Change happens

Carly Simon’s song “Comin’ Around Again” has special meaning to me for a couple of reasons.  First, it’s Carly Simon.  Second, it was featured in Nora Ephron’s movie “Heartburn” (NORA FREAKIN’ EPHRON).  Third, the lyrics are so much my past life.  So, so much.

Sometimes it does take the Universe seizing our life, turning it upside down, and shaking it as hard as it can to see what remains inside.  What was left for me was my son, my dog and two cats, my real friends, and my trusty old Subaru.

That was pretty much all I had left.   No bearings as my internal compass had taken quite a hit.  I had a part-time job, but that didn’t give us any health benefits.

Then everything happened that happened in between then and now.

Maybe I’m ready to tell the story now.  My son is currently at college making the beginnings of his own life, so he isn’t in any danger of reliving it with me, what we went through back then.

It seems so long ago.  It did begin a long time ago — and then my ex stretched it out even longer.  And then longer again.  It seemed like The Big Bad Awful would *never* end…. Seven years is a long time to spend in and out of courthouses and lawyers’ offices.

But I finally feel I have some distance, a buffer, from it all.  Not that time will ever really change how I look at it, nor will it soften the jagged edges.  But it can’t hurt me through the self-protecting padding — my good, true life — I’ve built around it.  I can look at it, turn it one way, then another, and examine it, and it can’t cut or burn me anymore.  It’s not a threat to me or my son anymore.  So maybe it’s time to tell this story.  I don’t know where, or how it will fall.  But it might be time.

Comin’ Around Again

Baby sneezes.
Mommy pleases.
Daddy breezes in.
So good on paper,
So romantic,
So bewildering.

I know nothing stays the same.
But if you’re willing to play the game,
It’s coming around again.
So don’t mind if I fall apart:
There’s more room in a broken heart.

Pay the grocer,
Fix the toaster,
Kiss the host goodbye.
Then you break a window,
Burn the soufflé,
Scream a lullaby.

I know nothing stays the same.
But if you’re willing to play the game,
It’s coming around again.
So don’t mind if I fall apart:
There’s more room in a broken heart.

And I believe in love —
What else can I do…
I know nothing stays the same.
But if you’re willing to play the game,
It’s coming around again.

I believe in love.
Now who knows where or when,
But it’s coming around again.

I know nothing stays the same —
But if you’re willing to play the game,
It will be coming around again…

                                       ~ Carly Simon

*Bill the Cat, “Passed Out From Life,” by Berkeley Breathed

Dear Amy Poehler

Dear Amy,

May I call you Amy?  I know we’ve never met, but after reading your book, Yes Please, I feel like we just had a 2-week slumber party*.  And after you’ve seen someone in their hypothetical pajamas, it seems we should be on a first-name basis.

I must admit something to you first:  before reading your book, I was never a “fan.”  It’s not that I didn’t like you!  No, no!  I just didn’t know you.  Your movies tended to reach toward a different demographic than the one I fall into: overworked, overstressed, 40-50 something-or-other-mom-of-teenager-people.  And although I enjoyed your tenure on Saturday Night Live, that was when I was lucky to make it to Saturday nights, period. And forget about Tivo/DVR: I have shows from the early 2000s still waiting in the queue.  So, please forgive me for not knowing your most memorable sketches and movie titles.

IMG_3883Another admission:  I’m not really sure what drew me to your book on the shelf at Barnes & Noble.  Maybe because I was so desperate for a “yes” in my life at the time, and there is that big, pink neon, capital YES on the cover.  Actually, your entire attitude comes through on that cover:  “HELLO – YES, ME, OVER HERE, I’D LIKE SOME OF THIS, TOO!”  Me too!  Me too!  And as the front dust cover says, “In a perfect world… We’d get to hang out with Amy Poehler…”  And maybe all I needed for a perfect world right then was hanging out with you (and, because the self-help section was no help at all).

