I had a good day yesterday.
My dad did not.
The kids kept me company and shit got done. The recliner came upstairs from the dungeon (the room I nicknamed years ago because it creeps me out, always so cold in there) so he can sleep more comfortably. If he is laying down, he coughs too much.
He’s also on other medication than the opiates.
Medication I encouraged weeks ago. It helped me after my surgery. I don’t take it anymore because benzos are so addictive, but whatever makes him feel more comfortable. He’s now drinking the protein drinks I also drink. He’s not that with it which is terrifying.
The kids always boost my mood. They are such special little people. They make me so happy! The big kids are awesome, I love it, spending time with them, just chilling, talking about movies and random things.
But I love the hugs and she still sits on my lap, which is getting ridiculous but I can’t help it. I told her she has to sit in it even when she is an adult and she just laughs. The oldest one will pass me by soon in height. They grow up so fast! He is reading a ton, which I love. His mom is like: he reads like you! (I offered to pay him $1 per book he reads this summer and HE said: mmmm that will be too much money. So we agreed on $25. What a little sweetie pie).
I had a friend come over and tested my walking on the treadmill with company, someone I don’t know that well, which is different than bestie or the boys, who have done it with me.
I tried sitting outside beforehand, reading on my computer, and my allergies got so bad, I had to go back inside.
GOD I hate being trapped indoors so much. I could have taken something, I probably should. THIS I hold back on! I hate pills. I really only take stuff for thyroid and hormones on a daily basis, that’s it. Herbs for everything else. I TOTALLY get that it’s not for everyone. Take pills if you need them! Utilize what you can, to get through whatever.
But for me, I’m just not a pill person, never have, never will be, if I’m not by now. This organism, this SHELL I live in, is so fucking sensitive to pills. Always have been, always will be. Plus, I hate Big Pharma, and refuse to give them a penny unless absolutely necessary. I get most of my hormones from a hippie down in California who owns a compound pharmacy. Gosh, I have SO MUCH TO SHARE on how to manage all these conditions! My brain, oh my brain.
It’s better today. I had such an awesome chat with my friend, that plus the kids, really improved my mindset. The worst is when I’ve been trapped inside, not enough company, my mind whirling around itself. I also had a good chat on the phone with one of my drivers. I’m starting to assign tasks to them, because I’m concerned about how I can handle all these things. This one comes to all of my new primary doctor appointments. I asked her to remind me to send a list of things that I’ve been thinking about regarding my medical case.
It’s time for me to trust, and pass this information off to the doctor who has the bandwidth and medical expertise to think and manage and consult on all of these things. I. Just. Can’t. Do. It. Alone. Anymore.
I have to make peace with this. I have to accept who I am now. I have to be ok with myself and stop trying to juggle it all my own, and then look outside for who and what I am. I need to do the opposite. Have people help with the day-to-day, and be ok with myself no matter what.
While I was waiting for my friend, I was reading some self-help-y stuff. I’ve been reading it for years. Secretly, but now not so secretly, I’ve wanted to be one of those people that helps other people. I felt a little weird tagging the category “self-help” on my podcast when I launched it last summer, but I get a little thrill whenever I see it on the screen. I like being someone to offer that! But I’m glad I’m doing it in a way that’s less preachy, gd I hope, and more just sharing my own experience and talking to other people.
I’m so tired of the ads of people promising shit. There are a few that I still follow, because they’ve been through the fire themselves. Those are really the only ones I can tolerate now. Ones who have REALLY been there. It’s hard for me to listen to a thirty-something woman that comes from significant privilege who is all about becoming the influencer, and less about the journey itself.
Though I’m not in the head space to think so strategically these days - hence the issues around executive function and parsing out tasks that involve using that part of my brain - I am well aware that I’m sharing the super low moments and the struggle.
Who wants to listen to someone who hasn’t really been down in the murky depths of pain? I don’t.
The kids certainly won’t. They are so jaded because they’ve grown up on fake photos, and fake this and fake that.
They want real.
I’ve always wanted the same thing.
SO I have to be the change.
My friend and I are super interested in expanding our theater skills, thinking about different things we could. We’re both tired of holding these dreams inside of us. I have this empty room now. I have the ability to buy lights - that’s all we really need at this point. I’d rather shoot on my iphone than a fancy camera. I can never figure out how to use them! They are like little computers. I know I SHOULD learn, and I do WANT to learn. It’s so hard for me to learn new technical skills at this point. Social media isn’t that hard. Figuring out my podcast stuff wasn’t easy, but once I learned the basic steps - with the help of a half dozen people! - it’s super easy now.
