Sunday, June 20, 2010

You Can Get To The Other Side


When I started this blog is was because in a matter of months my cousin was murdered, I broke up with my boyfriend, I lost my job and my Mom... she lost her mind. Not the medical term for what happened but it will do.

I laid in bed for months. The loss of the job was somewhat of a relief since I was a comedy writer working on a TV show and I had now lost all ability to be funny. I could see my life that I knew disappearing before me. I was disappearing too. How could I ever emerge without being completely damaged? I didn't want to die but I knew this was not living.

Every one in the damn world said I should read "Eat Pray Love." "She's going through exactly what you're going through." Um, no she's not. She's getting divorced, my family's preparing for a trial.

But there was that damn book. Everywhere. In the airport on the way to the funeral. Women devouring it in a coffee shop, at cafes, in hotel bars. I realized what might be stopping me was my own stubbornness. I was in the mind set that things COULD NEVER GET BETTER. And I resented that anyone was going to to tell me I could get on the other side and make me pay $14.95 for it.

No, there was just this side. Imagine a nightmare where you are standing in quick sand as your drown in a tsunami of guilt, pain, anger, depression and hopelessness. Times it by 100. And I'm just the cousin. You can imagine how my surviving cousin and aunt and uncle felt. Times it by a 1000.

But that book, it was just so constantly in my face. And one say... I bought it. At Goodwill for 2 bucks. So score 1 for me, Elizabeth Gilbert, 0. I read it, I got it. I got why everyone loved it. It's hope between to card board covers.

But it would never work, not for me, not for most women. It sold what, 4 million copies? How many of those 4 million took a year and a half out of their jobs and left their families to travel to three countries to find themselves?

Now before you and your book club come and beat me with your Eat Pray Love hardcover, autographed editions, know this: I admired her. Because she got what most of us women feel - we are in a rut. We are bored, overwhelmed, over worked, over parenting. We've lost our spark. We've lost ourselves but we are too crazed to do anything about it. We have looked up and said, "How is this our lives?"

But most of all I admired her because SHE TOOK ACTION. I like that. She identified her problem and she decided to take time to fix it.

But it still made me feel empty. EMPTY. Is that the only solution? Will I only get over this despondent sadness by spending tens of thousands of dollars, leaving any possibility of work to travel the world? I mean, at this point, I can't even get out of bed.

But I took her example of TAKING ACTION. How can I get out of bed? Okay, what if I thought of one really fun thing I could do. Something I have never done before (paddle board, sing in a rock band, ride and elephant) things that I'd given up doing because "I'm an adult now" (get pink hair) and things that just scared the crap out of me (literally, THE CRAP) (jump out of an airplane, be in a roller derby).

Okay... okay, one fun thing a week. That will take what? Two hours and then I can go back to bed? Done. I'll do it.

Now, I "Eat Pray Love" without leaving my city, without leaving my job, without spending tens of thousands of dollars. I made a list of adventures. I put them on index cards, folded them up and put them in a bowl. Each week, I pull one having no idea if that day I'm crashing a Bat Mitzvah, taking a beer making class or learning how to surf.

And it is thrilling and exhilarating and life like I didn't know. Or I knew it but I had moved so far past that happy-go-lucky be spontaneous and love it girl, that I some how forgot. To live. This one life. That is so challenging. And there are so many times, I just want to do errands, or call the cable company and yell or cross one thing off my list BUT I DON'T.

I go. I pool crash. I ride Ferris wheels. I go to a sewing class.

Because it's beyond the adventure - IT'S WHAT I GET FROM IT. Strength, energy, confidence. If you take something you never thought you could do, for me it was trapeze lessons, you will FEEL so STRONG AND BOLD AND FEARLESS that the next time you are faced with something you have purported that you'd never be able to do - you know have the confidence that you can.

It's also put me on the other side of grief and sadness. It's made me feel happy again and positive and hopeful. And a month ago, when I felt like I was slipping back to the other side, I knew it was because I had slacked on the promise I made to myself to do an adventure once a week.

So here I am again. When I found out my cousin had brain cancer a month ago, I had a shocking revelation that had I been confronted with how I'd lived my life so far - I would not be happy. I would be disappointed that I had played it safe, worried to much, didn't take enough risks, didn't have enough fun.

