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I had a temper tantrum in my head and other sad junk

Oh hi. Today I feel pent up and miserable and I’m angry at people for no good reason and I feel like I’m having a tiny temper tantrum in my head which is fine except I’m too old for temper tantrums and it’s a fairly unpleasant feeling. I took a shower earlier hoping to wash it away but I was mad at the way the water came out of the shower head. Now I’m writing about it here hoping to put some of it somewhere instead of all of it everywhere. I think the most unsettling part is that my emotions are so disconnected from my thoughts right now. Except for the asshole of a shower head, none of the targets of my cranky anger are deserving, at least not for any reason I know. I think I’m just mad. At everything. And at nothing. But more at everything.

And perhaps it’s hormonal because I think I’m pre-menstrual. And that makes me mad because of all the complications to my cycle from endometriosis which is a whole big thing which is out of my control and which involves  other people telling me I HAVE to do this (have surgery) or HAVE to do that (take hormones) and I HATE anyone telling me I HAVE to do anything.

But I don’t really even think it’s that. I don’t know WHAT it is.

And I spent time yesterday trying to list in my head all the things I’m grateful for. And there’s a lot. But I’m also in a whiny irritable shitty mood and I’d rather focus on the pile of bullshit sitting on my ottoman that I’ve been thinking I need to go through and clean up (in fact I wrote it down on my to do list) instead of the good things. But I don’t want to actually go through it. I just want to hate it.

And I’m thirsty and there is a drink sitting two feet away from me but I don’t want to drink it, I just want to feel sorry for myself that I’m thirsty and angry that I’m feeling this way.

Okay, the actual thirst just overtook the metaphorical thirst.

I spent last Saturday at the hospital with my parents because my dad was experiencing atrial fibrillation which is where your heart starts beating erratically. It’s not life-threatening, but it’s something that needs to be treated with either a big jolt of electricity or drugs. In some cases the heart will correct itself. The emergency room opted for the electricity which involved sedating my dad until he was asleep and then giving him a jolt that would cause the heart to contract and then begin beating normally. Like restarting a computer.

I’m not someone who likes to see people altered–I don’t enjoy seeing them drunk or on drugs or basically suffering anything that changes the person’s fundamental boundaries/awareness and so I probably should have left the room as they were sedating my dad because–and this isn’t the first time I’ve seen this–people become chatty and uncensored as the layers of higher brain function are peeled back, ultimately revealing the person’s undefended core. I should say that my dad didn’t say anything nuts or weird–it wasn’t like that. Instead he talked, with increased slurring and enthusiasm, about where he was born, about the food in Brooklyn, about an anaesthesiologist he thought was fantastic because he “didn’t pay attention to the rules.” The doctors and nurses in the room were only half-listening, murmuring an occasional “uh-huh,” just waiting for the drugs to take effect enough to go through with the procedure. I was nervously hanging on every word though, wondering where it was going to go, preemptively embarrassed and uneasy.

I felt sorry for my dad and sad that he’d been chemically reduced to a state where no one was listening, where he was an old man rambling about the past, mentioning names of people he loved and telling stories about what they were going through, names which held meaning for him and for my mom and me but may as well have been imaginary friends to the doctors and nurses. “He keeps talking about someone named Shelly,” you could imagine them thinking.

Though I’m growing to accept the increasing frailties that come with age, I’m still not ready to see a parent half naked on a gurney with big adhesive paddles stuck to both sides of the chest, tubes everywhere, pawing at the seemingly uncomfortable blood pressure cuff (the result was about 7 people quickly admonishing  him as you would a wandering drunk you ordered to stay in a chair), disconnected from reality enough that instead of addressing the actual situation (the closest he got was at one point announcing, “I forgot I was in the hospital. I had a dream I was fishing!”) he was instead taking disinterested listeners on a trip down memory lane. In the same way that a scrapbook holds significance for the person who keeps it and their loved ones but likely leaves strangers cold, in the same way it’s ultimately just a collection of ticket stubs and pressed flowers and yellowed newspaper clippings which, divorced of their context, are just so much paper– just so much energy–so too are the memories kicked up by a brain that’s under duress. And though you see countless YouTube videos documenting people coming in and out of anesthesia, for some reason, to me, it’s just unbearably sad. People, in their most vulnerable state, clinging to their collections of prize memories, associations and names, to me are just unbearably sad.

