The Happiness You Seek

That’s an interesting statement, don’t you think? I used to be one of those people who bought into “seeking” happiness. “What do you really want out of life?” someone would ask, to which I would answer “to be happy”. Oh, the things we learn during our journey.

Something important I have finally figured out during my descent through hell in this last year is that happiness is not a thing you can obtain. It is not & should not be made a goal in life. It is not an ending to anything, it is merely a feeling you either allow or do not into your soul. 

At our core, I believe that most people, including myself, are good. Call me a fool, but after all I’ve seen & done, I am still an optimist. I believe in me & honestly…I’m starting to realize that may be all I need. Sure, it’s nice to receive approval from others, but I don’t really need it anymore, not entirely, or at least not from the people I sought it from for so many years. To quote Neil Young “it doesn’t mean that much to me, to mean that much to you”.

In the eyes of some, I will never amount to anything. I will never overcome the opinion of myself that I have put into their minds. I will always be a failure, a liar, a drug addict, a thief, a lost soul…I am finally okay with people thinking that of me. It is not my responsibility to change the opinions of others, nor is it my responsibility to argue the validity of each of these claims. It is only my responsibility to do the best I can at making every day I breathe the best day I can. I am my responsibility, no one else is nor is anyone else mine. Some days I fail at my responsibilities. Some days I don’t get out of bed. Some days I can’t shower. Some days I’m angry at nothing in particular. Some days are spent crying for the loss I’ve put myself through & some days are spent crying for those who have left the rest of us behind to miss them. Luckily though, lately, I am happy more. I smile sometimes. I work tirelessly to put this project I have dreamed of for years together so that we can share it with the world. My dreams are becoming a reality, against all odds & that not only makes me smile, but it makes me happy.

I do not seek happiness. I don’t need to. It comes to me whenever I allow it in.

I wish that for everyone else in the world, to allow happiness in, even if you feel like you’re drowning, you can’t breathe, you can’t scrape yourself off your sofa, you hate your reflection in the mirror, nobody loves you…whatever negative excuse we can all come up with at any given moment….let it go & be happy! Go for a walk. Listen to music & dance, even if you have no rhythm. Sing your favorite song at the top of your lungs, even if it makes the neighborhood dogs sing with you, jump in puddles~no matter your age, dance in the rain. Laugh until you cry. Do it for you & no one else! That is the answer to healing, smiling & finding happiness, at least in my opinion.

=)

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Dirty Laundry

I’ve given this blog post more thought than I have most that have come before it. I made a declaration that I would air all the wrongs I had done to others today, but the more I think on it, the more I don’t feel right about putting all that negativity out into the universe. Would it give me back the power over my own life, knowing that if I type it all out here, no one has anything negative over my head to threaten me with? Yes, but at what cost? The conclusion that I have come to is that I don’t think I am willing to compromise the person I am today by continuing to do nothing but look back over my shoulder. If you are constantly looking backward, you are unable to focus on your path or even see where you are at any given moment.

I did what I said I would do. I wrote down, on paper to the best of my memory, every bad thing I have done to anyone I have hurt in my life. Sadly, the list is a long one. I am not proud of that fact.

There is only one thing that could be considered “wrong” in the eyes of others that I do not regret on that list & that person knows what it is & who they are. Unfortunately, in times of desperation, you do what you have to do in order to get away from & end a toxic relationship. Sometimes you have to do the one thing you know for a fact will cause that person to no longer want anything to do with you. It still sucks, but I did what I had to do.

To those that loved, cared about & trusted me who I have done wrong…I sincerely apologize for taking your kindness & betraying you. There is nothing I can do or say to take back a single bad action in my life. I don’t expect anyone to forgive me for these betrayals, but I must, just as you are, move on & live my life. In the majority of these cases, that life does not & will not be included with those who will not be mentioned, as is best for all involved. Contrary to certain popular belief, I am allowed to do this. I will not end my life to satisfy the grudge of another. I will not dig myself a hole & hide in it. I will do my best every day that I am blessed to open my eyes to make it a better one than the day before. I will continue to follow my dreams & make the project I’ve worked so hard on & put my entire soul into a reality. I will learn to forgive & love myself…again. At the end of the day, all I have is me.

So…my decision is this….

I will not publicly humiliate myself for the pleasure of others. I am not my past actions!

