The space that was once my therapeutic safe space has turned into a space I look at and occasionally dread. It is an awful feeling when a source of comfort turns into… darkness.
This is my life right now.
I fight for comfort. And yes, Momma still needs a beer, but not necessarily because of my children anymore. BWHAHAHA!! OK… sometimes.
I do have to put a little alcohol on it because of my chronic condition. My cute little tagline has become reality, and whether that’s something you find to be “a problem” or not… it works for me. Not every day. Ok ok… sometimes! Geez. Moderation is everything. But… other than Valium, the pills don’t always work. Also — Botox. I’ve had to undergo surgery 5 times this year for trigger point injections in my pelvic floor, and will be spending New Year’s Eve in the hospital — kids and all! Wheeeeeee!!
Pass the damn alcohol.
Because of my chronic condition without a cure, I’ve had to come to terms with a few things. First of all, find the joy. Find the fucking joy. Where’s the joy? What joy can I find in this shit?!! What CAN I do?!!
Ok: I “get to” watch a hell of a lot of tv in bed. Many people might even consider that a “luxury” — being “stuck” in bed because I can’t sit or stand for long periods of time without excruciating pain. I might have, once upon a time. I don’t as much anymore — but I don’t recall a time in my life when I’ve ever felt “bored” — even now.
I still find ways to be active within my community when I can. Writing, social media marketing, event planning, singing, volunteering, etc. Because, ya know what?! I’m not dead. I can do much of the above from my bed, from my laptop or smart phone, and still do when I can. Want to hire me? Email me — let’s chat. Momma’s got some medical bills to pay. HA!
When I’m not doing much of the above, I’m juggling family life, appreciating my kids’ laughter, music, art, stories, etc. They are my reason for living. Goodness, I’m SO lucky they are good to me. I’m not saying that to brag at ALL. They can be little shits like every kid. But can I freeze them at 7 and 11 please?!!! The sweet things they say and do for me make me burst into tears! Joy.
My friends are also an incredible source of joy. They check in with me and just… get it. They drag me out when I need to. And damn it — I DO need to get out — as much as I’d rather stay home and hide under the covers sometimes, going out for a beer with my friends and feeling like ME again means the world. The hubs doesn’t think I drink nearly enough.
My condition will not define me.
Finally… when I am in the cusp of those lonely isolating moments — I turn to my old pal television. We cut the cable cord earlier this year; I thought it would hurt, but it only brought me closer to my old friend. I’m now commercial free and LOVING it!! TV has always been there for me. As I grew up, I belly-laughed with my dad though Roseanne, Carol Burrnett and SNL sketches.
Today, I nostalgically dive through Saturday Night Live clips with my kids. They have fallen in love with Wayne’s World, Brian Fellow’s Safari Planet, and anything with Jimmy Fallon, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. This goes beyond SNL to the wonderful world of Parks and Rec, though we haven’t dove into 30 Rock… we’ll get there.
My kids also love to watch The Goldbergs which is nostalgia HEAVEN for an 80s kid like me. If you were born in the 70s and haven’t watched this comedy GOLD… please do yourself a favor and just pick and episode or two and GO. I have yet to watch an episode and think “eh.” I love them all — and it’s hard to find a sitcom I can enjoy WITH my kids. A lot of them can be cheeseball — or just too many sex jokes. Nothing in between. The Goldbergs — somehow — have managed to find that middle ground. Thank you!
For me… having to say goodbye to Parks and Rec and Mad Men this year was a bit painful. They were my friends. Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson? Pals. That Peggy Strut was EVERYTHING. I always felt Joan Harris was my spirit animal — and the episode of The Christmas Waltz will forever make me wonder “what if” for a second between Don Draper and Joan… before I pull back and realize — it’s every platonic friendship I’m grateful for.
This is my life. I haven’t even mentioned how many times I’ve watched episodes of Ab Fab, or… goodness — Gilmore Girls as that IS my go-to comfort food. I am Lorelai Gilmore after-all. Except, instead of coffee… I need beer (or, rather — add beer to my coffee needs) instead of Luke’s, I go to Bob’s more than a gal should. The rest? Fairly spot-on.
I know. I’m insane.
Bare with me, I haven’t written therapeutically for awhile… but really, the places we go to find comfort shouldn’t be judged. Especially if we are suffering in one way or another. What else can we do? If we don’t laugh, we’ll cry. We long for joy and comfort. Nostalgia seems to fit the bill. Look at television these days… even current shows are going BACK to the old days to tap into our nostalgic haze. Many of the shows that I watch don’t take place in present day. When I’m not watching my “present-day” shows like Scandal or Transparent I go to Netflix or Hulu for my commercial free fix of something like… iZombie which is practically a reboot of Veronica Mars! I mean… come on — nostalgia at it’s finest.
The movies have been doing it for years. How many sequels and prequels can one movie have? Look at Star Wars?! JJ Abrams — I love you. You’ve not only reinvigorated a series FROM THE 70s, but you made me want to rewatch Alias! You can’t tell me Rey wasn’t in some way inspired by Sydney Bristow!! GA!!
And look at Lin-Manuel Miranda!! Hamilton!!! I’m obsessed. My daily soak in the tub wouldn’t be complete without reliving the last two decades of the 1700s through a hip-hopera. WHAT?!! Talk about nostalgia. Immigrants: they get the job done. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Download the soundtrack, my friends. Omfg.
My point, and I do have one — is that we all have to find our bliss in some way shape or form. For me — there are days I can’t leave my house because I’m in so much damn pain. It sucks. But I can’t just sit and cry and scream about it. Ok, some days I totally do!! But what the hell good does it do?! I used to feel better writing/venting about it… until the last couple of years — now I can almost count on an inbox full of judgy hater trolls after hitting publish wondering if I’m writing about them, among other choice words. Uh… No? I’m generally venting about… LIFE, people. This used to be my sacred space… doesn’t Tina Fey have a new rule about not apologizing for her jokes? I should look into that.
Because… talk about blowing a funny writing fuse.
The point is… I am writing now. I don’t know if I will continue to write in this space… but I’m writing today. It does feel good to share and spread awareness.
Know that if you are suffering from a mental or physical illness, you are not alone. I am suffering. I may never be cured. I am working on treatments. I am working on getting through each day. I am so grateful for those who talk me through it. Who hug me through it. Who don’t judge me for my genuinely happy posts on social media and just… get me.
I may never be “better.” But I’m trying. I’m still me. I’m powering through the best I can. Embracing the joy… and my beer! This chronic illness doesn’t have a cure, but I refuse to let it define me. And I appreciate those of you who still see the real ME behind the illness more than you could ever possibly know.