Perhaps most shocking was that after they’d administered the final dose of anesthetic, when the slurring was most intense, when he’d already announced “it’s working” and let his head fall back for a few beats, his jaw rhythmically opening and shutting in his closed mouth as if he was dreaming he was eating a hamburger, he popped back up to talk some more and said two perfectly formed sentences about his love and concern for his family. Beyond the chatter about where he interned as a young doctor, the food in Brooklyn, the hospital where he was born, beyond all of that, at his most naked and reduced, was this very real and raw statement about what’s weighing on him and what matters to him.

And even though there’s nothing tragic on the face of it, it’s actually kind of sweet, every time I think about it I end up crying.

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  • Hey Alison, this feels very real (the first part) and it's so very touching (the second part). It makes me feel like I should call my old man on the other part of the world, in the south of Italy. Maybe I should just do that and just talk about nothing for a little bit, so that his voice is with me for the night. Maybe I should just do that. Thanks 🙂

  • Couchboy

    Its scary seeing the person who raised you in a vulnerable state

  • Emilyc

    Oh, love. 

  • Alison, this is really lovely.  I'm sorry you're in a bad mood – I have been too lately, and also for no great reason in a largely super-happy and super-fortunate life.  I love you on the podcast.  Keep it up.

  • Smirkey1

    Big hugs and nods of understanding

  • Hey Alison, this feels very real (the first part) and it’s so very touching (the second part). It makes me feel like I should call my old man on the other part of the world, in the south of Italy. Maybe I should just do that and just talk about nothing for a little bit, so that his voice is with me for the night. Maybe I should just do that. Thanks 🙂

  • Couchboy

    Its scary seeing the person who raised you in a vulnerable state

  • Emilyc

    Oh, love. 

  • Alison, this is really lovely.  I’m sorry you’re in a bad mood – I have been too lately, and also for no great reason in a largely super-happy and super-fortunate life.  I love you on the podcast.  Keep it up.

  • Smirkey1

    Big hugs and nods of understanding

  • boinkity

    This is going to seem very stupid, but I am going to share anyway. Today, I watched Ghostbusters for the first time in many years. I was remembering that Bill Murray was once the epitome of cool, and how he seems to still seem pretty cool as he ages. Unfortunately, Art of Translation also was on later on in the day. It surprised me at how sad I became. Not just because the movie was bland, but Bill Murray just did not seem to be a cool guy in this movie. I wonder if this is partly because I used to try to emulate Bill Murray when I was in my teens. Now that I'm older, I think I am also… a little bland. I am being a little selfish with my feelings, but sometimes we all need to reflect on life.

  • Starlitdreamzz

    Brought me to tears. i understand entirely and apppreciate your ability to communicate your experience.

  • The40yroldvirgin

    Alison,
    Good on you for ranting and expressing your feelings, your fans are here to listen, and lend support, no judgement. I understand what you are going through. Please hang in there. You are such a great talent and have brought so much joy to us in our bad times.I don’t know what else we can do for you, sitting at computer a thousand miles away. All I can say is that we will keep you and your family in prayer. I know easy it is for us to focus on the negatives in life. I just got back from a trip to Africa, and after returning the small things I was complaining about here in the US seemed in significant. I’m not saying that your medical problems, and your dads problems are insignificant… What I am say is that maybe you need to take sometime off and go for a vacation. Vacations sometimes can help reset our lives, and give us some perspective. Well please feel free to rant to your fans anytime, no judgement. We are hear to listen and lend support anytime.

    Hang in there, our podcasting angel…..

    God Bless,

    40  _ 🙂

  • internet friend

    You’re very talented, Alison. I’m sorry about your father. I’m glad he’s alright.

  • What a beautifully vivid picture of your dad and your empathy and love for him-

     “In the same way that a scrapbook holds significance for the person who
    keeps it and their loved ones but likely leaves strangers cold, in the
    same way it’s ultimately just a collection of ticket stubs and pressed
    flowers and yellowed newspaper clippings which, divorced of their
    context, are just so much paper.”………Holy ass that is a perfect metaphor.