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I’m Still Standing

When we lose someone we love, it feels as though that particular pain will never go away. What we learn along the way is that while the pain never truly goes away, we find a way to accept it as part of our reality. We learn to live with it, we adapt & go on. We have to. Whats the alternative? I can think of a couple, but none that appeal to me.

There are more than one way to lose someone you love. The obvious one is death. That one is final & out of our control. It is also possible to lose loved ones due to mistakes, conflict or from growing apart. These can also be difficult to move past for some.

Lets focus, however, on loss due to death. Before the second week in February of this year I had lost 3 friends to sudden & tragic death. I knew all 3 of these guys for more than 20 years of my life. One was lost as a result of a terrible auto accident that made it onto all 3 major network news programs that day in Detroit. The second passed due to a blood infection he caught from a chemical burn & the last died from a massive heart attack at the age of 44, 24 hours after having surgery to repair his broken ankle. Not a single one feels fair or makes sense…but what untimely death makes sense? I just know I miss them & know that there are plenty of friends who have already passed who can meet them & help them on their journey. I also know that there is some AMAZING music being made in “heaven” right now, if that place exists.

All this death got me to thinking about friends who’ve gone before these 3. I’ve never actually sat down & counted how many of my friends have passed since it started in 1996 with the murder of my buddy Steve, who was gunned down during an attempted car-jacking after a Motorhead concert. I know the number is somewhere in the double digits, but I prefer to remember them individually. They were all unique & beautiful in their own special way. Each gave something to our scene that could never be replaced & will never be forgotten. I do hope to honor my fallen brothers in some way, whether I write a story about it & them or finally follow through on that documentary that I’ve been threatening to film for years now. They deserve to be remembered & celebrated! I’m grateful & lucky to have known every one of these guys, because the color they added to life was breathtaking. 

Sadly, I’ve become a pro at moving on, but it’s what we do, we endure. When I first begin to notice I’m getting through entire days without crying I feel guilty, as if I’m forgetting. The thing is, I’ll never forget, they walk with me every step of my journey, sometimes carrying me along when I’m unable to walk myself.

You see, at a certain point, I remind myself that I’m still alive & I have to get back to the business of living. I’ve got work to do, a life to live, memories to be made….so much to see, to photograph, to write about…people to meet, faces to make smile, cities to live in for a year, lessons to learn, wrongs to right, maybe even lives to change (hopefully for the better)

I admit that I’ve wasted a lot of precious time in my life. That was one of the hardest lessons to learn…that I’m only ripping myself off by doing nothing, by not believing in myself. I’m done with that. I’m excited about everything that lies ahead for me. I look forward to seeing what changes. I am ready for the challenges that lie ahead. I’m lucky, you see, because I’ve got an army of angels surrounding me with love. 

Now, I’ve gotta get outta here….stuff & thangs ;^)

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A love letter to Gilda Radner

gilda-radner

When a child is growing up, they often look up to & hope to have a life similar to their parents, but some kids, the artistic types, find their idols within the arts community. There is one person who I have idolized since the age of 5. That person was & always will be Gilda Radner. I was able to grow up watching this silly, talented & smart girl from Detroit pave the way for those of us to follow her lead. Admittedly, I am not a comedian. I mean, I’m a very funny person, but I can’t do it on purpose, on cue. I admire that ability in those who possess it.

Gilda Susan Radner (June 28, 1946 – May 20, 1989) was an American comedian and actress, best known as one of the original cast members of the NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live, for which she won an Emmy Award in 1978. (stolen from Wikipedia)

As a very young girl, the Not Ready For Prime Time Players came into my life every Saturday night beginning in 1975. I can still vividly remember that very first episode, hosted by the great George Carlin & featuring an odd, but funny Andy Kaufman. It was amazing to my young, sponge-like mind. These skits, these people, these musical artists have stuck with me ever since. Yet, Gilda always stands out to me.

It was obvious to me, even at five years old, that what I was witnessing was revolutionary. Again, Gilda was the driving force of my interest. Judy Miller….yeah I did that in my room, with my robe acting as a princess cape. That was my favorite of all her characters. She was just fearless & full of joy when she was Judy.  She had the courage to be child like, which can be really hard for people to do, but Gilda wasn’t too scared to get out there & be silly.

But, how did Gilda end up on Saturday Night Live anyway? Well, it wasn’t an easy road, she worked harder than I believe she gets credit for. There were many road blocks, including the men in the Improv/Sketch Comedy scene at the time. Some of whom she would eventually work with on SNL.

