I’m saying the same thing everyone else is saying. “2016 sucked!” “Let’s burn down 2016!” “What the f*%& happened in 2016 just now?” Some dude opened a Go Fund Me page to save Betty White from 2016. Similar sentiments all around for those who entertained us and inspired us throughout our childhoods.
This morning I heard of Debbie Reynolds passing not but one day after her daughter, the majestic Carrie Fisher. I don’t call Carrie Fisher majestic merely for her portrayal of my childhood modern-day-but-not-modern-day princess. She spear-headed many causes but the one that touches me the most is her advocacy of those with mental illness. But, that’s another blog for another time.
Anyway, I heard of Debbie Reynolds and I just cried. Not because I’m a Debbie Reynolds superfan. And not even due to the tragic deaths of daughter then mother. Celebrity deaths make me sad but I don’t really get emotionally involved in them. (Except for Bowie and Prince. Those hit me hard.) I cried because this has just been a shitty year. Not a blanket statement for everyone. Some people had a banner year. Like, say, for instance, Donald Trump. But quite a few people I know and love had the ever-loving-crap kicked out of them in 2016.
Personally, this year has been the hardest of my adult life. It threatened to crush me. I’ve been tested to the very core of who I am and what I am made of. Who will I be when the dust subsides from the rubble? Will I stay buried underneath the rubble in fear of another onslaught of attacks. Or will I stand in the midst of the rubble, dusting myself off, ready to fight for what is most important to me.
I have many friends who have gone through other difficult trials.
A friend diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and his only treatment is to do aggressive chemotherapy indefinitely to lengthen his life, but there will be no cure. He’s phenomenal. He said he was going into this thing head-on because cancer would not crush him. And, for the most part, it hasn’t. He’s extremely tired (massive understatement) and communicates when he can. He’s so gracious and always wants to know how I’m doing. He also apologizes for not communicating very well. I refuse to accept these apologies because he doesn’t need to give them. I’ve told him as much. People always say, “They are the last person that deserves this.” And to be honest, nobody really deserves it. But, seriously, he is the LAST guy to deserve this.
I have friends who lost their unborn child almost half way through their pregnancy. They were able to hold their sweet fragile child before laying him to rest. And they’re digging themselves out from the rubble.
I have multiple friends who have had severe mental health diagnoses: bi-polar, ADD, depression, post-partum depression. All so ugly and difficult to find the right way to maintain. The battle seems uphill at times, finding the right medications to settle what it is going on in your brain and body. And the shame of it only adds to the depth of that struggle. Another reason for my love of Carrie Fisher. She said what she had and said she was not ashamed. It’s a hard aspect to accept about yourself. “I’m here! I’m bi-polar! Get used to it!”
Multiple people who have gone through divorce or separation. The 10-13 year mark seems to be the kicker. It’s hard to know what to do when your marriage isn’t what you thought it would be. Or you grow apart. Or you don’t know how to talk to each other without defenses being up. That’s all I can say to that.
I could go on but does anymore need to be said?
Then you add on the celebrity deaths. Some that were very hard to take. It’s not that we hold these people up to be gods (most of us, anyway) but because they influenced our lives. David Bowie influenced my life. I went through all of his phases from Glam Rock to him “Dancing in the Streets” with Mick Jagger. I haven’t brought myself to listen to his posthumously released album. I’m not ready. Isn’t that weird? I never knew him but I feel I did. I’m not ready to go through his things yet.
And Prince. Dear Lord, Prince. As a kid I felt like such a rebel listening to tracks like “Darling Nikki.” Because I was like, 7, and it was rebellious and wildly inappropriate. (Fun fact: He’s the reason you see Parental Advisory warnings on music now). He could shock you but he was a guitar virtuoso and you could hang on every note strum from each string. I sat there as he played from his guitar in the shape of his Love Symbol at his Superbowl Half-time Show. I sat there, mesmerized. And in his concerts he would just move around the stage, just slaying each instrument he put his hands to. Have you seen him on the drums? Watching him perform was an ethereal experience. Also, do you know how many songs he wrote for other performers? “Nothing Compares to You” by Sinead O’Connor… Prince. “When You Were Mine” by Cyndi Lauper… Prince. “Just Another Manic Monday” by the Bangles… Prince. There’s more recent stuff. For instance, songs sung by Alicia Keyes. I just happen to reside in the 80’s. You should just do the research. I can’t do all the research for you.
Back to my point. 2016 sucked. For those who inspired us from afar to those who inspire us near home. You pray that illnesses will not defeat them. You pray that their relationships will survive and be stronger than they were before. You pray for healing of losing a child, and not even knowing exactly how to pray for that one unless you’ve been through it.
Me? I’m standing here…upon the rubble…dusting myself off.
2017, please be nice to us.