Category Archives: Blogging

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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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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If you lived here, you’d be home by now

Here is a statement I have spent a lot of time pondering lately. Since April I have found myself without a home, but in all honesty that reality stretches back months before.

The last time I remember feeling really truly “at home” was at my sub-leased apartment in Los Angeles. It was also the last time I lived alone. It’s coming up on a year since I left there to return here to my supposed support system.

As soon as I moved back to Michigan I was living in someone elses house. They did, at times, their best to make me feel it was my home as well. Sometimes it did, but not often. Mostly, they treated me like a troubled teen & they were my foster parents. The disturbing fact about this is that they are my age. I love how people use your mistakes to make themselves feel better about their empty or somehow unfulfilled lives. I’ve already told the story of how my time ended there, no need to dredge it back up again.

Then onto the farm, which I have also written about. This is the place where my life nearly ended, by my own choice. As I stared at that bottle of Oxys, thinking about how many it would take to get the job done right, I also thought about Heather & what not only losing me would do to her, but the knowledge that I used her pills to end my life. That is what kept me from going through with it. That was also the only real opportunity I’ve had to end my life by going to sleep & never waking up. What can I say, I’m a pussy. I can’t end my life in violence. I can’t slit my wrists. I can’t shoot myself. I can’t hang or drown myself. This might have something to do with the fact that I actually don’t want to die. I just want a way out of this sinkhole I’ve gotten myself stuck in.

There is no one to blame but me. Sure, people have wronged me & I them. That’s not the point. I’m in charge of me, or supposed to be anyway. I did this. I am the only one who can undo it. Now I just have to figure out how.

Right, I digress, back to the farm. I spent 2 months at this place & slid further into the darkness every day that I was there. It’s easy to do that there. It’s a sad place full of broken people going around in circles. It was the perfect place for me to lose myself. I just didn’t deal with any of my problems, dug the holes deeper & swallowed pills to numb any semblance of emotion. Every day was exactly the same. Sleep 12-14 hours, thanks to the pills. Otherwise I wouldn’t have slept at all. This is also the time that my eating habits became sporadic. I existed on Dr. Pepper & onion bagels.  I have never cared less about anything in my life as I did during that period. I would go 5-7 days without showering. What was the point? Then one day I had to come down to Detroit for an event I was supposed to work.

I needed somewhere to stay over the weekend, so I didn’t have to drive the 60 miles between the farm & Detroit. So I called a guy I used to be able to rely on. He abruptly blew me off, leaving me hanging & stuck. I laid in my car for an hour or so, contemplating whether or not I should contact my friend who lives down here. We have kept in touch, but had not seen much of each other in the years since I had moved away from Detroit. I felt a great deal of guilt as I text her, but the panic I felt at the thought of sleeping in my car in Detroit outweighed the worry of asking her. It was only for the weekend, so it couldn’t be that bad, right? WRONG!

2 days has turned into 2 months & I have become a blob of self-pity, depression & burden on my friends who are also going through very difficult transitional periods in their life, yet still manage to take care of their responsibilities on a daily basis. It fills me with shame & heightens the self-pity. I don’t stack up. I am the giant wart on the thumb of this house. I feel it every moment of every day, unless I have managed to find a way to keep myself busy, doing anything.

When I came here & the initial discussions were that I could stay here while I got myself together, that when I got some money coming in I would contribute. Due to my frozen state, that has yet to happen & I feel the time for me to leave is growing nearer by the minute, rather than the hour. This week is the 1st time I’ve really made a concerted effort to change my circumstances. I am doing it for me, first & foremost yes, but at the same time, because of what these beautiful women have done for & put up with from me, I want to do it for them as well. I want to see in me what they do….SO badly!

So, for today, as I sit on the back porch of this home I’ve grown to love, the only thing I can think to say is….If I lived here, I’d be home by now.

Stay tuned for tomorrows installment. Who knows, it may even be a vlog lol

❤ to all who follow & care!

You don’t know what it means to me, this growing group of people showing an interest in my disaster of a life.

Thank you

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Back to dailys

I’ve decided once again to make this a daily blog. It has helped me so much in the past & I want more than anything to snap out of & wake up from this mess I’ve made of my life once again.
A lil preview of tomorrows installment….
If you lived here, you’d be home by now

I’m also toying with the idea of occassional vlogs…just a thought

Until tomorrow folks…sweet dreams

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August 20th leaves a paradox in my heart

August 20, 2005

I lost my dear friend Eric on this day after a hard-fought 20 year battle with drugs. My heart broke that day & most days since, at least a bit, due to the hole his loss left.