Growing up a Jewish girl in Detroit, cared for by a nanny she called Dibby, who she was VERY close to, she began her battle with weight at the age of nine, even turning to diet pills at ten years old. Gilda was very close to her father, who passed away when she was 12. He owned & managed the Seville Hotel in Detroit & often took Gilda on trips to New York, where they went to Broadway shows.  These experiences inspired something deep inside of her.

She made her acting debut in Godspell in 1972, while living in Toronto. This ultimately led her to Second City in Toronto, then to National Lampoon & eventually SNL.

I don’t want to turn this into another Wiki page, she already has one. What I would like to accomplish here is something I have never attempted. I want to honor her work & her life, from my eyes.

As a young fan, I followed every step of Gilda’s life & career. From the outside, Saturday Night Live appeared to be a dream job. This was the 70’s however, and drugs were a big part of most peoples lives on the show, but not Gilda. She was a fantastic character actress, with standouts like Roseanne Roseannadanna, Emily Litella, Lisa Loopner & Babwa Wawa.

By 1979, Gilda was appearing in a one woman show on Broadway called “Gilda, Live” It was & still is absolutely brilliant. I watch it often & still laugh. One of my all time characters that she brought to Broadway from SNL was Candy Slice. She would just lose herself in the character. I was so amazed by the level of her talent & the fact that she didn’t seem to be aware of it. I could relate to that.

Candy Slice

What Gilda really wanted in her life was love, marriage & children. This, of course, wasn’t something that was easy to come by for a girl in comedy. She dated co-star Bill Murray & then married G.E. Smith, the musical director for the show.

Then there was Gene.

gene n gilda

Gilda has said that meeting Gene Wilder was “Love at first sight” on the set of Hanky Panky, even though she was still married. She eventually got the man of her dreams. From reading her autobiography, she explains in great detail what she went through to catch him & get him to marry her. I realize that sounds kinda desperate, but it wasn’t, it was true love & she knew it. They were married in 1984 in France. Okay, maybe it was a little desperate, but who cares, the woman knew what she wanted & wasn’t afraid to do whatever it took to achieve her goal. Since her death Gene has written in detail his side of their marriage. It is sometimes surprising, heartbreaking & seemingly narcissistic on his part, but it does give the reader a glimpse into the flawed & insecure woman she sadly was. Despite all that though, Gilda did end up happy & in love with the man of her dreams, even if he was a bit cold emotionally.

Gilda was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after nearly a year of searching for a reason for the severe pain & fatigue she was suffering with. She had always wanted to be a mother & she very openly discusses her struggle to become pregnant in her book. I have read It’s Always Something more times than I can count & like the Wikipedia page I won’t go into a play by play of the text. I will say that her 2 year battle with cancer, the awareness she brought with her fight & her devastating loss to this horrible disease is, much like her career, legendary. After Gilda passed, Gene established the Gilda Radner Ovarian Detection Center at Cedars-Sinai to screen high-risk candidates (such as women of Ashkenazi Jewish descent) and run basic diagnostic tests. Because of her battle with cancer, Gilda is affecting & saving the lives of countless women.  The first Gildas Club opened in 1995, helping provide support for survivors & their families. I have volunteered with Gildas Clubs since the late 90’s, including the first & second Gildas LaughFest in Grand Rapids, MI.I am getting ready to head back there this March.

Gilda will never be forgotten, thanks to the internet & all the wonderful television and film work she has done. She has affected my life in more ways than I can account for in this blog post. She wasn’t perfect. She wasn’t what some considered to be “classically beautiful” (though I think she was very beautiful). What I believe made Gilda so special was her ability to find the funny in every situation, the  way she would just shrug it off & say “It’s always something”. She was talented far beyond her comedy beginnings. She may not have made the best choices in roles, but she based her decisions in her personal happiness. In her private time she struggled a great deal with insecurity & defeatism. In the end though, she left a permanent mark on this world & I am forever grateful.

My greatest hope is that Gilda knew how special, how loved, how amazing she was. She was an icon & I’d like to believe that she will live on by continuing to make people laugh for generations to come.

Thank you Gilda, for making the world brighter with your presence, your humor, your love & your beauty. You changed everything!

Please check out the links to learn more or to relive the memories of Gilda.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilda_Radner

http://gildasclubqc.org/about-us/who-was-gilda/

http://www.amazon.com/Its-Always-Something-Twentieth-Anniversary/dp/1439148864

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Day 1

2013

So it begins…day 1 of a brand new year. Everything has to change in my life, or it’s pointless to carry on like this. I’m done existing. I’m tired of punishing myself for things I can’t change or take back. I’m over hating myself, the way so many others do now. That’s their bag, not mine.