    *Virtual cyber hug to Alison*

  • boinkity

    This is going to seem very stupid, but I am going to share anyway. Today, I watched Ghostbusters for the first time in many years. I was remembering that Bill Murray was once the epitome of cool, and how he seems to still seem pretty cool as he ages. Unfortunately, Art of Translation also was on later on in the day. It surprised me at how sad I became. Not just because the movie was bland, but Bill Murray just did not seem to be a cool guy in this movie. I wonder if this is partly because I used to try to emulate Bill Murray when I was in my teens. Now that I’m older, I think I am also… a little bland. I am being a little selfish with my feelings, but sometimes we all need to reflect on life.

  • If you wrote as much as you talked, you would have to talk less and get to write more. 

  • Senor Loché

    Hey Alison. The only words of comfort I can offer is that it’s OK to feel this way and you’re doing the best thing by letting it out. Now stop it, give your head a shake and be thankful for all the talent you have and the really nice person you seem to be (I’m sure you are).

  • Nothing worst than realizing your parents are actually human. Growing old, seeing their flaws, etc…

  • Rognog

    I love your pods Alison, but, oh my god I would love to read the ‘hater’ comments after this – they must be sanguinely sublime – but I’m not a great person sometimes.  Best wishes, your pops will be fine, take a mydol and go easy on your ‘my boyfriend’ – that poor, poor guy

    Bye.  I love you in the podcast way that you love us, you guys.

  • Thomas Wilson

    Love you Alison, the fable that you aren’t entitled to feel shitty from time to time is a pretty recent phenomena and seems to me to born more from wishful thinking than reality. Feel however you want to feel but realize you are loved and appreciated in ways you will never know.

  • I haven’t read anything as eloquent as your post in a long time.  Thank you (and sorry to hear about the “sad junk”)

  • Caitlin Smith

    First of all, I’m so sorry to hear that your dad had to go through this and that you, by extension, had to experience this as well. Seeing a parent helpless when there is a medical crisis is the most complicated confusing, depressing, sad, anger-inspiring thing to happen to a child. My dad was in the ICU in an induced coma for 12 days when I was 21 (I’m now a seasoned 34). Needless to say, at 21 I was not totally capable of seeing the big picture and spent most of the time alternating between crying jags and pouring all of my attention to the new guy I had just started dating, But more than that everyone and everything annoyed me and I wanted to tell anyone and anything that looked mildly happy, including the sun, to fuck right off. It’s so so hard seeing your dad vulnerable like that and there’s no real guide for how the rest of the family is supposed to act. 
    I’m the mother of two little girls– Pearl is 7 weeks old and Cleo is 2. Because of a pretty traumatic birth involving an emergency c-section, I’ve spent more time in the last 7 weeks in various states of crying, anger, and then shame at my emotion. As I live in Santa Cruz, I’m trying really hard to be very hippy dippy about it all and take a page from the teachings of mindfulness and not judge my emotions as they flutter or stomp across my psyche. But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been taking them out on my husband. Cue therapy. Let me say that by relating this I am not in any way trying to be a one-upper… It just sounds like you’ve had a shitty time of it lately and I’ve always thought you were someone that I could relate to. I’ve listened to you since day 1 on the podcast and you and the gang have been my companion through many a dull day, through waddling pregnant walks, and finally, through some epic middle of the night nursing sessions. Anyways, I’m rambling, and have to get on with my day. I hope everything turns out ok for your dad. And I hope that things look a little sunnier today. But if they don’t, just have yourself a good old fuck off day–sometimes you need it. Big hugs to you…

  • Space Cow

     In the movie “Tootsie” Bill Murray “I had a dream, you were in it but you had big teeth.”  Terry Gar (through the closed door) “I had big what?!?!”  I never thought Murray was cool.  I thought he was an ass, but I still enjoyed his early work, and being the “near” original SNL cast member.

  • Beautifully put Alison.  I'm right there with you and I know how you feel.

