August 20, 2018

Nothing like completely blowing a good opportunity to remind you that you suck and you’re not moving forward in your career.

I have to say, it did feel GOOD. Even though I stunk up the place, I really, really loved getting to do that. Wasn’t as fun for the audience, that’s for sure, but it was glorious for me. Nervous and poor performance and all. Even bombing felt good.

But it really reminded me of how much work I should be putting in if I’m going to justify being away from the people that I love and not being present in my grief. I ignore it. I distract myself. I deny it. Every once in a while, because I can’t think past it, I live in it, but for the most part, I try to get as far away from it as one can get from their own skin and bones. Which can’t be easily justified or rectified if I’m busy failing at other things. All it really does is remind me. You just set up shop, didn’t you? You think you fucking live here, don’t you? I can’t deny everything that happened. I can’t pretend this isn’t my life. But I can NOT talk about it. Which is what I’m doing. Which is why, when I come home from absolutely destroying opportunities to advance my career, I sit down to a silent reminder from my (traitorous) brain telling me, “you don’t deserve this anyway. You should be somewhere else. You should be helping. You should be sad.”

My brain needs a vacation. Or a chill pill. Or alcohol.

Day 71 – Blowing Opportunities

August 17, 2018

Did I get out of pajamas today? Yes. Did I leave my house? Also, yes. BUT – I left for no more than 40 minutes (to go to the grocery store) and I changed from pajamas into workout clothes so when I sat on the couch, I felt better about myself. So.

There are definitely days where I feel more like my old self, and today was somewhat that day. But I was done by 2:30 PM. I tried to keep my spirits up, but it’s hard when I want to be successful and productive, but I find myself focusing on how sad I am. How do I change my focus? I usually use cake and cookies, but I’m trying not to do that right now. SO HOW DO OTHER PEOPLE DO IT? How does anyone focus on the good rather than the debilitating sadness? I swear I feel like I’m trying my best, but it doesn’t seem to be working all that well.

On a happier note, I did three crosswords last night before I fell asleep on the couch. Is that a happier note? Unclear, but maybe it’s a small win.

Day 68 – Trying My Best

August 16, 2018

I have my moments of realizing it’s a beautiful life and moments of thinking it’s hard and tonight I felt that combo very acutely. I am always trying to live my happiest, best, most beautiful life while feeling deeply sad in my very bones. And also while being the most cynical, pessimistic, anxious person on earth.

You can try to fight me on that, but you will not win.

The things we inflict on ourselves and our families and the ones we love with one choice or one action or even a series of choices or actions can haunt us and them for the rest of time. Why do we do these things? Why don’t we all make better choices? Why did I date ANY of the guys I’ve dated before? Why did I buy those flowery pants? Why did I see a dress I bought recently in People Magazine on the body of an 84-year-old? Why did I say that one thing that one time (this question can apply to almost anything I’ve ever said to anyone at any time)? Why why why?

Life can be so beautiful. I think it’s meant to be. But then we fuck it all up with moving away from our families and living alone and working long days and driving everywhere and long commute hours and short vacation time and limited financial resources and interacting with idiots.

These thoughts run through my head a lot. When I eat all the foods, the anxiety gets full and bloated and needs a nap, so I get a short break from them but they always return. Today they reappeared like an angry pimple on a 16-year-old’s face the day before Prom. Go. The Fuck. Away.

Day 67 – Choices Choices Choices

July 3, 2018

What a day. Everything I did today was so that I could watch Bridget Jones’s Diary. I know what that sounds like. But it was a goal, okay? It was something to shoot for. And then when I finally turned it on, I fell asleep almost immediately and missed most of it. But I got to my goal. Another small win.

I had a somewhat productive meeting. A somewhat productive afternoon post-meeting. A somewhat productive evening spent with friends playing trivia in a dive bar.

And then the less productive sadness settled in as memories hit me. Memories in which we set off fireworks for the 4th of July. In which we spent summers at a mountain cabin, eating candied apples, going boating on the lake (my dad eventually sank that boat…three times), playing cards, joking around, talking, fighting, silent treatment. I’d take any of it.

