Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mother May I For The Love Of A Secret Sin Dying Between Friends: The Susannah Story, A Lifetime Original Movie

I was thinking about how this blog reads a bit like a bad Lifetime Original Movie, what with all the cancer and the grief, a woman fighting to regain control of her life so she gets a drastic hair style. It could be called "Mother May I For The Love Of A Secret Sin Dying Between Friends," pretty much because those are the key words in any Lifetime Original Movie. I was thinking that maybe I could be played by Tori Spelling, although we look nothing alike, so perhaps Kellie Martin from Life Goes On? I mean...
We both do the same wan victim look, except of course she wears her jeans much higher than I.

Then I remembered that there is a website that tells you what celebrity you most resemble, so I turned to the experts of the www because I have too much free time and am vain like that.
(Let us not mention how I picked a flattering photo of yours truly and admittedly don't look this smooth in the day to unfiltered day...)
Match: 74%
Match: 73%
Match: 73%
Match: 72%
Match: 72%
Jason Statham Fred Durst Ralph Fiennes Gwen Stefani Madeleine Albright
Jason Statham
Fred Durst
Ralph Fiennes
Gwen Stefani
Madeleine Albright

Only to be told that I will most decidedly not be played by Kellie Martin but rather talent ranging from Jason Statham to Madeleine Albright, at which point this Lifetime Original Movie picked up a sub-storyline in which the heroine has a touch of body dysmorphia and drinks a lot.

Anyway, because this is Lifetime and not, say, HBO, I am going with the role of Susannah played by Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit fame, my 73% match. Really, the resemblance is striking.

So imagine, if you will, it's a Friday night and you're flipping through the channels maybe feeling a little guilty that you had cereal for dinner again and something makes you pause at "Mother May I For The Love Of A Secret Sin Dying Between Friends: The Susannah Story, A Lifetime Original Movie." Before you know it you are sucked in to the implausible storyline. Girl is afraid of MS, thinks she has MS, is called crazy, her mother dies, then her step-father dies (from MS!), two kittens die (I don't know what this does to further the storyline either but it happens) and then she is finally diagnosed with MS herself at which point she realizes she is not crazy but has been right all along so she takes charge of her own health and researches a cutting edge treatment that could possibly save her life, raises the money and dyes her hair pink...will she succeed? (deep breath) Will I succeed?

Personally I would have fallen asleep on the couch already, this Lifetime Original Movie is so badly written, but on the off chance you are still watching let me explain...

There is a lot of this movie on the cutting room floor. Scenes in which Fred Durst (me) is curled up in a ball on his (her? my?) bed, scared. Scenes where Fred Durst flexes his/her/my feet to see if they are MS-y in any way, arches his/her/my neck, obsesses over symptoms and what ifs and whys. Except of course what ifs and whys are hard to show on film, so instead you see scenes where Fred Durst dyes his/her/my hair pink and says BALLS a lot (possibly bleeped over for network television). Because Lifetime Original Movies about women who just cry all the time without ever feeling powerful don't sell a lot of Yoplait or whatever commercial comes on at the break. 

But it's there nonetheless. Between all the positive posts there are moments you don't see. Moments where Fred Durst looks into the mirror up close and for a really long time, too long--you know how you can stare at your reflection so long that you actually lose sense of self? It's a strange take, his acting superb in that moment. Fred Durst stares into the mirror and you see something behind his eyes, a question, a flickering answer that he can't quite grasp. Does the pink hair complement his skin tone? Will his insurance agree to pay for follow up care? And the bigger fear behind his eyes, the one we all want to know, the hesitation before every line he reads--will he succeed?

Will I? I don't know.



Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Impermanence of Permanent Pink & Other Colors

Some might call it a mid-life crisis hair choice, but I like to think of it as a pre-chemo-what-the-hell-I'm-going-to-lose-my-hair-in-January-anyway hair choice.
Either way, it got me carded at Trader Joe's this afternoon, which is probably more due to the fact that 42 year old women don't usually dye their hair pink, but whatever. I'll take it. A cart full of Fuji apples, caramel soy ice cream and a no way from the checkout guy who I made blush with my downright cougar-y gratitude.

Zoey, of course, wanted to dye her hair, too, and I decided to let her because we are on this adventure together. That's what I keep saying, that this is an adventure. It's going to be strange, I tell the kids, there might be parts that are scary or just plain weird, but that's ok, because we are in it together. And they look at me and ask for a snack.

Zoey chose blue. Of course now I kinda wish I had gone blue, but who knows? Maybe I will in a few weeks. Or dye it black. I've always wanted to have black hair and wear red lipstick. There is a freedom to staring down the barrel of bald.

The thing is, I've already beat MS. It's gone. I don't have it. It's just a hiccup in the space/time continuum that I actually do have MS right now, because in a few months? By February? I won't. Which means I don't now, in a way, held back only by the constraints of time. Those are the kind of deep dude thoughts people with pink hair have...


Monday, October 13, 2014

Why I Can Never Go Back To That Monday Night Yoga Class Ever Again

You know that feeling when you're a little/totally rattled, trying to get dinner started, homework settled, telling your daughter that no, she can't pick out what you're going to wear to yoga because even though it's called a sun salutation does not mean I can wear a sundress? That feeling? And then Bryan (or whoever your Bryan is) comes in the front door and you pass the baton to get to yoga on time? That feeling. Well stay with me here.