  • Mark

    Thank you for sharing these thoughts, I really connected with this for some reason. I think I would feel the same way, so it was nice to read this. Thank you again.

  • Kore

    How do you distinguish between thoughts and feelings?
    Without my thoughts I have no way to experience anything.
    When I understood this it helped me stop stacking mattresses on the pea.
    The Paxil also helps.

  • TrappDog

    Always remember that our lives have 2 purposes. One is to support ARIYNBF. The other, I forget at the moment, but I'll bet it's also something really good.

    Your Dad has probably seen so much of it that it wouldn't bother him, but I relate. I would have appreciated someone having my back like that when I had minor surgery a few years ago. It was after, when they were waking me up that the guy asked me questions. While answering his follow up, I guess I'd continued too long for him, as I could hear him react in a dismissive way. I didn't appreciate that.

    So later I went looking for him and punched him in the nose. Dropped him like a bunch of broccoli as he was standing by the water cooler, no doubt regaling the nurses with tales of his anesthesiological triumphs. “You the Anesthesiologist??” I asked? “Mr Trappdog! How are you feeling?” He happily replied. “Like THIS!” I cried, as I walloped him good.

    A young nurse looked up at me saying, “Hey man, you're looking pretty hot with that IV sticking out of your arm!” “And I'm wearing Daffy Duck underwear, too.” I replied. “I saw him first!” said the second nurse, taking my other arm. “Now, now, ladies, there's plenty of me to go around!” I answered. Together we left the room, me in my hospital gown, they in their sexy nurse outfits.

    Ok, so I embellished the story a bit. It sounded better than my simply having resented that guy for being a dick to someone under anesthesia. 

  • MikeyLikesIt321

    Beside all the cute animal videos of sloth monkeys, baby bats, and the sort, there is a reality that is at times difficult and sad.  When not mad at LA traffic, it is something else like say, a shower head.  But you will eventually go through that pile of shit on your ottoman and feel focused again.  Until then, may you resort to writing these blogs to get it out…they have the ability to help others too. By the name of baby animals everywhere, you (and your dad) shall be okay.

  • Space Cow

     In the movie “Tootsie” Bill Murray “I had a dream, you were in it but you had big teeth.”  Terry Gar (through the closed door) “I had big what?!?!”  I never thought Murray was cool.  I thought he was an ass, but I still enjoyed his early work, and being the “near” original SNL cast member.

  • Ryan

    Beautifully put Alison.  I’m right there with you and I know how you feel.

  • Mark

    Thank you for sharing these thoughts, I really connected with this for some reason. I think I would feel the same way, so it was nice to read this. Thank you again.

  • Kore

    How do you distinguish between thoughts and feelings?
    Without my thoughts I have no way to experience anything.
    When I understood this it helped me stop stacking mattresses on the pea.
    The Paxil also helps.

  • TrappDog

    Always remember that our lives have 2 purposes. One is to support ARIYNBF. The other, I forget at the moment, but I’ll bet it’s also something really good.

    Your Dad has probably seen so much of it that it wouldn’t bother him, but I relate. I would have appreciated someone having my back like that when I had minor surgery a few years ago. It was after, when they were waking me up that the guy asked me questions. While answering his follow up, I guess I’d continued too long for him, as I could hear him react in a dismissive way. I didn’t appreciate that.

    So later I went looking for him and punched him in the nose. Dropped him like a bunch of broccoli as he was standing by the water cooler, no doubt regaling the nurses with tales of his anesthesiological triumphs. “You the Anesthesiologist??” I asked? “Mr Trappdog! How are you feeling?” He happily replied. “Like THIS!” I cried, as I walloped him good.

    A young nurse looked up at me saying, “Hey man, you’re looking pretty hot with that IV sticking out of your arm!” “And I’m wearing Daffy Duck underwear, too.” I replied. “I saw him first!” said the second nurse, taking my other arm. “Now, now, ladies, there’s plenty of me to go around!” I answered. Together we left the room, me in my hospital gown, they in their sexy nurse outfits.

    Ok, so I embellished the story a bit. It sounded better than my simply having resented that guy for being a dick to someone under anesthesia. 

