when I needed to and the wisdom to shut up when it was best. The show was messy, raw, uninhibited and honest. I can’t say that I could relate to everything that happened on the show, but there were a few plot points that seared through me and hit way too close to home. Does the show deserve some criticisms? Sure, it wasn’t perfect. But neither is life in your late twenties. Or life at any age.

What Lena Dunham gave me, and many other women, is the courage to create and be messy. To have an idea that might not be completely formulated, but having the guts to present it anyway. She doesn’t fit in a mold, so she made one for herself. All the props in the world for a woman, no matter what side of the political aisle you may fall.

Thank you, Hannah Banana.

Sincerely,

Michelle my Belle