I’d take any of it.

Day 23 – Mixed bag of productivity and sadness.

June 28, 2018

Today is two years exactly. It’s the day I’ve been dreading for a long time. It still doesn’t seem real most days, but especially today.

You know when you have one of those days where something happens – good or bad – but it just feels like it isn’t even real? That’s how I felt when I graduated college. And high school, for that matter. It felt like something I’d been working toward and something I wanted and was excited about, and then the day came and it was slightly anticlimactic in its routine and scheduling and then it ended and it didn’t feel like anything had actually happened. Same thing when I turned 21. It’s supposed to be this big moment, this big milestone. But the day came and it felt like any other day, and then the next day came and I felt exactly the same. It wasn’t life-changing. It doesn’t feel real because it isn’t anything like what it’s “supposed” to be.

Today felt that way. This big, horrible anniversary that has been looming over me for 2 years and when it came, it felt just as bad – but no worse and really no different – than any other day. There were some laughs. There were some hard moments. There were tough conversations. It could have been any other day, really. It could have been any day of this new reality.

Is that sad? It feels a little sad and a little relieving. Bittersweet, almost, but with sadness and relief. There’s no sweetness to it. I’m partially glad it didn’t feel as devastating as I thought it was going to feel, but maybe that’s because I’m always devastated, so today was no different. I don’t know. I hope you know what I mean – but just in general, not because of personal tragedy.

My mom asked me to water the plants today. Another somewhat mundane task on a day that felt like it should have had more gravitas or celebration or mourning or something…

But instead of watering the plants, I sprayed the water at myself because I don’t know how to use a hose or what wind is. Who knew?!?

Day 18 – Bitterrelief. Sadlief. Resad. Maybe resad is the most accurate…

June 18, 2018

This one will be short. I tried my hardest to have a good day today. I started writing a new play. But…

Grief burrowed inside me. I lived in it and it lived in me. I fought it for as long as I could. But then I talked to my mom and it won. We laughed some. We told stories. She didn’t want to talk to me. She said she wanted to curl up in her bed. But then she told me, “I won’t kill myself while you’re still here.” I will never forget those words.

You know, when your heart is broken, it doesn’t take much for the wound to open up again. Even the happy things and happy conversations and happy memories can rip the scar tissue out.

I am so, so sad. I don’t even know where to put my sadness anymore. Every time I try to have a good day, every time I try to be a better “me” or make other people laugh, I get an email at midnight from my mom saying she doesn’t want to talk to me and everything is terrible. How can I laugh now?

Day Eight – Life kicked my ass.

June 13, 2018


Well, I watched a lot of Parks and Rec today. I seriously love that show. I know some people don’t like it, and that’s fine; you’re wrong. Just kidding… But it really is so good.

I miss the characters when I’m not watching it. I wonder what they’re up to after a series ends. I cry at their failures and successes, losses and wins. I can’t wait to turn the show back on and see how they’re doing. That’s real. I do that with Gilmore Girls, Parenthood, The Office, Friends, Burn Notice… And when I’ve finished re-watching the whole show, sometimes I start it over again right away because it’s too heartbreaking to think that it’s actually over. I want to live in Stars Hollow with Lorelai and Rory. I want to be in the Braverman family. I want to be best friends with Jim and Pam and Dwight and Michael. I want to live in NYC and hang out at Central Perk and drink coffee with the whole Friends gang. I want to be a badass CIA agent with Michael, Fiona, Sam, and Jesse (and I kind of want to date Jesse/be with him forever and ever and have his babies). I want to work with Leslie Knope and watch her take over the world. They’re not characters to me. They’re friends. I DON’T NEED YOUR JUDGMENT.

Anyone else? Just me? As long as there are a few other people who do the weird things I do, I feel slightly less crazy. Strength in numbers, I guess.

I also walked around outside today. And I met with that friend I mentioned yesterday. The one I haven’t seen in a while. We hung out for two and a half hours; we talked about her for two hours and 22 minutes. I consider that a win. I love asking the questions and I hate answering them.