It’s my responsibility to love myself for a change! I’m the only one that will or can. It’s true what they say…no one can love you unless you love yourself. I don’t give a shit about men loving me, I’ve never needed that…but at this point in my life more people hate me than love me & that feels like shit every single day that I open my eyes.

I’m exhausted of this….no more negativity!

~Fin

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On the subject of marriage & children

 

I feel I must preface this post due to the possible backlash from those who may read this the wrong way. This is my bog. They are my stories, my feelings. I am not talking about anyone else specifically unless I say I am!

Why don’t more people decide what would be best for their children before they get pregnant? I’ve never been able to figure that out. It’s as if they just want to spawn, regardless of their personal circumstances, the person they choose to have a child with or their financial situation.

Take a look around almost anywhere you go these days & you’ll see frustrated mothers with kids at every turn. They scream at & beat on them at the grocery store. They allow them to run around outside without shoes, let alone supervision. I’ll never understand people when it comes to their practices of having/raising children or of multiple marriages.

That being said….I haven’t even touched on my issues where these topics are concerned.

When it comes to marriage, mine wasn’t so much a conscious choice as not becoming a mother was. I, like many people in America, come from a broken family, well multiple broken families. My father alone has been married to 4 women. It’s as if he never learned how to date. I do respect his undying belief in love, but come on…4 wives? My mom is a completely different story of choosing the wrong men & I am NOT in the mood to get into that this morning.

So, what I did was purposely date boys/guys/men who either didn’t believe in marriage at all or who had serious commitment & other issues. That way, I knew I would never have to worry about going down that road. Okay, so maybe that’s a cop out. I was completely afraid of marriage, or any serious relationships for that matter. I have never been in a relationship longer than 2 1/2 years. Talk about fear of commitment.

Where having a child is concerned, that story is a little more confusing, a little sadder. I wasn’t that child who dreamed of being a mommy. As I got older though, I did start to think that it would be wonderful, to create a life inside you & then help guide them to become the adult they were meant to be. That being said….the very thought scared me beyond words. Being responsible for another humans life? Shaping & guiding them? Well…..I was sure to screw that up! How could I live with myself knowing that I was responsible for destroying someones life just because they were born of me. I went down that road, but as the child.

As I’ve gotten older, the want to be a mother grew stronger, as did wrong choices in men. Not a single guy I dated would even discuss the idea of having a child. Then again, looking back, I would have been a moron to have a kid with some of those assholes! Once the feeling started inside me, it never actually went away.

Sadly, time makes it more difficult to carry a baby & I’m not really sure I’d want to be that old mom. Besides that, obviously if you read my blog you know, I’m still not in the proper mental state to have a child.

I guess some people just aren’t meant to have children of their own. However, if they’re lucky, they still get to be surrounded by amazing children of other people & make an impact. There may also be the chance to become the step-mom to an amazing boy someday….we’ll see.

 

Nobody’s Wife or Mother & that’s just fine❤

 

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Girl, Interrupted

 

When you fill your time reading multiple books & watching many movies on the subject of loony bins, you run the risk of believing you belong locked inside one. Sometimes you have to be careful to pay attention to the line between reality & fiction. Granted, some of the stories I have read & watched are in fact based on true stories, which makes it that much more frightening in my anxiety & depression filled mind.
Recently, I have watched Girl, Interrupted repeatedly. If you ask me why, my answer would be one of uncertainty. It just feels like something I want & need in my life. I also love the story & the acting. What I love the most about the story though, is that it is adapted from the story of Susanna Kaysen. The more I read about her, the more fascinated I become with her. It took her into the 90’s to release Girl, Interrupted, even though the story actually happened in the late 60’s. That gives me a great deal of hope in regards to having my book published once I have it finished.
That’s the problem, isn’t it? My finishing it. I have given that a great deal of thought recently. What I have come up with is the fact that many of the stories I am reliving in the retelling were so painful the 1st time, I’m beginning to feel the same pain during the writing process. This is a contributing factor to my worsening depression. That being said, I will not stop writing. I will not give up my dream, even if I am aware that the cards are stacked against me. The literary world is not an easy one to break into these days.
I’m working on getting out of my way. It’s not easy, but if I’ve survived myself this long, I should be able to do anything!

 

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