Funniness: DH joined my choir/ Tig Notaro: “Live”

So, it has been an on-and-off weepy couple of days. But it is par for the course, nothing unusual, and I’m trying to remind myself that grieving the loss of a baby, starting a very wonky and gruesome menstrual period, responding to a tax audit (for our 27K 2012 medical expense claim–I have every receipt and how uplifting to organize and calculate all the $ that is gone), facing Christmas without pregnancy or buying nursery/baby items or celebrating with my family, facing the New Year and my 40th birthday (ugh eek no no) in January and another transfer in early spring (I’m waiting an extra month–will not be ready in Feb, no) and all that might come with it—this shit is not for the faint-hearted. And the Zoloft (which I’ve been calling “Zolo,” in an attempt to befriend it) is making me feel like a zombie, and the zombie-ness seems to lead to weepiness. But wait—isn’t it supposed to be staving off weepiness? No, must wait a few weeks to see where this goes, and what it is ultimately able to do for me…

Time is my ally, time is my ally—this is my new mantra. Sometimes I believe it. Other times I just repeat it through a forced grin and gritted teeth.

Sense of humor has saved my soul more than once on this journey, and I want to share a couple of things with you on that front that might make you smile, too. Humor is a huge part of my relationship with DH. My extended family is made up of a bunch of storytellers, jokers, and game-players. My best girlfriends are the ones I laugh the hardest with. I know that if I can manage to attract more funniness into my life, I have a better shot at triumphing over this depression.

Three night ago I had a dream so sad I don’t even want to write about it, but two nights ago, I had a dream that made me wake up with not a forced grin but a real one.

DH joined my choir

In high school, I was in a show choir. Go ahead and laugh at that alone. Yes, I wore what amounted to a blue lace prom dress and sang solos on stages and in nursing homes and at the mall, Manhattan Transfer numbers such as “Tuxedo Junction.” I was the dance captain of our 16-person gang of tuxedoed guys and blue-lace ladies, and I loved singing and performing.

DH was not a show choir kind of kid in high school. He was punk rock and cool. He most definitely did not own any cassette-tape soundtracks of Les Mis, Phantom, or Cats. And not Godspell. Definitely not Godspell.

But in my dream, DH had joined my show choir!

He and I were the age we are now, but the rest of the show choir still looked like they did in high school. We were at some sort of giant outdoor pool, which was filled with people, and we were supposed to get up on stage and perform at any moment. I was wearing the black dress I wore to my MSW graduation ceremony, and he was wearing a tuxedo. The crowd was laughing and talking, and we kept waiting to be called up onto stage. I was concerned it was taking so long for our performance to begin. But DH wasn’t worried in the least. When I found him, he was lounging in a giant bing-bag chair at the side of the pool, chatting with some people. His arms and legs were splayed, and his bow tie hung loose around his neck. “Why haven’t we been called up to the stage yet I wonder?” I asked him, trying to sound casual.

“Aw, don’t worry, baby,” DH said, all 70’s disco cool-guy. He was smiling warmly at me. “It’ll happen.”

“But what if we don’t remember the dance moves?” I asked. “Do you remember them? When the captain showed them to us, it was so quick, it was over before we knew it.”

“It’s nothing, it’s easy, baby,” DH said. “Here, lemme show you.”

He got up out of the bing-bag chair and did a few micro-small dance steps, barely moving his feet, barely moving his arms, but looking so freaking cool. “That’s it,” he said, shrugging. “We got this. You and me—we got this!” I started doing the dance moves with him.

But we were never called up on stage. Before I knew it, we were riding away from the stage in an open-air trolley.

“We never got to perform,” I said to DH, and he said, “Don’t worry, they’re going to call us back some other day.”  He had his arm around me, the sun was setting, he was smiling, and I was beginning to smile with him.

Yep, a not-so-subtle dream! Anyone who read this post from three days ago can figure out pretty quickly what it’s referring to. When I told DH about the dream in the shower the next morning, we laughed and laughed.

Tig Notaro: Live

The other thing I came across recently that made me laugh was Tig Notaro’s stand-up comedy performance “Live.” I have my reader Kali to thank for this, as it was referred to in a Slate article she linked to me. Thank you Kali!

In Aug 2012, Tig Notaro was scheduled to perform stand-up in LA, before she knew what was going to happen to her. What happened was this: she was diagnosed with cancer in both breasts. She ended up performing anyway—three days later. Seriously. Three days after finding out that she had cancer in both breasts, super-agressive cancer that they thought had most likely spread to her lymph nodes, she went up on stage to perform comedy. 

It is one of the most brilliant, resilient, inspiring, hilarious, herculean performances I’ve ever heard. I think any time I am feeling really awful about things I am just going to listen to it again. And again. I listened to it three times in one day when I first discovered it.

Cancer was only part of what she was going through. She had, very recently, survived a string of tragedies—telling you what they were will take away from the impact of hearing her describe it in her performance. But she experienced a lot of bad stuff in a row.