I don’t always want to talk only about someone else. Like with the Lyft driver the other night who spoke nonstop (I swear he didn’t even breathe) from the time he picked me up at the airport to the time he dropped me off about VIDEO GAMES. Now some people – women included – enjoy video games. The fine art is lost on me so I hated Every. Single. Second. I didn’t even know how to respond to him as he rambled on about E3 (gaming convention), his streaming channel, the games he plays, the games his friends play, and then made me watch a live video of someone AS HE DROVE AND WATCHED AS WELL. It was a whole new level of Hell that Dante didn’t anticipate.

Today, when I wasn’t watching TV, I had to re-order a Rent the Runway dress (if you don’t know what that is, it’s a site where you can rent dresses for events instead of having to buy them…could be a rip off. Unsure.). I ordered it two months ago for this formal wedding I’m going to in a week and got a text message – A TEXT MESSAGE – from the company (why do they text now? I feel like that’s weird. Do I text you? No.) saying the dress is now unavailable. How does a pre-ordered, reserved dress suddenly become unavailable? The customer service rep I spoke to had no answers. “Maybe some of the beading came off” was the best she could come up with. Well, shockingly, one week before the date, there really aren’t very many dresses left. In fact, there are only a few and definitely none in my size. Surprise, surprise. My mom always told me that if I didn’t have bad luck, I’d have no luck at all. Well, after four hours of my day was spent trying to find a dress that would fit my body, my chest, my height (I’m 5’11”), and my sense of style, we landed on a dress that I didn’t like very much that was over $100 less than the original dress I chose. When I pointed that out, she said, “I see what you mean” and didn’t say anything else. It would have been cheaper to cancel the order and re-order it at the new price. I would’ve saved $115. But I didn’t do the smart thing, which is shocking to no one who knows me.

After that debacle, I obviously needed a nap. And food. And then the walk in the park with my friend who spoke about her life. Why do other people’s lives always sound so much more amazing than mine? She just got engaged (it’s fine, I’m happy for her) to the guy she’s been traveling the world with for the past year (it’s fine, I’m happy for her) and stopped by LA for a summer vacation (it’s fine, I’m happy for her) before they move to Boston to live rent-free with a friend, plan their wedding, and start jobs they managed to secure while traveling (it’s fine, but I’m becoming less happy for her). She looks amazing and happy and carefree.

I remember being carefree, or as carefree as someone who is constantly wracked with crippling anxiety can possibly be. Does anyone else have this problem? From the time I get up in the morning until I finally manage to momentarily defeat my insomnia for a few hours, I feel a general anxiety about everything. I think they make a pill for that, but I’m just so (wrongly) convinced that I can beat it myself through binge watching Parks and Rec or eating cookies or thinking about – but not actually – exercising that I have refused to take anything for it so I continue to suffer from the anxiety.

I spoke with my mom today, but we didn’t talk about IT. Weeks have passed since I last talked to her. Somewhat by design, but somewhat because she’s busy. I just hate talking about it, you know? I hate living it. I hate that IT exists. I hate that it’s happened. I hate that this is the new normal. I hate that I feel like I don’t belong in other people’s normal. I hate that every time something funny happens, I feel like I have to stop myself from laughing, because that’s not fair that I get to laugh and enjoy things.

I bought an overpriced chai tea latte today to make myself feel better. It didn’t work. I donated stuff to a school in need today to make myself feel better. That didn’t work. I told myself that if I make an “easy” to-do list and cross off at least one thing (“make a list” is what I crossed off), I’d feel better. That didn’t work either. So I’m obviously still hoping food and Netflix are the answers, but I just don’t know anymore because the sadness keeps creeping in. And then it ends up in the background like white noise. And then I feel bad for not thinking about it and it comes to the forefront again and then I want it to go away. What do people do when they’re actually dealing with their grief? I don’t like any of this at all.

I ate a fudge brownie and three Milano cookies (double dark chocolate) for dinner. I wore my pajamas all day until I had to meet my friend, and then I put on the same outfit as yesterday because she hadn’t seen it yet. I didn’t realize it had dirt and stains on it until I got home. The stress from that realization led to a nap.