  • boinkity

     Of course he acted like an ass. When I was 15, anyone who acted like an ass, and got away with it was totally..TOTALLY cool! 😀

  • boinkity

     Of course he acted like an ass. When I was 15, anyone who acted like an ass, and got away with it was totally..TOTALLY cool! 😀

  • delfinparis

    One of the smartest things my therapist ever said was that “the only way people build intimacy is through vulnerability.”  In other words, share what's hard.  You just did.  The whole success of my blog is based on this idea.  Also, I would encourage to you to challenge the judgement you have about your feelings.  Sadness, anger, fear, shame – this are all normal and healthy.  Try to stay in them, despite how painful they are.  When you feel yourself judging whether you should be feeling them, that's where you get in trouble.  Lean on your friends for support.

    Now that I've totally fixed you I expect a handmade thank-you card with glued-on glitter and macaroni.  Oh, and do that turkey hand-trace thing.  But draw a dick and balls on the turkey, you know, 'cause you're an adult and that shit's funny.

  • One of the smartest things my therapist ever said was that “the only way people build intimacy is through vulnerability.”  In other words, share what’s hard.  You just did.  The whole success of my blog is based on this idea.  Also, I would encourage to you to challenge the judgement you have about your feelings.  Sadness, anger, fear, shame – this are all normal and healthy.  Try to stay in them, despite how painful they are.  When you feel yourself judging whether you should be feeling them, that’s where you get in trouble.  Lean on your friends for support.

    Now that I’ve totally fixed you I expect a handmade thank-you card with glued-on glitter and macaroni.  Oh, and do that turkey hand-trace thing.  But draw a dick and balls on the turkey, you know, ’cause you’re an adult and that shit’s funny.

  • boinkity

     Dear Penthouse…

  • boinkity

     Dear Penthouse…

  • TrappDog

    Guys, try not to hold this against me, but when I was 17 I actually met Bill Murray! I'll try to be brief, but it's a story I'd like to share, because he was cool to us. And after all, a happy memory reminds us that we take the good as well as the bad. You know, you take the good, you take the bad.. I've heard that somewhere.

    We were on a class trip to nyc to see some museums and then a play. In between, we were free to go off on our own. So a friend and I were walking around, both being guitarists, we went to Sam Ash and Manny's Music, and after, I can't remember the street, we were walking by this one building, and we pass a guy hanging out on the steps by himself, basically just dressed like he wasn't going anywhere, unshaven, etc. We hadn't gone far before we both stopped and looked at each other, “That was Bill Murray..”

    “What should we do?” “Well, let's get an autograph!” So we ran into a store and bought pencils, and I think we just asked for a piece of paper or something, whatever they had in 5 seconds flat, and we made our way back to Bill with these impressive scraps of paper for him to sign!  All an excuse, of course, just to meet him and say hi.

    And he was cool. He wasn't huge yet. “Stripes” had just come out, but we'd seen it already. We walked up to him, trying not to appear too excited, and I did the talking, “Um.. You're Bill Murray, right?” and he nicely nodded his head and said yeah. “Can we have you're autograph?”

    I kid you not, that he replied in a completely Bill Murray-ish , “Well.. Ok, but it's gonna cost ya..” as he took the paper and signed it!

    While he signed, I managed to say some worthwhile things, like “Stripes was great.” which he definitely appreciated, and I also asked, “How's your brother?” which he appreciated as well, although he looked confused at first, understandable since he has more than one brother, but he just said fine, thanks. I was thinking about Brian Doyle Murray. I guess I'd just seen his name in the SNL credits, or maybe he appeared in a sketch or two at the time. He wasn't really known yet.

    Anyway, that's it. For all I know he could be a miserable sob, but he was cool to us that day. He made our trip. That, and the Beefsteak Charlie's restaurant a short time later that actually served us beer with our steaks without asking for ID! Gotta love Manhattan, at least in those days.

    A fun memory for me and my friend.

  • TrappDog

    Guys, try not to hold this against me, but when I was 17 I actually met Bill Murray! I’ll try to be brief, but it’s a story I’d like to share, because he was cool to us. And after all, a happy memory reminds us that we take the good as well as the bad. You know, you take the good, you take the bad.. I’ve heard that somewhere.

