A funny turn.

It has been awhile. Though I’m always writing in my head, not much has gotten out of my head over the last few overwhelming years. I drafted a post on August 4, 2019 and just published it today. It turns out my life has taken a funny turn, and that post is perhaps foreshadowing the funny turn, so it seemed right to post it now, just as it was written then.

For some context, the world turned upside down between then and now. For me, it started when my sweet Daddy had a stroke in the fall of 2019. I was in Tennessee at the time, and rushed home. Thankfully, he recovered well after some rehab, and most folks would never know he had a stroke. In early January of 2020, I had a series of about four days during which I could not shake an overwhelming feeling of darkness. At the time, I thought it might be the imminent threat of war. I also wondered if it was my normal “winter blues” turning into paranoia. Unable to shake it, I went to my mother and sister and told them about how I felt, and that I thought we should get ready for something big. Orders were placed and Costco runs were made. What proceeded from there was, as you all know, a worldwide tragedy. The first diagnosed Covid-19 case in the US was in a hospital 15 miles from our home. Our privilege and our extreme caution kept us alive and healthy. The pandemic was, in the US, punctuated by political horrors, violent horrors (so many of them utterly shameful racial violence), and systemic horrors. Someday I may write more about that time, but not today. What I will say, is that it solidified for me, that there are only two kinds of people in this world. There are those who believe it is part of their job, as a human being, to look out for all other humans. Then there are those who believe it is their job only to look out for themselves and their immediate circle.

In the spring of 2021, things got very interesting in our household. We had seven surgeries in our home that year, and five of them were major surgeries. It is an honor and a privilege to be able to be a caregiver to one’s family. It did, however, make me realize that it was time to buckle down and decide what I really wanted to do with my life. I let my brain get to a quiet space so some fundementals could float to the top. What do I really want? To help make the world a better place. What has to happen for the world to be a better place? People have to change their behaviors. What makes people change their behaviors? People change their behaviors when they gain a new or deeper understanding so impactful that they cannot stay the same. What has given me such impactful, deeper understandings? Most of my impactful understanding has come from television or film.

On July 29, 2021, I reached out to a friend from high school who is a filmmaker and asked him if there was a place for me in the filmmaking world.

The answer is yes, there is a place for me in the world of filmmaking and story telling. I am currently supporting two films, one of which just premiered at Sundance. The introductions and encouragement my high school friend gave me, have changed my whole world. It has been life-giving to get to work with such talented storytellers, especially when the story feels so personal to me. My mind is alight with more stories I want to help tell. Hopefully, the budget will catch up to the desire, and it will all happen. Don’t be surprised if you see Chinchin and I at your local film festival sometime in the future.

This was written August 4th, 2019.

My birthday is in a few days, and I decided to treat myself.

I’ve been going through a thing. I’ve been going through a thing for quite awhile, but the thing has shape shifted over the last few months, as things often do.

As you may have read, I broke. The last few years did it. It was all a bit too much and a crevasse opened up and I fell into the darkness. I had no personal tragedy, just the slow, erosive realization that the darkness might win in the world. I’ve spent the last two years trying to float myself out of the bottom of the well with the love of family, rest, philanthropy, activism, good food, nature, wandering, and my favorite drug of choice, stories.

I have always loved stories. I have, as a former therapist put it, a very active and creative imagination. Give me a story, and my imagination can make it completely real and totally absorbing. This is why I can’t watch horror films, because I will have bad guys under my bed and monsters in my closet.

The totally absorbing effect is what has made stories my drug of choice. When I am in the world of a story, my loud and busy mind gets to rest. I also get to feel everything in the story.  Really, who wouldn’t want the intensity of all those emotions, and in a way that is much safer than when they happen in real life? When the stories are brought to life, and the actors, directors, sets, costumes, etc. create a completely different and believable world…well, that is just the best.

When I realized a few weeks ago that some of my favorite story tellers and stories were being performed in New York this summer, I decided to go ahead and buy my red corvette, except it will be in the form of a plane ticket, theater tickets, and music tickets.

This is where I have to explain the part I’m not being super open about. It all started with a celebrity crush. Trust me when I tell you that having a celebrity crush at this point in my life makes me feel a bit silly and embarrassed. I’m a grown ass woman, with lots of life experience, rational thoughts, some modicum of intelligence, etc. Yet, here I was watching far too many YouTube interviews (something I had done almost none of up to this point in my life), and just letting myself steep in the wonder that is the world of acting.

I’ve thought so much over the last few weeks why my brain/heart needed to do this, and I came to two conclusions.

Conclusion Number One:

I LOVED Northern Exposure, the television show. When it came out, it felt unique and quirky, and I could throw myself into the story and characters (at least for the first few seasons). One story line hit me really hard and has stuck with me all these years. Leonard explains to Ed that movies are so important because they are our modern day healing myths. Stories HEAL. I needed to throw myself into stories, and listen to story tellers because I have been needing to heal. I want to see shows in New York, because I need to heal.

Conclusion Number Two:

I’ve known for years, my crushes, celebrity or otherwise, are just my heart and mind yearning for love. They are a safe way to express my desire to have a love and a life as brilliant as what my imagination is capable of creating. Then I watched season two of Fleabag, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge just nailed it.

Love is awful. It’s awful. It’s painful. It’s frightening. It makes you doubt yourself, judge yourself, distance yourself from the other people in your life. It makes you selfish. It makes you creepy, makes you obsessed with your hair, makes you cruel, makes you say and do things you never thought you would do.

It’s all any of us want, and it’s hell when we get there. So no wonder it’s something we don’t want to do on our own. I was taught if we’re born with love then life is about choosing the right place to put it.

People talk about that a lot, feeling right, when it feels right it’s easy. But I’m not sure that’s true. It takes strength to know what’s right. And love isn’t something that weak people do. Being a romantic takes a hell of a lot of hope. I think what they mean is, when you find somebody that you love, it feels like hope.

It is ok to have a crush on a good story teller. It is ok to want to show gratitude to them for helping you find some much needed hope.