I figure I can learn some basic video editing. That’s easier to parse out to young people. I want to create a space for community. I’ve been dreaming this up for so long, stuck downstairs in that dark, dreary room, with the photos of the past littering the walls around me.
It’s hard to believe, I’m sitting with a new friend who is just as excited about this kind of adventure. We talked about friends who come through, and how women don’t always support each other. How we are trained to be jealous and competitive with each other. This has driven me nuts for YEARS.
I think about how I wrote that my guy friends know I’d be there for them, no matter what.
I realized later, it’s not just that I’m their sister.
I know how to be a good brother. They know I’d take a hit for them, and how many people can anyone say that about at this point in history? At this point in life?
I would too.
No question. I’d be in a foxhole and run out under fire to grab them. I’d stand in front of their children and take the hit. I’d do it all. I don’t know why I’m so weird this way. I do know that I’ve always just had it in me.
Years ago, one brother brought home a woman. She was a weird one. She doesn’t like women at ALL. Like overt about it.
Anyway, her, my brothers and me were sitting around the table - it was the old kitchen so it was over 20 years ago. She was quite a bit taller than me and has much longer limbs, I have like T-Rex limbs, it’s ridiculous how short they are. My bicep takes up my entire upper arm!
She said, for no apparent reason: I could take Julie in a fight.
I’ll never forget my brothers response, they both at the same time said: no you couldn’t.
She kept arguing: yeah I could! Totally c’mon!
One was eating and didn’t even look up, I remember that detail, he just muttered: nope.
Why she is even thinking this way, I have no idea. Who goes around thinking that about some random other woman? It’s so sad to me. I’ve always felt sad about this. I don’t get mad back, because that’s not the point. The point is to be compassionate, more compassionate than they can obviously be with themselves and others.
Sisterhood is so important to me. And so is brotherhood. Why is this such a strange thing? Why do humans hate on each other so much? Why do people WANT to hurt others? Push them down? Take away their healthcare? Take away their right to live in a new country?
Why do SO many humans do this to each other? This has been my ever burning question for life, but more so than ever.
I didn’t say anything during the conversation with that woman. We don’t live in a world where women physically fight each other. But I’ve existed in space where they do. I found that interesting too. How it’s acceptable in certain worlds, but never in others.
There’s a photo I screenshot awhile back from the new updated Dynasty. It’s a man in the middle and two women behind him. One has the hair of the other. They are the rich ladies but always fighting, in their rich ladies way.
Why do we promote this kind of thing? That photo says everything which is why I kept it. If I see it over and over on my desktop, then it goes into my long-term memory so I can extract it for something like this post. Otherwise, anything I see in my current life disappears from my brain altogether. That’s why I leave notes around the house so I see them every time I walk by - pick up at Walgreens! Don’t forget ginger for tea! It’s annoying, but I’ve gotten used to it.
Anyway, my friend and I are determined to support and promote women who want to take chances in improv, video, comedy, whatever. I remember reading a piece where someone interviewed a bunch of famous female comedians. Joan Rivers and a few others pointed out: the men got together in little packs, and hung out at the comedy clubs. They supported each other.
The woman went at it alone.
I watched this happen over and over again in the Food Movement. I think I wrote it already. They’d get a little press or a good gig, and forget the rest!
And then we wonder why HC didn’t win.
I guess more men than women voted for Stacey Abrams in Georgia. I watched a clip of a state Congresswoman in Nevada who ran in the early 1970s - her kids small, must be around my age - and she said the women were not supportive of her at all. She also had more men vote for her than women.
Her theory: they haven’t figured out what they want or who they are, so it upsets them when they see other women figure it out and go for their dreams.
Isn’t that strange? I’ve mentioned that I try so hard to see other perspectives, to move out of my own shoes, and try to stand in another’s as often as possible.
There are some things, I try and try and try, and I still can’t see.
I don’t get it. The reason I have the network I have is BECAUSE I didn’t “drop” people if things were going well. I may have been an idiot, and struggled with maintaining an intimate friendship with them, or felt like I couldn’t give to the friendship because I piled too much work on myself. But it wasn’t because of competitive feelings. It was mostly due to low self-worth and my own fuckedupness.