But truly, after reading (and re-reading certain pages), I want to have coffee with you.  I know at first reading that doesn’t sound like much.  But you need to understand that I HATE coffee.  I mean, gag me with a spoon hate.  I try it every few years in case my taste buds have suddenly gone AWOL, but the result is always the same: I take a sip and immediately wish I had soap nearby to wash out my mouth.  I look like a dog trying to get peanut butter off the roof of my mouth, but much more worried because I’m absolutely convinced that the taste won’t ever go away.

Anyway, for you, Amy, I would drink the coffee if it meant sitting and chatting with you about life, love, being the mom to sons (even though I have just one — which is enough for me), writing, divorce, finding the courage to say whatever you want, the energy to do whatever you like, and the wisdom to be whoever you are.

(I hope the coffee analogy was strong enough to show you how much I am willing to risk to spend a day with you.)

I must have missed you in New York.  I lived out east for seven years, although I discovered I wasn’t cut out to work in Manhattan: I was a lousy commuter.  Afterall, if you miss the train by 1 second, you’ve still missed the train.

I, too, moved to Chicagoland (still here).

See?  We already have so much in common!  I, too, love performing (I grew up in the theater and it wasn’t until high school that I realized not everyone had the opportunity to be involved in theater.  I just thought the ones who didn’t were fun-challenged); however, my days on the community theater stage ended when I left Michigan in my late 20s — something I do miss.  The theater, I mean (although, I did have an awful lot of fun in my late 20s, too…).  I am ‘Mom’ to a wildly charming, incredibly intelligent, amazingly talented son (at least for today — check back with me tomorrow: that kid may have snuck away looking for an equally charming, intelligent, talented mother, and left the little monster behind).

And I am looking for the same answers as everyone else.

Well, not that we’re all looking for EXACTLY the same answers: I’ve never thought of Life like algebra where there’s one answer for each problem; but more like an interpretive dance, maybe.  You know, it means whatever the hell each person thinks it means, and some of us are lost and STILL wondering.

But more importantly, I want the chance to tell you that your idea of “good for you, not for me” is as close to The Answer to Life as anything I’ve ever heard!  I mean, it is THE BOMB!  The ABSOLUTE TRUTH!  EXACTLY what I needed to hear (other than there really is a miracle pill for weight loss that won’t ultimately kill me)!  I know it doesn’t answer what IS right for me or anyone else, but it allows some breathing room to figure it out.  For instance, I am 100% behind all of my fellow Earthsters — I just don’t happen to share all of their beliefs: They are Good for You, Not for Me.  To All the Moms of the world, I support you!  Your decisions about what is best for your families are Good for You, Not for Me.

Hillary-AmyI personally feel that this mantra would solve all the world problems by simply getting people to mind their own damn business, and I will be first in line to vote for you when you run for President.  By the way, your impersonation of Hillary is AMAZING!  I wonder if she can do an impersonation of you?

Before I go any further, I feel I should tell you there is someone else I worship admire in my  life: Carly Simon.

I wonder if you’ve ever heard her song “Don’t Wrap it Up”?

“I’ll take some of this, I’ll have some of that
And several more of these.
Now that I see it, I know what I like
So I’d like it if you please.
I ain’t nobody’s princess, stuck in Sunday School!
So I’ll help myself to love,
And have the whole career!
Don’t wrap it up, I’ll eat it here…

…I’ve stood there patiently waiting in line
A take-out man’s an O.K. plan
If you’ve got lots of time
(Especially if he is biodegradable)

I ain’t nobody’s little princess, stuck in some Sunday School —
I ain’t nobody’s fool!
So I’ll help myself to love,
There’s nothing at all to fear (woo hoo!)!
Don’t wrap it up, I’ll eat it here…”

From the first time I heard it years ago, I adopted it as kind of my anthem.  She sang, and I heard her.

You wrote, and I heard you.

Thank you.

cup of coffeeSo call me next time you’re in Chicagoland and we’ll meet up.  For you, Amy, even for coffee.

Very sincerely,

Dana

 

Until Tuesday, Friends.  Cheers!

*Yes, admission #146:  it took me two weeks to read the book.  The only time I had at that point was just before going to bed, and I was lucky I could keep my eyes open long enough to turn a page.  Give me a break.