August 20, 2011

This is the date of my baby sisters wedding. A day full of love, happiness, joy, laughter & dancing…yet somewhere, in the back of my mind, I can feel the heartache of the previous experience I’ve had with this date.

I start to question myself the week before the wedding. “Why are you feeling such a strong sense of grief now when you should be so excited, so happy?”  The only clear-cut answer I have to this question has to do with Eric’s daughter appearing my life mere weeks before the wedding, bringing up feelings I had long since buried. Suddenly, I was filled with anguish, pain & grief not felt since his loss. It was as if I reliving that day all over again.

Odd how such beauty can come out of sadness. I’ve never been able to understand this strange brew. All I know is that having my friend’s daughter in my life, to share stories with, to stare at her face when I miss him, to watch her as she learns more about him & looks for any sign that he is in her, the daddy she never knew.

He always loved her. He carried a picture of her in his wallet until the day he died. He never got over the fact that he was not in her life. None of this helps her fill that gaping hole inside her own heart, but day by day, story by story, I watch her get to know Eric a little more. She falls more in love with him & it is beyond words.

Who knows, maybe this is my way of honoring him, by sharing this experience with her. So be it.

Luckily, I was able to find a balance between celebration & grief, at least for a day. The wedding was beautiful, it was magic, it was love. I will smile when I think of that day, my sisters dress, her vows, the photo booth, the dancing…the love

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Home Sweet Home

It’s an amazing thing, how desperate, lost, alone & scared a person can feel when they’re separated by distance from their loved ones, all that they know, what they grew up with, their support system, their comfort zone. It is a brave & passionately driven person, or a fool, that takes this leap of faith. I am one of those people. I have yet to figure out if I’m the brave one or the fool. Maybe I’m a bit of both, who knows.

Last week I wasn’t sure, once again, how I was going to survive the day. Today I find myself on a 5 day layover in my hometown of Detroit, before beginning a month-long program in Washington, DC. It boggles my mind how quickly things change. I don’t know why it still boggles my mind, as it’s happened SO many times during my life, that one would think I’d be used to it by know. Well….I’m not!

The main thing I’ve noticed since I arrived late last night is that the heavy weight on my chest, the constant state of panic & fear I had lived in, the utter solitude & sadness that brought up in me….is gone. I’m home. I’m surrounded in every direction by love. I have so many people who want to share time with me while I’m here that I unfortunately don’t have enough time to accommodate all of them, unless I was to group some of them together in one place. I’m not sure if that’s possible, but I’m willing to try.

At the same time, that in itself is overwhelming to me. I’m tired, run out, worn out, slightly broken from all that I’ve gone through in the past months. In a way, I just want to rest. Reading that last sentence, it makes me shake my head. Isn’t that what I’ve done for weeks now? Months? Why would I want to continue that behavior when I’m surrounded in love? I need to recharge, let those who know & love me remind me of who & what I really am, as opposed to what I believe I’ve become. This could be extremely healthy for me in moving forward on my visions, my goals, my dreams, my need to create something for myself that will fulfill the want in me to be & do something great, whatever that may be.

There is one aspect of Detroit, of home, that tears at my heart. There is someone, a person who has owned the real estate in my heart since the day I met him. No matter what we do, where our paths take us in life, we always gravitate back to each other. What I wouldn’t give to have this person as my life long partner in crime. What wouldn’t I do? I have never stopped loving him. In fact, I don’t believe I’ve even ever fallen out of love with him. Things are complicated, but I’m willing to do what is needed to see our lives come back together, so we may enjoy the rest of our time on this spinning rock together. I guess I accepted years ago that it may not be a possibility, yet, if that were truly the case, would the universe continue to bring us back into each others orbit repeatedly? I don’t find it possible the universe could be so cruel as to dangle my one true love in my face over & over again, just to taunt & hurt me. I feel there is something greater at work. I feel that we’re being told that it is in each other that we will find our comfort, our partner, our home. If only he would see that this is the case & take, once & for all, that giant leap of faith needed to make this our permanent reality. I’ve done & said all that I have in me to let him know that if he took the chance, he would not be disappointed. It’s on him now to decide if he is strong enough to make this come true.

I hope he does!

If he doesn’t & this love affair never sees itself rekindled, I will endure. I have managed to make it this far, I can make a life for myself without the man. I just know that my heart wants him to be beside me through this adventure. But if he chooses not to take that journey with me, I’m still going to take it & he will always own a large piece in my heart.

Okay, I’m off to sleep. I need to rest up for 5 day long love fest that lays before me. How lucky am I?

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