It's been a weird week, to say the least, on many fronts. Sad things, scary things, unfuckingbelievable things...it's a lot to process.
Kate Spade, gone, then, Anthony Bourdain. The first was heartbreaking, the second gut wrenching. We'll never know what demons people are battling. We'll never understand what drives a person to decide that they cannot make it through another moment. What we do know is that fame and fortune are not the keys to happiness. What we also know is that abject poverty and isolation aren't much of a recipe for joy, either.
It's easy to stand on the outside of someone's life and make judgments. Even people we know, intimately, are still a mystery. For some people, choosing joy is not a possibility. They're not wired for it. No amount of external affirmation can change that. Medication may dull the sharp edges, but it isn't going to fix what's broken and often it makes it worse. That's self medication and pharmaceutical medication. It's hard to understand if you're not wired that way. I am not wired that way. I used to think suicide was a selfish act, but now I think that was misguided thinking. I have enough to do navigating my own life. Ultimately, it's none of my business. Who am I to judge? I wish everyone love. Unconditional love. Period.
"And when no hope was left in sight, on that starry, starry night. You took your life as lovers often do. But I could have told you, Vincent, this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you." Don McClean
Speaking of judging and the pitfalls of even quasi-pseudo marginal fame, yesterday I got my first one star review for the new book. Woot. This was not a shocker. It's inevitable. I'm surprised it took this long. You're never, ever going to be everybody's favorite flavor. I've written 8 books, appeared on TV, performed in plays, fronted bands, written blog posts, designed DIY projects. I've been praised and panned and occasionally eviscerated. I'm going to be honest here, nobody likes being panned. I'm no exception. It hurts, but you process it and then you let it go. It's not personal, and that's the bottom line. Nothing's personal, unless you give it that power.
Someone got personal on my social media post about this one star review yesterday, which was bizarre and disappointing. I had a detached reaction to this person's escalating comments, almost as if I was watching it from a distance and not actually participating in it. It's so weird to me when people come out of left field with some long standing animosity. Where did that come from? What?
I am not forcing anyone to stay connected. If you don't like me, grab your coat and hit the road. No hard feelings, unless you take a crap on the veranda on the way out. I mean, really, people. What's up with that?! Keep that shit to yourself.
As for one star reviews, I come from the 'if you don't have anything nice to say, say nothing' school of thought. No one forces you to read a book, watch a film or TV show, read a blog post, or listen to a song. I realize, in this nasty, mean spirited, ugly age when civility is rapidly plummeting into extinction, saying nothing instead of saying something snarky is not the norm. I also realize that the internet has given everyone with a keyboard a platform and a feeling of power. We all get to choose what we do with that power. If someone took the time to create something, I applaud them. I may not love what they've created, but I don't have to dismiss or demean it. They don't owe me anything.
You can make someone's day or break their heart with a few strokes of your keyboard. You choose to lift them up, or tear them down. I prefer rising tides to anchors.
That's how I feel about that.
In other news, there was the small cloud hovering over me after the miserable mammogram. I got a call just as I was heading to the first day of Book Expo from my doctor. They needed a follow up. Something was wrong, but I was in the middle of Times Square, so it was hard to understand them. Even though I knew that it was probably not a big deal, there was still that nagging thing in the back of my brain wondering if it might actually be a big deal. That stayed with me through the weekend and lingered until Tuesday when it was confirmed that I'm fine after the painful ultrasound. Ouch.
Then came the news that the DOJ is taking a hatchet to pre-existing conditions in another effort to kill the ACA. The fear of losing my health insurance is palpable. I was denied insurance for several years because of my asthma, even though I never go to the ER and I only see my specialist twice a year. It doesn't matter. I have a Scarlet A on my chart. It's lurking around the periphery. Having access to affordable healthcare should not be a partisan issue.
Speaking of asthma, breathing is not overrated, folks. Sleep is also not overrated. Damn it, pollen, why you gotta be so prolific and persistent? Snork.
So yes, it's been a weird week. Yet, oddly, as I head into the weekend, I feel hopeful. No matter how hard a week or a day or a moment, it will pass. As long as I'm still here, still standing, still able to fight the good fight, I can shift the sails and head into new horizons. You get that upon which you focus. On the bright side, my book has scads of lovely reviews! My boobs are cancer free! I have a supportive and wonderful circle of uplifting people in my life! I'm making serious progress on a new manuscript! I still have health insurance! I'm still breathing! There are chipmunks spramping about outside of my office door! Right there! Chipmunks!
Who can be sad around chipmunks?
Life is large, my friends. I wish you love, light, and joy. If you feel lost and alone and adrift, know that you are not alone. We're in this together. I see you, I hear you, and I believe in you.