Tuesday June 19, 2007

My voice is still here. It has not been replaced. This is the thought, or actually the voice that I heard while driving to the market earlier today. I was thinking about the book I am reading, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, and how she is writing like I would, and writing how I would be writing, and I thought a familiar thought which I have after reading Anne Lammott, “Oh, well, she has done it, there is no room for me.” And then the voice clearly said, “Your voice has not been replaced.” And a gush of relief and space opened inside of me, and I knew that I have a right to not only occupy the space that is Kelly, but that what comes out of me is, not matter what, unique. It’s like getting that we are all part of the interdependent ecosystem of life, and that whether we are a blade of grass, an oak tree, or a 10,000 foot mountain, none of it would exist without the presence of the other.

Having a voice is one thing, using it is different. When I go to use it is when the questions, anxiety and imaginary demons pop up and the whole approval thing begins again. But as my dear friends say, “that’s my old story.” The new one begins now, and now, and yes even now. Every moment is now an opportunity to start again, start fresh and new, with a voice, using my voice, risking it all in service of who knows what.


Monday June 18, 2007

I am a whore. I cannot think of anything I want to pursue in my life without thinking about how it might make me more noticeable to the masses. Now I must be frank with you that I may even be writing these very words for this very reason right now. But I can’t help myself, and therefore you must have compassion for me(okay, you don't need to do anything here but hopefully listen with an open mind). And the saddest thing is that there are no masses really to make myself more noticeable to - I have no mass audience, no following, no cronies or minions. I have a few friends and loved ones who are willing to listen to me, and most smile and enjoy what it is I have to say. And I can't tell you how appreciative I am of them.

But, I don’t think that my confession is much different than what we all do anyway. Aren’t we all looking for some love and attention? Is there anything we do from a pure place of just wanting to be doing it? I do not know anymore. I suppose there are some things that I do for this reason, but I can’t think of any right now, except for maybe I pursue getting noticed because I love doing that? Can’t this be pure too?

What is this chasing after your attention all about anyway? Why do I believe that I am not really living my life if potentially thousands of people aren’t turning their loving gaze my way? Okay, so my dad is famous and psychologically that all makes sense, and yes I’ve done A LOT of work in therapy already to get me to what I consider a much more balanced relationship with all of this. But the reality is that wherever I go, there I am and so this issue just keeps circling around and around me like a newly abandoned jet ski. I would love to jump on it and move on to somewhere else, but it is here in this circle I keep finding myself, and finding myself is what I am looking for. So no more avoidance, no more excuses. This is what I must talk about, until it just doesn’t pull me around anymore.


Sunday June 17, 2007

It has become clear to me that I am not too thrilled with this whole growing up, being an adult thing. I am finding there is a lot to be desired here - like some one to pay my rent, some way to deal with the endless stream of paper that comes in the mail, and I won't even begin to mention the fact that my body no longer cooperates with my every wish.

I suppose being 44 and just coming to this conclusion may seem a bit unusual. No doubt. But unusual and me, well we just seem to go together often and repeatedly. You see, this whole adulthood thing has really just hit me. Especially in the last week - since I turned 44. What I have been doing for the last 24 - 26 years that most would consider adulthood, I don't think was adulthood. I think it was a feigning, an imitation of, or maybe even an impression of adulthood. But not an actual adulthood. Part of it had to do with money and my father. He gave it to me, and I spent it. Like I said, I did my best impression of adulthood, I did use the money for things like rent, utilities, health insurance for the most part. I was not shoving it up my nose, or buying euro trash bottles of Crystal at least. (Well, okay in my twenties I did a lot of shoving up my nose, but I was mostly using my first husband's inheritance for that, I at least was the one who knew not to squander away MY father's money on that crap!)

So here I am now, stuck, managing, groping my way through being an adult in a life that might not have prepared me for it all as much as I would have liked. But I bet, I just would put a little bet on a hunch that I am not alone.

More from the front later. Much love and don't take it all too seriously.


Saturday, June 16, 2007

I guess it's been a year since I blogged here. It's been so hard to figure out how to do this blogging thing. Do I do it on a web site, do I do it with my coaching site, do I not bother at all?

Part of my resistance has been an assumption I make constantly, that I need to hide my true self from those that I may be working with as a life coach. I get sucked into this thing that believes that I must maintain some kind of all wise, all knowing stance, and that if I don't I will lose my clients. What is so fucked up about that is that my training and perspective about coaching is that I have little to do with what and where my clients go - they are the ones doing all the work. But I get my self sucked into the land of reputation and approval and screw myself every time. So what has happened to me is that I have censored and stifled myself this last year, and not come forward with my thoughts and things about my life, the world and anything else.

And who am I kidding, it's not just about my life coaching, it's really about fear of disappointing everyone by revealing my thoughts, ideas and feelings about life and the world around me.

Well, I turned 44 yesterday, and I think it is high time I got over this bullshit approval seeking crap. The self-betrayal I create by living silently is becoming too much to bear. Confusingly, I grew up watching my dad being a person who did not silence himself, and followed his urges to express all that was on his mind. But I think that he did not have to live under a shadow of that kind of parent. Growing up in the shadow of a George Carlin, my dad, is a different kind of life than he had. He had some kind of permission that I have never given myself.

But as I said, that is no longer working for me. I'm tired of this shadow, I'm tired of my fear, I'm tired of worrying about how it will all look.