Because that all happened and then I got to yoga, zipped off my sweatshirt, laid out my mat and got into Supta Baddha Konasana feeling like I had totally won that round of whatever. Aahhh. To give you a visual, this is what Supta Baddha Konasana looks like, if you're a very skinny man with hopefully soft heels.
There I was all proud of myself because I knew what restorative pose I was supposed to take to leave the day behind, Pranayama breathing the hell out of my Supta Baddha Kanasana except I felt a little cold. Drafty. So I reached one of my hands down to my stomach only to realize that I had no shirt on. I was Supta BRAddha Kanasana--see what I did there? Oh for shame. I quickly got up and put my hoodie back on wanting very much to make a quick exit except that would mean rolling up my mat and stepping over people to get to the door. Somehow getting low and horizontal felt like the right thing to do. So I did, and spent the whole class too hot and bunchy in a sweatshirt wondering if anyone would have ever told me I was doing yoga in just a bra or not?

It didn't help that it was a new yoga class for me, a step up in level and I already felt like I wasn't ready for it. The yoga teacher kept coming over to adjust me, and if you've ever been in a yoga class then you know that feeling when you sense she is coming over to you so you try to suck in your core and strengthen your thighs and--goddamn it, she's moving your knee up and back, isn't she? Don't look at me! I'm hideous! Shame spirals are hard on a Tree Pose.

Plus there was a guy in front of me who looked exactly like Russell Brand, or what I imagine Russell Brand looks like from behind doing yoga.
Like this, only the back of his head. 

The part of the class that I wasn't doing a mental Chris Farley stupid stupid stupid over my bra blunder I was wondering if Russell Brand had seen me in my bra, hoping fervently that he had already been in his own restorative pose when I came in.

It wasn't until the end of class after we had all Namaste'd the light in each other that he turned around and I saw that he looked more like Charles Manson:
As you can see, there are striking similarities, and yet there is something slight in the eyes that says that one is not someone you want to see you in your bra. Or at all. 

Which is why I can never go back to that Monday night yoga class ever again.


p.s. If you happen to live in my town and you overhear someone telling a story about how some crazy lady came to yoga in just her bra, it wasn't me. It must have been some other person who left the house too quickly to remember her shirt. It happens, right? Please tell me it happens.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Teresa Giudice and I Are Basically The Same Person Now

You know you've made a wrong turn somewhere when you start identifying with Teresa Giudice. But I have and I do and seriously--can you believe she got 15 months? What happened? You know she is asking herself that question, just as I am asking myself the same thing, i.e. how did this happen? That I have MS (still hard to say/write those words), that I am scrapping and scraping to leave my family to go to Israel for 6 weeks to have my immune system completely destroyed. I mean, right Teresa? What the fuck happened to us? You in your orange jumpsuit, me with no hair...

We should totally be pen pals, Teresa and me. After all, she has to turn herself in to prison by January 5 and I check in for my stem cell transplant on January 4. This Christmas will be bittersweet tough for both of us, but once we have gone to our respective "aways," we can swap stories of strange new culinary dishes, trade tips on how to get our laundry done, and cry to each other with the misery of missing our children. 

Because honestly. That is what I fear most. Not the pain or the chemo, the fatigue or the foreign country, but that my kids will think I have abandoned them. That they will feel scared and alone, not safe.
Just thinking about it makes me feel like an actual knife is stuck deep hot into my chest and I can't breathe.
So I try not to think about it too much. Instead I read Us Weekly, books, I drink almond milk and look deep into Teresa's eyes and sigh the sigh of a woman who doesn't know how she got here either.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Like A Gyno Exam

Once upon a time in my misspent early twenties I went to The Lusty Lady with my friends. I don't know why, really, except we were drunk and it was Valentine's Day, plus why does anyone go to The Lusty Lady anyway? So there we were, a bunch of sad, stupid girls crowded into a little peep show closet, or the quarter slots, can't quite remember except there was a woman behind a glass window in front of us doing stuff to herself and I was suddenly very extremely jarringly oh-no sober. What does that feel like? one of us asked her, and she looked at us kind of bored and without stopping what she was doing she said it was like going to the gynecologist.

God, why am I telling you this horrible story?

Even more to the point, why am I including this Prince gif?
Because sometimes/most times/all the times Prince says it better with just an expression.
I've been thinking of that woman lately, and not just because she ruined p0rn for me forever but because I feel that exposed. Asking for money. One of my friends asked me what it feels like and I will flat out tell you it feels wrong and shameful and weird and, and, and...

And who cares? This is the argument I have in my head. (Along with memories of a sad peep show, it's a real party up there.) But seriously. If it were anyone else I wouldn't think twice...that's what community is for...I've given to others in medical crisis...crises? Isis? Isil? Why does Obama keep saying Isil? Seriously, I'm a mess.

This whole thing has taken me so far out of my comfort zone, the non-religious, borderline WASP asking for money to go to the Holy Land to have her immune system literally reborn. I would say that in my family we were always taught not to talk about money but teaching that would require talking about it so that's not quite right either. What is right is that I have always hated the feeling of owing someone. Like if I borrowed $10 to buy lunch I would feel awkward until I paid you back.* And here we are and I owe you all something like $25,000 and I can't really pay you back. It makes me feel itchy.

And happy. And strong, and loved and supported and thank you, God, thank you. But weird, too, and that's ok, right? It's ok for me to involuntarily cross my legs sometimes, to inhale sharply, to stare up at the poster on the ceiling of someplace else I'd rather be--a boat on a lake or yellow dahlias in a vase--surely your gyno has that poster, too? The poster of a time after Israel, let's call it February 20, when I will again be well and we will all of us live happily ever after.

*If you're reading this and at some point I did borrow $10 for a sandwich or took your last piece of gum (Britt), please don't hesitate to tell me and I will pay you back and/or buy you a pack of Bubble Yum.