I see us all climbing ladders in this hierarchal culture, and some reach down and lift each other up. Others try to kick the other women below them off their own ladder. Most just don’t do anything. They keep on climbing, or fall back down like me.
What is the saying: be careful how you treat people on the way up, because you’ll see them on the way back down.
I don’t want to do this. And then I can’t wait to do this. It’s this push and pull, so much of the time. Like I’ve mentioned here, the strong part of me is getting stronger. I can’t let those insecurities hold me back. Now that I’m growing my IRL crew and finally finding community in Seattle, I feel like I can breathe. Ok, I didn’t marry, but I’ve got my own family of friends. That’s what I’ve always wanted.
I read about how millennials are forging a new concept of family. Not all of them want to live in a married dyad. The poly community is growing in that demographic, I read somewhere else. They see things differently.
I hate to admit this because the show is SO stupid, and full of so much toxic masculinity it’s absurd. Worse than the anti-feminist messages. But I watch Friends at night when I’m falling asleep. It used to be on at 11pm in New York every night, so there is something comforting about it. I’ve watched the series several times and it gets stupider and stupider to me. I think I like watching because it makes me realize how much my mind has shifted about gender roles, and their restrictiveness.
They do a LOT of toxic masculinity. But for me, at the time it came out, it was novel. Rachel not wanting to marry young but instead forging a career. Phoebe being on the fence about settling down, or living a “regular life.” (I’m still disappointed with that storyline but Paul Rudd, c’mon, even I’d marry the guy on the spot.)
The one thing I do love about it though is that the women are so supportive of each other. The fight and argue and give each other a hard time. But they are truly each other’s family.
Even back in the dark ages when the show wrapped - I remember the date May 4 (ok, or 6th) 2004 - because it’s the day I found out my sister had colon cancer. I was at my cousin’s apartment because I didn’t want to be alone when we got the news of her results. We got the call AS the airing of the last Friends episode was on the TV screen. People still sat around and watched a TV together “back then.” (It doesn’t feel like that long ago! How has it been so long!??)
They were all so sad to be leaving behind their “friend family” and even in the midst of my anxiety and fear, I remember thinking: why can’t they keep living the way they were? Why do we have to isolate like the way we do?
Humans have usually lived piled into houses with each other. Even the wealthy had servants and people coming and going.
This isolation is the root of a lot of problems in this country. Well, that will be solved as rents sky rocket and 2 billion more people walk the planet over the next 30 years.
I dream of making my new event space a community space. I don’t know if it will happen. I never know if something will work out or not. Noodles at the wall. The Cancerteacher blog went kaput, along with so many of my other ventures.
I used to get SO upset when something didn’t work out. But as I kept reading things like Lean Start Up Strategy, I understood how things work in the digital world. You just try and try and try, until something DOES work.
I was telling my friend last night that it’s really true what entrepreneurs say about failure being the best teacher. I don’t want to insult any entrepreneurs but you have to be kinda bananas to do this kind of thing over and over. To take risk after risk. Keep trying after so much failure.
Failure and me are very good friends. I’m very comfortable with failure. I know it inside and out. I live in my parent’s house without any major assets to my name. No real career. No family of my own. None of the “markers” of success in the Game of Life where people in my world are always keeping “score.” Numbers. Are so stupid. That’s why I don’t get involved in the followers business online, following and unfollowing, and all that. Ugh, what a time sucker. I get it! I get that people do it. Some people are trying to survive, and maybe their online work is their only option, like it is for me.
But I could host classes here too. THIS I know I can do. It’s what I’ve always done for a living. The digital world is unreliable. I need something else. But it also sounds super hard, and exhausting.
Of course, everything sounds exhausting to me these days. Going to a yoga class sounds exhausting. Opening myself up to people sounds exhausting. I share so much here! But I only just texted my new friend taking me to yoga tonight about my dad.
In person, I’m way less open about all of this. That’s why I need somewhere to go with all of it! I let it out here, and process it a bit, try to make sense of it. SO that I can feel a bit more “normal” in regular interactions. Or I can forget about all the hellish things happening while in improv class. It’s SO good for anxiety! Man, is it good. I'd like to know the neurological reason for this, and can’t wait to learn from a trauma therapist. Why does my anxiety and overactive mind turn OFF while I’m doing improv. You have to be SO present and paying such close attention to what people are saying and doing, it is literally impossible for my brain to be thinking about my medical case while I’m doing it.