At one point in the performance, she says: “But you know what’s nice about all of this is that you can always rest assured that God never gives you more than you can handle. Never. Never. When you’ve had it, God goes, All right, that’s it. I just keep picturing God going, You know what? I think she can take a little more. [Laughter.]

And then the angels are standing back going, God, what are you doing? Are you out of your mind?

And God was like, No, no, no. I really think she can handle this.

But why, God? Like, why? Why?

I don’t know. I just, you know—just trust me on this.”

Another bit I love from the performance: “I was walking to the grocery store, and I’m just like, What am I doing? Why am I even buying food? Why am I trying to sustain this? Nourish my body so I can stick around just to get more bad news? [Laughter.] Gotta keep myself alive so my ears work and I can hear horrible things. [Laughter.]”

That’s my sense of humor exactly. I love this woman.

Louis CK said about “Live”: “The thing that Tig was doing was something I haven’t seen, which is telling you what it feels like to just have learned this, and she’s not complaining. She’s just observing. So, you know, I was proud of the way she was processing her tough news, and I was also proud of the way she was giving it to people, something they’re going to get from it and that audience got, especially, and I got, which is if you have this funny explosion of laughter in the scariest, scariest depths of your fears, next time you see that fear again, you’re going to remember the laugh. It’s going to be there for you.” ~

Which is precisely why I am passing on this recommendation to you. Maybe it can be one small thing that helps in a large way, to remember the laugh, the laugh in the scariest depths of fear. It’s something I know I’m looking for.

Tig Notaro says this about her experience with tragedy: “Everything negative has birthed amazing and positive things, and enlightening things for me. And people tend to think oh, poor Tig, she’s alone and I just—there’s just no–nobody should be concerned for me. All is well. And the cancer has just been this—just explosive. I’m typically more private and this is something that is pushing me so far out there in a way that has never been. I have no complaints. My life is tremendously wonderful.” ~

Leave a comment


  1. I like this quote (in your post) of Tig’s:

    “When you’ve had it, God goes, All right, that’s it. I just keep picturing God going, You know what? I think she can take a little more. [Laughter.]”

    I picture God looking at me saying that. And I throw up my hands because surely some good will come of it, some nugget of wisdom, truth, understanding, appreciation…surely…

    Hugs to you my friend! Looks like God is pretty confident that you can handle more than the average person!


    • Yeah, God really needs to take a little break and reassess. I mean, COME ON. I always say to DH: “I’m not superhuman!” And lately he’s been going, Well, maybe you kind of are. Because shit. This is bad. And God is like, “You ain’t seen nothing yet, just wait until you try to adopt, it’s going to blow your mind.” I owe you a big fat email. (:

  2. You had me laughing at ‘Zolo’! She’s certainly no friend of mine! Maybe if I called her something nicer she would work a little better… Hmmm.

    Thanks for this post- Have a happy holiday.

    • I’m sorry she’s a beeyatch to you, too. I’m hoping we develop a more symbiotic relationship. Today was a little better. Happiness and peace to you, too!

  3. I haven’t used antidepressants myself but friends have told me that it makes things actually worse for a short period of time before they get better, so that might explain the weepiness. I will definitely have to look up that Tig routine!

    • Ah, good! I mean, bad! I mean—it is what it is, etc. Actually, today I felt semi-human hmmmm…I was just admiring your sense of humor on your blog (you funny!) and am following it now. (I am not awesome about checking my blogger blogs but getting better at it.) My ex-husband used to say to me: “We have to stop getting so mad and sad and get funny!” Get funny, Zolo, Tig, and me. xo

  4. Oh hun, I love this post. I am so going to check out Tig on the break so thank you for that. And I love your dream. I love that the universe has balanced out your horribly sad dream with a funny one. It’s moments like these that allow us to exist in the space in between. Balancing the sadness with lightness. Hang on to that. Huge hugs sweetie, thinking of you always xxx

    • Oh yeah, Tig would be a good addition to your movie line-up for sure! I know you know all too well that up and down, give and take, of recovery time, and what’s required to stay sane. I used to write short stories and one of my grad profs used to say that a good short story is a constant balancing act of light and dark, levity and gravity. Reminds me of that. I’m thinking of you too everyday and what is growing for you this Christmas…

  5. Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

    About turning 40 – that was the best year of my life (despite the multiple miscarriages) because I conceived the only living baby we’ve ever had when I was 40. May 40 be your magic number, too. I’m hopeful for you. With all the work you’ve done (albeit some of it at God’s insistence), you will be an amazing mother. May 2014 be your year.

    • Thank you! Man, I would be thrilled if 40 is my year! The year that turns everything around. If not, I’m trying to accept that, and am starting work now on that acceptance. NOT EASY. But after what happened I have to hold this all lightly as I can and strive to keep in touch with the now. But then I think: No matter what, I can make 2014 my year… my year maybe in unexpected ways. Thank you as always for your good wishes.

  6. I know this was not the point of your post but now I’m scared of a tax audit as our medical deduction will be similar. Ugh… Back to my spreadsheet to make sure all my ducks are in a row!


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