    We were on a class trip to nyc to see some museums and then a play. In between, we were free to go off on our own. So a friend and I were walking around, both being guitarists, we went to Sam Ash and Manny’s Music, and after, I can’t remember the street, we were walking by this one building, and we pass a guy hanging out on the steps by himself, basically just dressed like he wasn’t going anywhere, unshaven, etc. We hadn’t gone far before we both stopped and looked at each other, “That was Bill Murray..”

    “What should we do?” “Well, let’s get an autograph!” So we ran into a store and bought pencils, and I think we just asked for a piece of paper or something, whatever they had in 5 seconds flat, and we made our way back to Bill with these impressive scraps of paper for him to sign!  All an excuse, of course, just to meet him and say hi.

    And he was cool. He wasn’t huge yet. “Stripes” had just come out, but we’d seen it already. We walked up to him, trying not to appear too excited, and I did the talking, “Um.. You’re Bill Murray, right?” and he nicely nodded his head and said yeah. “Can we have you’re autograph?”

    I kid you not, that he replied in a completely Bill Murray-ish , “Well.. Ok, but it’s gonna cost ya..” as he took the paper and signed it!

    While he signed, I managed to say some worthwhile things, like “Stripes was great.” which he definitely appreciated, and I also asked, “How’s your brother?” which he appreciated as well, although he looked confused at first, understandable since he has more than one brother, but he just said fine, thanks. I was thinking about Brian Doyle Murray. I guess I’d just seen his name in the SNL credits, or maybe he appeared in a sketch or two at the time. He wasn’t really known yet.

    Anyway, that’s it. For all I know he could be a miserable sob, but he was cool to us that day. He made our trip. That, and the Beefsteak Charlie’s restaurant a short time later that actually served us beer with our steaks without asking for ID! Gotta love Manhattan, at least in those days.

    A fun memory for me and my friend.

  • Ted_Goodlove

    Due to my ADHD I'm unable to read such a long post. It's tough having this disability! Sorry Alison 🙁

  • Ted_Goodlove

    Okay…on a different note! If I read any more fucking articles about the dumb ass ancient Mayans predicting the end of the world I'm going to throw a temper tantrum! Until Trapp writes a song about it I don't give a shit!

  • Ted_Goodlove

    Due to my ADHD I’m unable to read such a long post. It’s tough having this disability! Sorry Alison 🙁

  • Ted_Goodlove

    Okay…on a different note! If I read any more fucking articles about the dumb ass ancient Mayans predicting the end of the world I’m going to throw a temper tantrum! Until Trapp writes a song about it I don’t give a shit!

  • It's hard seeing someone you care about in such a vulnerable position. I had something similar happen to me a few years ago. It's possible your dad was trying in his way to let you know he wasn't scared, which admittedly, is hard when you're in a drug-fogged haze. He didn't want you to be scared, either. 

    It's that loss of control that you haven't seen before, that reminds us we are human beings, after all, and we have to depend on someone else to get us through a difficult time. Hospitals are dehumanizing and can make a patient feel very small and frail.

    I'd hug you if I could. Instead, hug your dad when you get the chance. You'll draw strength from each other.

  • DjWeideman

    It’s hard seeing someone you care about in such a vulnerable position. I had something similar happen to me a few years ago. It’s possible your dad was trying in his way to let you know he wasn’t scared, which admittedly, is hard when you’re in a drug-fogged haze. He didn’t want you to be scared, either. 

    It’s that loss of control that you haven’t seen before, that reminds us we are human beings, after all, and we have to depend on someone else to get us through a difficult time. Hospitals are dehumanizing and can make a patient feel very small and frail.

    I’d hug you if I could. Instead, hug your dad when you get the chance. You’ll draw strength from each other.

  • Joe

    Alison, I hope your dad is OK. He's an amazing person, and I wish him the best. Please let us know what's happening.

  • Joe

    Alison, I hope your dad is OK. He’s an amazing person, and I wish him the best. Please let us know what’s happening.

  • Joe

    Alison, I hope your dad is OK. He's an amazing person, and I wish him the best. Please let us know what's happening.

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