I’m going to drop a little truth bomb on you: I love TV. I missed out on a lot of amazing things during all those years I was pretending to not watch TV because that’s what I was supposed to do. Along with avoiding all things from China, not eating any grains, and folding the laundry the minute the dryer stops, this whole “I don’t watch tv” thing was short lived. While I am not of the generation that remembers getting their first television, I damn well remember the first time there was a remote control in my house and let me tell you, I’m certain that the person who was bartending at the happy hour show I attended today wasn’t even born yet.
So, yeah, 5 billion channels with the push of a button sort of blows my mind.
One of the great shows I missed out on the first time around is 6 Feet Under. Y’all. Seriously. This show is unbelievably amazing! While I normally binge myself into a coma with shows I love, this one is taking me a loooooooooong time. It’s intense. I don’t know if it’s like that for everyone or if it’s hitting me with a different force because of the whole dead husband thing, but it …. well, it’s something.
In one of the first few episodes, the matriarch of the family, a brand spanking, still shiny, newly minted widow, tells someone about the affair she had been having for 2 years when her husband died unexpectedly. She never told him. She continues to freak out because “Now he knows! NOW HE KNOWS! He knows everything!”
Yep. He’s a know it all, I thought. And then I froze in my tracks. That’s pretty fucking heavy shit.
I don’t think anyone has ever lost a loved one (to death or distance or disassociation or disco) who didn’t have at least one thing they wish they had done with, said to, asked the person they lost. Here is the place where you are expecting me to get all philosophical and motivational poster-like and say something completely assholish like “Life is short – say it NOW before it’s too late.” Yeah, no. I’m not going to do that. I’m going to tell you to stop wasting your brain wrinkles on any of that garbage. Save your brain space for figuring out how to get that tiny line of dirt to get in the dust pan with the rest of the stuff you just swept up off the floor. Work on that because, while it won’t eventually figure it out on it’s own, the person you lost will. If that person isn’t dead, don’t stress about it – just tell them when you get around to it. And if you don’t, don’t worry about it because everyone dies and, when that person dies, that person will know. Yes, of course it’s important to tell people you’re sorry and that you love them and that you want your slate clean. Do those things if you can. Or not. Either way, eventually we are all going to become know it alls. (send hate mail to sorrynotsorry at myblog dot com)
My mind kept chewing on this. I hadn’t realized how much I had been lugging around the weight of what I should have could have would have said done and thought. I’d been dragging it, hauling it, schlepping it, everything but naming it for two years. The minute I realized that my lost person at last knew EVERYTHING, I also realized something else: he knew everything while he was still breathing and, if he didn’t, it’s not because I didn’t tell him / show him / give him. When suddenly he became a know it all, he didn’t know one single more thing about me than he did when he was drinking all the coffee in the morning. Well. Maybe he learned that i like TV, but really? That’s small potatoes. And small potatoes are delicious.
Now wait. I’m not saying that I have now, nor had then, all my shit together. Not at all. What I am saying is that I was truly 100% authentic with him. He knew everything because we knew from day one that the rest of your life is a long time to hold in your farts when your loved one is in the room, so just start off ahead of the game and let ‘em fly.
Before he died, I only lived that way with him. Up until that point, I think a lot of people would have been pretty surprised at what they learned about me if they were to become know it alls. (aside: I hate phrases like “passed away,” “passed on,” “went on to his great reward.” He died. That’s it. That said, it would be kind of rad if we started saying, “became such a damn know it all” instead. You with me? Let’s do this!)
I think today, fewer and fewer people would be surprised. I think that I have been more of my true self out in the world since I became a widow than I ever was before. That started because for a very long time, I didn’t have a choice. Shock, immediate grief, and heavy sedation takes away your ability to give a shit. Then when that stage wanes and the next comes, a temporary bipolar phase hits where you are either incredibly alive and trying new things and doing new things and feeling awake or you are sincerely unable to do anything, even open your eyes, because you realize how terribly wrong you were, that no matter how hard you act happy and healed and hyper and powerful and motivated, it won’t bring your lost person back. During that time, you don’t give a shit because it doesn’t matter. Then there is a good long stage where it’s just numb. The depression stops having sharp edges and nothing can really shock you anymore, but nothing can really make you super happy anymore. You just have days that are different cuts of the same vegetable. Diced, sliced, julienned, doesn’t matter, it’s still just a carrot. All day. Every day. So you don’t give a shit then, either, because let’s face it: you’d be shitting carrots.
Here’s the magic, though. During all those phases of not giving a shit, you are still going about your daily life. You are still working and talking and interacting with people and socializing and paying bills and arguing with your neighbors and meeting new people and raising your kids or your dogs or your expectations. It happens without even knowing it, but suddenly you don’t give a shit about trying to impress people or be someone or something you are not because somehow it becomes to new norm to just be you.
Let that sink in.
People think that I have changed a lot in the last two years. I haven’t it. The me that I am right now is the me that I was every day for all these years after the doors closed. The only difference is that now I let more people see the real me because I don’t care about trying to be better than I am. I have changed my hair a million times, I have a HUGE chest tattoo now and a half sleeve. I always have had them in my mind, in my image of myself. The only difference is that now other people can see them, too. My circle of friends has grown and expanded and now includes so many more colors and flavors and textures and languages and I am so grateful because holy shit, even pizza gets boring when that is all you allow yourself to eat.
I know that some people think I’ve lost the plot. The grapevine is a rampant thing that spreads far and wide. I know that there are people who just love to ask others how I am doing, to tell people what they have heard, to gossip and speculate and whatever. And yes, I’m probably talking about you. If you want to know, ASK ME. if you don’t want to ask me but want to ask others, then go right ahead because that means you don’t really give a shit. You’re just pretending. That’s cool. I dig it. We all pretend. I know I did for years and still sometimes do. It’s shitty, but it is okay because it’s a human thing. You’ll find out everything when you become a know it all.
I also know that there are people who don’t quite understand why I am still writing about this sort of stuff. What I’m writing now is vastly different than The Brian Series. That was about him. That was about grief. That was about mourning.This is about me. This is about where I am, where my feet are, the way I see things now. I cannot possibly begin to write about things without occasionally bringing up the dead husband / widow thing because it shaped me just as much as your love, your losses, life has shaped you. To try to do it without would be like trying to define and describe the ocean without using the word “water.” Try it. You can’t do it nor can i write without this experiencing influencing me because the ocean IS water and this experience IS me. Just keep nugget in your back pocket and whip it out if you need to.
I have to say, it is a lot less exhausting to be me now than it was when I was wearing the masks and costumes and was consumed with who I was “supposed” to be, who I thought I “should” be. We’re all going to find out eventually. I’m trying to make it easier for folks to know now. It probably is more accurate to say that I am trying to not hide anything anymore. I’m super private about most things now (very odd, seeing as how this is a very honest blog,) but I’m doing my very best to make what I do share with the world completely real. It’s just easier, more fun, less stressful. Plus, it frees up brain power to figure out what to about that dirt line problem.
Maybe there’s an informercial about it on TV.