Mother's Day

May 11, 1997 - It is Mother’s Day, and I am exhausted, spent - emotionally drained.    Mom has taken a sudden turn for the worse, and sunk into some kind of child-like state that I can’t quite identify.  She acts and speaks like a three-year-old child.  This panics me, but all I can think of this morning is that I have to get her to drink her orange juice.  She hasn’t eaten in days.  She won’t.  Or more likely, she can’t.  The chemo is ravaging her far worse than the cancer on her liver.  Happy Mother’s Day mom.

Dad, dad is somewhere else.  New York City.  He’s taking care of mom the best way he knows which is by being on the road where he makes people laugh so that he can keep the house that she loves so much.  You see my dad is George Carlin.  And even though he’s been successful in comedy, he’s not always been successful at picking out ethical business managers, and so for the last 15 years he has been paying off endless taxes and penalties to the IRS.  And so, every few months they threaten to take the house.  He truly believes he is out there for their future.  But there is no more future for Mom.  There is only this moment - me sitting on the end of her bed begging her to just take a sip of the orange juice.  Her blood sugar is dangerously low, and she needs it.  But, like a bratty child she shakes her head and refuses.  I can’t blame her.  She probably can’t taste anything anyway, or keep it down.

But I beg anyway, “Please Mom, please just a sip.”

“No!” she cries and clamps her mouth shut.

I act strong.  “Well, I’m going to have to call the paramedics then, and take you to St. John’s.  Is that okay?” 

After a moment she shakes her head yes.

This is the last thing I say to my mother: “Drink your orange juice or I’m calling the paramedics.”  Not quite what I had in mind.  But that’s the thing with being in the middle of a crisis - there is no grand moment or time to reflect.  It’s just do.  Do now what needs to be done this second.  And in this second I truly believe that getting her to drink some orange juice will make it all okay.  Who sounds like a mother now?

Have you ever been to an emergency room on Mother’s Day?  I personally don’t recommend it. There are children, many, many screaming children.  And they have all been making mommy breakfast, and they have all burned, or cut or scalded themselves in the process.  So, by the time the tired, overworked ER resident got to my mom, he was in way over his head because she was going down and going down fast. 

One minute we’re all here, Bob, my husband, our dear friend Theresa, me with Mom and she’s alive, and the next minute her blood pressure is dropping, heart rate racing, pulse thready...taking her into room to get an x-ray...doctors shouting...code blue...nurses rushing into her room.  I watch all this, and yes, it is in slow motion...nurses racing in with carts...more shouting...words, motions...I turn around, walk through the doors outside, and scream, “No, no, no.”  This is not happening.  This is happening to someone else.  My mother is not dead.  She is not dying.  This is not how it is supposed to happen.  This happens much differently - it’s quiet, serene, we’re all holding hands, I’ve got Enya playing on the CD player, there’s candles, peace, love...No.  Not this.  Not now.  Not today.

A nurse rushes out.  They’ve revived her.  She’s on life support.  She’s alive, kind of, not really.  It’s that place where their bodies take on air and blood flows around the arteries, but the person’s gone.   She’s gone.

I must call dad, but I can’t.  He already knows what’s going on because I’d talked to him a few times in the last two hours.  He knows things are going terribly wrong.  He’s getting a flight out.  He’s already on it.  I talk with the intensive care doctor and tell him, “you must keep her alive for 6 more hours.  You must.  My dad has to say good-bye to her.  It can’t end like this.  It just can’t.  He has to be with her.  They’ve been together for so long, apart for so much.  They can’t be for this.”  The doctor reassures me that he will do every thing in his power.

It is like a dream.  I’m not real; mom’s not real.  This hospital is a figment of my imagination.  And yet deep, deep down, something is shifting, and washing through me.  Feelings I have avoided my whole life. Terror. Rage. Sorrow.  It is all very real.  And I can feel this place within myself that is very real too.

They finally move mom into ICU.  And there is now a crowd of friends at the hospital.  No one can ignore the reality.  Most of the people here believe that they would not be alive today without my mother.  She has been the rock of stability for so many struggling with their lives. What are they going to do now?  What am I going to do now?

At five o’clock Bob and I take a limo to the airport to get dad.  When we get there, there are paparazzi waiting at the gate to manufacture distractions for the American public.  We get a security guy from the airline to help us and he tells us that Diana Ross, thank God, is on the flight and he will usher her toward the cameras so that we can make a clean get away with my dad.  In the limo, it is very quiet.  Dad tells me that while on the plane he watched the moon and Venus rise together, and he knew that it was over.  That this was good-bye.

The ICU is not pleasant.  Mom is hooked up to every possible device and her eyes are open in a very disturbing way.  She is not looking at anything.  She is not conscious.  But her eyes are open.  How the fuck is that possible?  Dad has not seen her in over ten days, and she is very yellow, very bloated, and bald.  He tenderly cradles her face in his hand, kisses her and says, “Oh, Brenny, oh, Brenny.”   And then wipes her eyes with a tissue.  Two years later I will find this tissue in a box of mementos with a note in my father’s handwriting identifying it as the tissue he wiped her tears with on that last day.  His love is huge.  My love for him is too.  At 10:38 PM we say our good-byes.  They turn off the machine.  And Brenda Carlin is released. 


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