Sunday, June 27, 2010
I just did this questionaire for http://inspiredmess.blogspot.com and she's going to turn it into some kind of dazzling piece for her website.
Thank God because I haven't even had my second cup of coffee so Lord knows if it makes any sense. Yes, I know it's long. BUT I'M WORTH IT.
I just thought, if you're new, maybe I'd post it here, until her piece comes out.
1. Can you briefly share your story with us?
I'm a comedy writer living in LA who just thought she was living the dream. I had the most fabulous job in the world, literally, a dream job that you can't even imagine you'd ever have because you never could dream that big. I had a boyfriend, financial security (had just bought my first house) and my family was happy and healthy. And I was skinny too!
And then in a matter of months, it all went away. My boyfriend and I broke up, my cousin was murdered, I lost my job and had to move renters in my house and my Mom had a nervous breakdown. I got under the covers. Deep. I was so depressed... at this point, I wasn't even thinking about it ALL and how it ALL changed so fast. I was just deeply, deeply devastated at losing my cousin.
Two years later, I was still in the same place. No job, had gained a lot of weight. Depressed, isolating, feeling like a giant failure. If your job is to be funny but your life is the EXACT opposite of funny - it's going to be hard to be successful at it.
Plus, I didn't care. i didn't care about anything.
My cousin's second anniversary of death was coming around and I was just lost at sea. I started thinking about how he might see me. (I'm Catholic so yeah, I think about this stuff, like how he might literally see me from heaven.)
I thought he would not be proud of me that all I do is lay under the covers all day and be sad. I knew he would want a better life for me. To live a life that he had taken away. It also struck me that his brother and his father had made great strides in their grieving and I couldn't even get out of bed.
So that's why I started the blog. i saw it as a documentation of trying to piece my life back and maybe if someone was watching, I would have to be accountable and stick with it.
2. What made you want to start blogging? Have you always been a blogger?
So I think I answered this at the end of question 1, but please let me know if I can elaborate. I will say I have journaled since I was 12. Always writing down my thoughts and feelings. I feel like that was definitely a stepping stone with not only blogging but being okay with being REALLY real and raw and honest in my blogging because I just saw it as an extension of journaling.
But what also made me wanted to start blogging is because EVERY ONE in the world said I should read Eat Pray Love and that was going to magically transport me out of my depression. When I read it, I felt both thrilled and angered by it at the same time. I was happy for her, I was happy for whoever read it and was inspired by it. But for me, there was no way I could travel around the world for a year and a half and visit 3 countries as a way to find myself. I COULDN'T EVEN GET OUT OF BED. But I liked that she took action. So that nugget stayed with me, "Take action." Take action to get out of my depression. Okay, I'll do that.
3. How did you get the idea for the bowl of adventures?
The idea for the adventures came from, let's say six years ago. I was dating someone and the relationship was falling apart. Let me define that - I was still totally into him but he was calling the shots. Ladies, please note: if a guy doesn't want to spend time with you on the weekends, please take that as a cue that it's over.
Anyway, because my job was to be a funny writer lady and be upbeat, I could kind of hold it together all week and not really think about my disintegrating relationship. But on the weekends, I was just in the abyss, missing him, wondering what had gone wrong. Were we together, were we not?
I realized I was wasting away the person I used to be worrying about this relationship that obviously, was not bringing out the best qualities in me. So to make the weekends go by faster, I would read the LA Weekly which is a huge guide to what is going on that week in LA. i would rip out every single fun thing I wanted to do. An art gallery, a band, a wine tasting, this funky space where people made T-shirts while a DJ spinned.
It was a way to reclaim who I was and who I lost through this relationship. I used to keep all these ripped out articles in a bowl and then pull them out through the weekend. If I couldn't go to one, it would stay in the bowl to choose for another time. I started nick naming it "the adventure bowl" and there it was born.
4. What's your favorite adventure that you've been on so far?
I think pool crashing. See, every adventure is not just about the adventure but a larger thing. Pool crashing was about me stepping out of my regular self. The day I pool crashed, I was not just sweet and polite and obeying the rules. Or scared or taking no for an answer. I was daring and bold and persistent. I took something that seemed to be impossible - getting to a roof top pool at an exclusive hotel, on Memorial day, with security guards and wrist bands and a huge line and guest lists and still made it happen.