There is almost nothing else that makes that part of my brain thinking about my medical case turn off. It’s always running on a track, even behind the conversation I’m having.
While I’m chatting with my friend, the entire time I’m thinking: I should get an IV bag. I should have set that up so it was right in front of me or already attached, note that for next visits. Should I get on the treadmill? Will she think that’s weird? I’m hungry, I wish I’d brought a yogurt downstairs, I don’t want to interrupt our awesome conversation.
But during improv that part of my brain is blessedly silent. It is dreamy.
I get now why those fucking asshole Republicans cut all the art programs.
Art opens the mind. Makes it harder to brainwash. I would love to learn how that works in the brain. I hear yelling upstairs right now. My heart starts pounding. He is not in good shape.
I don’t think there’s any coming back from this. MAYBE if we had a facility like I dream of, maybe he’d have a shot.
The stress. I keep thinking about how his mom lived until 88.
It’s the stress. This fucking administration. His business. Having me, an extra body to feed and house. All of it. It was too much.
Stress will kill you a lot faster than a shitty diet, I can safely say this with certainty after 20 plus years in the nutrition field.
2010. The year I fucked up my body. Other people would have just gotten super sick with a long flu or had some mental health issues.
I get multiple cancers.
I think they are ok. I will go check. I should stop writing anyway. I could write ad nauseam about the women thing, friends as family, all of it. I’ve been thinking about so much of this for years. I never thought I’d have a reason or opportunity to share any of it publicly. I never thought I could host my own radio show from my bed without the permission of anyone else.
I’m guessing if it was bad, I’d hear: JULIE JULIE JULIE COME UP. I told them to be careful about hollering about stupid shit. Like don’t be yelling that you can’t find the strawberries in a way that sounds like someone is dying, ok?
They are doing the best they can under extraordinary circumstances. We all are. It’s such a fucked up situation.
That’s where we ended it last night. I told my friend about how I read years ago that a fan asked Quentin Tarantino, what advice do you have for budding filmmakers?
He said: just do it. Don’t wait, just make stuff.
Of course, white man probably saying this to white man, before the invention of the iphone, I remember reading it at my JCC job which was 2003-2008, this is how I mark time in my memory.
Now I have a video camera in the palm of my hands.
I told my friend last night about the Quentin thing, and she’s like: yeah just do it.
I said: the impression I got from that comment was, stop asking for permission. Just fucking do it. If you want to make art, make it. If you want to make films, make it.
And that’s something I want to do for women: tell them they have permission to be their real selves. Men too! But they have other things that have been downloaded, other pressures.
I want to find ways to be loving toward women. I want to find ways to be loving toward men. Same goes for non-binary, anyone that walks this planet with a beating heart and a dream, they should feel like they can pursue it.
Why does this make me SO weird in our culture? I believe each person should be able to self-actualize and find their true potential - is that really SO strange?
But I knew the only way to give permission to others was to give permission to myself first.
I showed her some photos from that photo shoot from last fall. There is one where I am wearing my leopard coat (I fucking love that coat) and looking into the distance. I’ve wanted to make it my profile photo on Facebook for awhile.
But I didn’t FEEL like the woman in the photo yet. I was able to take the photo, but I didn’t FEEL like the person staring back at the camera.
I want to FEEL like that badass woman. I’ll always be an insecure artist on some level. I think that the woman from Russian Doll was right that a healthy dose of self-loathing is crucial for real self reflection and being able to curate your own content with a discerning eye.
We’ve all seen what happens when artists start to believe their shit don’t stink (I want to invoke Kanye but I feel so bad that he obviously struggles with so many mental health issues - like I said, when you live that close to the edge…Elizabeth Gilbert says in her book in Big Magic that you don’t have to necessarily suffer in order to create awesome art. Says the white woman without generational trauma, it’s different I’m seeing only recently, when the colonizers give that kind of advice - you’re acting like a victim says the person high up in the food chain - it’s not the same as when it comes from anyone marginalized, the white colonizers aren’t carrying around the weight of so much historical pain).
My friend was in awe of the photos. It felt fun to have her admire them. I feel so tired, and old lady, and fragile and scared, it was nice to have that image reflected back that appears so strong and confident.
When will I feel like I can BE that person in the photo? Am I close? Am I far?
Is what is happening to my dad how it was always supposed to be? I really didn’t see this coming at all. I figured he’d live to 90 years old. Maybe in another timeline
THe medics are coming