I reinstated the adventures because I NEVER need to be where I was after my cousin died. I need to be over here. On the this side. The other side.

I'm hoping that in doing what I am doing, I will be in the happiest, most clear head and I can make a decision of a lifetime... to move to New York and start a new business. The fear is palpable. But the fear was possible when I climbed up the trapeze ladder... and stood on the platform... and had to grab onto that rope thing-y.

But then... I leaped.

AWESOME.

Come join me on the other side. Whether it's a break-up, divorce, loss of a job, illness or loss... you can get to the other side. I promise.

***
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33 comments:

St. Louis said...

This is such a moving post. I always read, never comment but this touched me so much. I get every word you wrote, I'm living it and feeling confused about how to change it. But at least I can keep reading. Thank you so much/

simone said...

oooo brave brave brave! and bravo to you.

I am standing at the foot of a bridge wondering if I should walk around and cross it, thanks for this timely post on being happy.

xxoo

Alison said...

Awesome plan! I've got to get one.. Is there somewhere that you post a list of all your Adventure Bowl ideas?

Jennifer said...

I love the fishbowl idea! I think I shall incorporate something similar in my house as my husband and I both battle with depression. This will give us something to look forward to, and (hopefully) help to pull us out of our funk. THANK YOU!!

Jenna said...

Lead the way, I need this so bad right now. I feel like you are encouraging me from the screen. Can't wait to read more.

Jen said...

That is an awesome post. I love the adventure idea. :) You write so beautifully.

Nikki said...

Hell to the yes. Always, ALWAYS face that fear!

And yes, there is another art show & I would LOVE to meet you in person! It's tomorrow (tuesday) at the Magic Castle, 5pm-12am (come anytime during that period) and you can find all the details (dress code etc) here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=110513382327889&ref=ts

Renee said...

This is so inspiring, damn, I felt the same way about "Eat Pray Love.!" I love your blog, it really makes me feel so much less alone with all the s%$t life throws you. You have a new fan in me.

adventure grrl said...

Thank you everyone for your amazing comments. Simone, I'm right here, reaching for you. Allison, I will post in the next few days. Jennifer, how sweet, I love that it is inspiring you and maybe can help you and hubby. St. Louis, Jenna, Jen, Nikki and Renee, thank you for taking the time to comment, it really means so much to me!

Classy Fab Sarah said...

This made me cry. So awesome.

You go girl!

Melissa said...

So beautifully written, I posted this on Facebook and hope all my girlfriends will read. Thank you.

hope n laughter said...

1. Keep writing, I've missed your post and I'm glad that your still kickin' and screamin'.
2. You write what I'm thinking, but in a much more intresting way.
3. Feel that you and the Eat, Pray, Love are the same, except with you I get to experince your journey with you.

the baker said...

Hey there:)
just flagging that i dropped by. lovely, beautiful, heartfelt words.

thanks.

Theresa said...

Probably one of the most deeply moving pieces I have read. I have my foot planted on both sides but I see you now and I'm reaching towards to, wise girl.

Jamie said...

Thank you so much for writing this and sharing it. I love this post so much!!! An ADVENTURE REVOLUTION!!! I love it so much!! My "saying" is "Create Adventure. Live Inspired." I even have it tattooed on my back. I'm so in!!! You are changing lives and touching people's hearts. You are making a difference!! I love it! Big hugs to you! xo

Laurel said...

So beautiful. I'm really excited to get going and this has come at the perfect time in my very unperfect life.

Kristen said...

You.Are.Awesome.

AubreyMo said...

UM.

You did that trapezey thing?! Okay. That tops my fear of clowns, right there and then.

One of my major fears was flying - but for my boyfriends birthday I chartered a helicopter and we went flying over Salt Lake City. It was terrifying, and absolutely liberating.

I think there's good take aways from any book - but it's not someones place to tell you that it'll help you. Someone told me to feel happy and successful I needed to buy "the secret". I did. Do you want to know what happened? I read two pages and set it on my shelf, and there it sits - collecting dust.

You seriously inspired me to try new things. I hope you reach NY some day :)

Mary said...

Oh. Mah. Gah. While I have not had to deal with such trauma/drama as you, I have felt like I wanted to spend *at least* 100 days in bed. I think we "met" at the #wineparty last week, and now I know why. You very well may be my new hero. I just subscribed to your blog, and have to go back to read from the beginning (it's what I do. It's a thing...) but with posts like this, I believe your courage will make me stronger.