And I wonder why my mom thinks I haven’t lived up to my potential… It’s a mystery.

June 12, 2018

Food is more than comfort. I ate toast with tomato on it for breakfast. Impressively healthy, right? I washed it down with apple juice (eh, still fine). And then I followed that up with two donuts, a banana, and a cookie. And that was just breakfast. Then I got a delicious strawberry lemonade from a small coffee shop where they asked me, “Where have you been? We haven’t seen you in a while.” Even though I’ve been there a total of five times in my life. Nice to be remembered, I guess…

For lunch, I made chicken, roasted broccolini, and rice pilaf. Killing it. But I followed that up with two blueberry cookies (more like scones). Still feeling peckish, a few hours elapsed before I found myself eating a turkey burger, fries, and chocolate cake with ice cream. (It’s amazing how writing all of this down and looking back on it not only makes me feel terrible, but explains the reason why not even my elastic-waistband sweatpants fit.)

I needed the comfort today, and the friendship. I flew back to Los Angeles today just in time to make it to my regular trivia night with friends at a dive bar down the street. We laughed so hard I forgot for a brief moment why my life is different from theirs. And then it all came rushing back.

Today was one of those days where I didn’t cry (yet) but I felt down. And I fought it hard. I went out to a victory parade for the NBA Champion Oakland Warriors. I (clearly) ate my weight (and my neighbor’s weight) in delicious food. I laughed. I told stories. I spent time with friends. But underneath it all is that sadness that still manages to taint everything. It crops up constantly to remind me that I’m not like everyone else. I’m Hester Prynne but with a “G” for grieving instead of an “A” for adultery, though I might actually prefer the public shame of one over the other. Having a “G” etched so clearly on my face, in my eyes, makes me feel like an “other.” Like I’m different. Like my friends love me, but they’re scared to get too close for fear of catching my grief. For fear of contracting it like some awful disease and looking more like me.

I told at least five good jokes tonight. Yes, I counted. Yes, I’m a loser. It’s the little things that get me through the day most of the time.

I’m dreading tomorrow, when I have plans to see a friend I haven’t seen since December and she inevitably asks me “How’s everything going?” with that look on her face. The one that says, You know what I mean and I’m glad I’m not you and I don’t really want to know all at the same time. And which she also inevitably follows up with, “What’s new?” Nothing. Nothing is ever new. Grief is like that. It’s the same every day. Painful. All-consuming. Hard to talk about. Harder to live. Harder still to pretend like it’s fine so as not to bother other people with the truth.

I still haven’t faced it in the way I should. “Should.” I hate that word. Like there’s a manual someone wrote of how to behave and what exactly to be doing all the time and we all just walk around expecting ourselves and others to do those things when, really, we should be doing what’s best for each of us, individually, even if sometimes we have to be selfish.

I feel like I’m being selfish all the time. I can’t get a gauge for it. I agreed to go to Vegas this weekend (to distract myself) for a friend’s birthday (to distract myself), but as it draws nearer, I realize that I want to stay home, and maybe cry, and definitely eat ice cream, and for sure turn on Netflix, and without a doubt chill with myself. But then a friend might call and I might go out because it sounds better than sitting in my house, absorbed with my grief. But then again, I “should” go to Vegas. I already committed. It’s not like it’s torture. It’ll be fun. Then again, I should give myself the time to deal with what’s happening in my life. To remember how he always had my back. To listen to the voicemails of his I saved but haven’t been able to open. To be present in my sadness so maybe, just maybe, I can someday fit into my pants again and step outside my house without convincing myself over the course of several hours and hang out with my friends without silently acknowledging to myself that they’re actually just great distractions.

Day two and I’m already not living in my grief. Who would want to? It’s not fun like a water slide or a day at Disneyland. It’s like a terrifying drop on a roller coaster where you can’t see the bottom and you don’t know when it’s going to end and you feel like you’re going to die if it doesn’t stop soon. Dramatic, yes. But true.

But in case you were worried – even for a second – that I would get through the day without embarrassing myself, I coughed so hard I farted at trivia. And then I coughed louder to cover it up. And then I farted louder. So. Just be thankful you’re not me.