5. What's your scariest/most intimidating adventure that you've had to do so far?
I haven't had one yet but I recently put in ones like "Show up to the airport and get on a plane" or "get a nose ring." For both of those, I am trying to face something. Be more spontaneous, step out of conformity, remember who you were. So I think those will be intimidating and for the nose ring, I mean, come on, that's just going to hurt.
6. What's your favorite blog post that you've written? Which blog post has gotten the most reaction from your readers?
The biggest reaction might have been a post I wrote called "You Are Not Alone." I have a sitemeter hooked up to my blog where I can see how long people have read, what site brought them to me or what key words they searched to find me. I was looking at this one night and I saw a young girl's key words had been, "I AM SO FAT NO ONE WILL EVER LOVE ME."
I was devastated to read this and I wrote a post, not just to the readers but really directly to her about my whole life of weight obsessions and diets and being brutal to myself and how looking back now, I lost so much of my life to worrying and obsessing about weight. And all I wanted to do was save her from that. but also tell her she was not alone.
I encouraged her to love her body, get awesome friends, write in her journal, have fun, eat red velvet cup cakes but do not, do not lose your youth to obsessing about weight. And people REALLY responded to that. I was floored and really, really touched. Especially because I had never told any of my friends about my weight struggles and all of the garbage that goes through my head about weight and body image... and I knew that might read that. but I didn't care.
And I think readers really respond to honesty and realness.
7. What's the most significant way that your life has changed in the last two years?
A year ago I fell down a hill, maybe 60, 70 feet. My head hit a retaining wall and I was knocked unconscious. The woman who found me called 911 and thought I was dead. I broke a bone in my arm, dislocated my shoulder, needed staples in my head, stitches in my elbow, a year of physical therapy, surgery and sustained a head injury.
That's what brought me back to the blog. That and hearing my cousin had brain cancer. I had taken a year and a half off the blog and my life was heading back to a "get under the covers again" state. Then those things happened. I realized I needed the life line that the adventure bowl and blogging brought me the first time around.
So that is the biggest change for me. How do you live your life after you've faced your mortality? Do you ignore it because it scared you? Or do you live by the promise you made to yourself, to live the best life ever because it was almost taken away. It sounds like an obvious answer but I still struggle with it.
8. What inspires you?
Readers comments inspire me. They make me cry, think, laugh. When they say I inspire them, I lose my mind. Because it seems unreal that I was in such a desperate place not so long ago. What also inspires me is the reminder I keep getting that life is fragile and short and meant to be lived.
9. What five words would you use to describe yourself?'
1) unconventional 2) searcher 3) sensitive 4) funny, oh, my god, i hope funny 5) persistent ( or trying to be)
10. What would you say to somebody going thru one of life's trials right now?
"You can get to the other side." If someone is really depressed and reading that, it will be meaningless. That's how tight depression's grip can be. So I would say - go take a shower, then walk five minutes in the sunshine, then buy yourself some flowers. Did you do that? okay, now listen to me. "You can get to the other side." It is REALLY REALLY hard work but it beats the hell out of staying in bed or staying on the side lines of life.
Journal, wrote all your sad scary feelings down. You have to get the feelings out to ever replace the hole with good things and feelings. Can you get therapy? GO. I went. It feels good to surrender. To have someone listen. To say you are not alone. it's not always going to be like this. here are some baby steps you can make to make your life feel better.
Reach out. tell a friend. Depression is the biggest secret women are keeping from each other. Depression is like this dirty word that no one talks about but almost all are feeling at one time or another, either on a small scale or a huge scale. You are not alone.
11. What are you most looking forward to in the future?
To me, I have discovered, through my cousin's death, my accident, my mother's and cousin's illness - the secret to life is HAPPINESS. Now the happiness is the hard work - you have to keep working at it. So that's what I am most looking forward to - being happy, laughing. Letting go of stress and worry and fear and things that do not matter and do not serve me. Specifically, I would like to travel, spend more time with my family and if I could, spread this message around more to people who need it.
12. Do you have a favorite quote?
I don't have a favorite quote, per say, but I saw this one the other day and posted it on my blog: "Kiss your life. Accept it, just as it is. Today. Now.
So that those moments of happiness you’re waiting
for don’t pass you by."
You know what? That's pretty good, I think that is my favorite quote.