P.S. I *love* EPL. I totally want to live her year. But your way is more financially achievable. Plus they had to ruin the movie with the casting. UGH! So, I'm off to think up adventures. I'll be back soon. :)

Eliza said...

Good for you, keep going for it, this post is so moving and just what I needed to hear today. Haven't been ready for change but I'm getting there!

Hoppalong said...

This is just what I've been needing...I've been stepping out of my comfort zone in my head for a while now...But now it's time to leap into action, to take the actions in my head to the other side too...I want to LMAO and to live...I don't know how much time I have, but while I feel good and c free...I need some adventure...Maybe I'll just take that camper van trip to Mexico with my friends next year...heck if nothing else the weather will be warmer...That should make me very happy!

Love you...Love your amazing post

Jennifer H said...

Brillant. Beautiful. I would love to post this link on my blog! I have just hit a wall I have never hit before...and you sum it up all very well. And have given me hope. Why else would I do somethiing I never do....surf CSL and come across this when I woke at 2am and for some outlandish, non thinking reason, opened my computer? I needed this. I get this. BRILLIANT I say and tomorrow looks easier......thx. From someone unused to depression....and yet finds herself in it from one too many stressful events of my life coming to a head at once (I have been saying Michael Moore could just make a film about my life and get all his topics hit in one movie).....I am using this idea. I can feel something inside, the childlike wonder of life of me, stir in excitement, instead of just seeing the the overbearing responsibilities I feel exhausted juggling in front of me (I can't go on some large world tour to totaly shake this) I CAN do one thing a week.......... Thank you, thank you, thank you. Week One, Day 1 .....

prettyneato said...

I liked the book because it showed me that there are people who are braver than I am. I am too much a big, fat, sissy waiting for something to happen instead of making it happen.

I'm excited to hear more adventures from you, too ... maybe you'll get me off my ass.

adventure grrl said...

You guys, I am BLOWN AWAY by these comments to say the least. Many have made me cry but the good kind of crying but most of all they have made me inspired. Stay with me ladies, we're gonna turn this muther out. (Okay, I am too excitable by A LOT of coffee). I mean, we are going to make our lives awesome, one little adventure at a time.

PS, I will post my adventures (the ones in the bowl tomorrow, many have asked for it! xoxoxo)

Domestic Chicky said...

I am making my list NOW - you are making me realize what I didn't know I was missing - in a good way :)

INSPIRATION? You are it...

I love the idea of posting the list/other's lists somewhere.

RFM said...

I have just fallen in love with @100daysinbed Pretty sure this is now my all time favorite blog and has NOTHING to do with food! LOVE IT! :)

SweetPea said...

Hi! Following you on Twitter also :) Good to see your blog up/running!

CurlyTop said...

I have been passing the word about ur blog & love what I am reading! Hope & humor & heartache so well blended! Thank you

Elizabeth Kaylene (elizawhat.com) said...

That idea is really kickass. I think I'll do my own adventure bowl!

I'm not reading the book, though. (;

dreamgypsie said...

I could not have found you and this blog at a better time. (Thank you divine being/s that are smarter than me...(hopefully))
My sadness it not the same as yours but I am there. Sitting in that the world hates me I'm going to die alone, how did this become my life place. Thinking about giving up the ghost and becoming a real life lifetime movie. (complete with support hose and romance novels)
Thank you for sharing your story.

Krista said...

I'm in awe right now. It's taken me 24 hrs to respond and it's still not going to make sense. I can't believe i'm not alone. There are others at the bottom of this miserable, painful, dark, pit. And there is hope to see light again. Thank you God for allowing me to find your blog last while driving home during a 17 hr trip. Somewhere near Buffalo,I found a friend in the darkness.

adventure grrl said...

Me + Tissue Box = Reading Your Comments.

I haven't felt this much love in a long time. Speechless, and that is a real rarity for me.

I love you all.

Quinn Hay said...

Thanks for commented on my boring blog :). You are truly the inspiration. I have been reading through some of your blogs and I absolutely love it. You really make me want to up my game and challenge myself even more than I already do! Thanks for the push!