Finding Light Amongst the Darkness


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Jonathan Van Ness, host of the hit series Gay of Thrones 

 

Last week I wrote about my friend who fell and suffered a concussion. Shortly after I published that post, he had two strokes. I just received word that he’s being taken off life support tonight, and I’m in complete shock. I’ve been close with this vibrant, loving, wonderful man for almost a decade. I’ve cared for his grandchildren and he frequently took care of my girls as well. To think of him gone is bizarre. It pisses me off. He’s one of the finest people I’ve ever met.

I was hoping a miracle would pull him through. I’ve witnessed a health miracle once before in my life. My Dad had a pulmonary embolism and according to his doctors, the blood clot should’ve killed him. When I went to visit my father at St. John’s Health Center, he was attached to various tubes and heavily sedated. I thought there was no way in hell he’d make it out of there alive. To my complete amazement, he pulled through that crisis and lived a couple more years.

So, ever since my friend’s fall, each day I’ve gotten out of bed fervently hoping for a similar miracle, yet filled with dread, wondering if I’d find out that he passed away.

Those of you who have read Birth of a New Brain for a while know that I ruminate on upsetting things more than most people. It has been essential to distract myself from my macabre thoughts with humor and fantasy whenever possible. It’s not so easy to do that, as simple as it sounds.

Have you ever heard of a show called Game of Thrones? 😉

Since its 2011 premiere, I was aware of the HBO series’ massive popularity. Even my favorite singer Neil Finn sings about the show in his catchy song Recluse on the Dizzy Heights album;  Finn’s reference piqued my interest more than anything else:

I make any excuse to stay home
But I can’t do that and I must come back
People that stay at home
Watching a Game of Thrones
And wondering what comes next
Well you can’t do that and you must come back

Recluse by Neil Finn

However, I never felt like taking the plunge to watch Game of Thrones until last week when I ordered the first Thrones disc via Netflix.  After ten minutes of Episode One, I was so grossed out that I screeched like an owl.  I wasn’t hooked, to say the least! I turned off my DVD player with a sigh. (Craig was hanging out with our girls in another room as Thrones ain’t exactly akin to The Wiggles!)

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However, the next day I was mysteriously compelled to watch the rest of the Thrones episode. Weird! I watched the second episode…I wanted more. Like it or not, I was under the Thrones spell. Being impatient for Netflix to bring me yet more Thrones, I thought I might find the third episode for free online, so I Google-searched. I couldn’t find anything that didn’t require payment until this winsome fellow lit up my screen, and, my life:

JONATHAN VAN NESS

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I love JVN…and his hair!

Jonathan is the host of Funny or Die’s super-hit show Gay of Thrones in which he briefly recaps Game of Thrones episodes in his inimitable way. As I watched his first recap I laughed out loud so hard that everyone in the house scurried over to my room to make sure I was okay. My laughing uproariously ’round here is extremely rare, you see. Lucy barked so much that you’d think someone was robbing the house.

Please note: If you think you might be offended by any of the following, please skip the next clip: graphic violence, foul language, marijuana references, Game of Thrones spoilers, poking fun at the gay hairdressing world (but by an authentically gay hairdresser) and many other things I’m sure I’m forgetting to include. I know I’ll lose some followers by sharing my brand of humor, but to be honest, I’ve always loved bawdy, clever comedy. My predilection for the profane is actually a large part of who I am…when it hasn’t been blasted away by bipolar depression.  I’ve kept this aspect of myself under wraps, more or less, until now.

I was hesitant to share this post, but I gotta be me!

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Jonathan’s recaps get better and more far out with each episode! He features hilarious clients/co-stars in his styling chair, some of whom actually appear on Game of Thrones. There’s even a brilliant Princess Bride-esque cameo by George R.R. Martin. Martin wrote the fantasy novels (A Song of Ice and Fire) that the Game of Thrones show is based upon.

Until the next Thrones season arrives, Jonathan is working on other projects apart from his full-time hair design. Today his new podcast Getting Curious will be launched on Maximum Fun about Sunni Shia relations.

Jonathan also collaborates with his friend and client Margaret Cho. You can listen to their podcast on Monsters of Talk hosted by Cho and Jim Short.

Jonathan’s YouTube channel show Gay of Everything premiered last week in which he discusses world events.

In a small-but-inspiring touch of synchronicity, Jonathan works at Sola  Salon Studios which is right near where my beloved Granny lived for many years.

I call that a Good Sign!

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Now that I’ve got that out of my system…(well, for now, anyway!)

Other not-quite-so-exciting news: last week I surprised myself by taking a cold-turkey break from Twitter. I didn’t think I could do it, but I did! Today is day #7, and I don’t miss it very much. I was becoming too wrapped up in Twitter-land, a la Facebook, which some of you will recall I quit because I got unfriended twice in one week.

I didn’t have anything super-negative happen on Twitter, thank God, but I read a few tweets from a postpartum organization I followed & supported & genuinely liked very much. I  was frankly shocked they tweeted them for I found those characters offensive and disappointing. I questioned the organization about it, but they patronized me. My reaction to these unethical, hypocritical tweets told me it was time to take a break.

Despite icky tweets, etc. that are inevitable when using social media, Twitter holds a special place in my heart. I would love to return there in January, but only if I can keep my Twitter use & reactions to a low roar. 😉

Plus Jonathan VanNess is on it, so that’s a big plus: @thegayofthrones

I send each of you a big hug and hopes that you have a holiday (or non-holiday) that surpasses your expectations! (In a most excellent way!)

love,

Dyane

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Walker Karraa (author of Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth) will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.

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Resting

This will be a rather short post.

Instead of my typical 1500+ rambling word slush pile, I’m aiming for half of that. It’s good, I guess, because I’m sure you’re busy. Additionally I’ve read that it’s best to keep blog posts around 600 words to attract the most readers. While I’ve completely ignored that dictum, I have no delusions of this becoming a mega-popular blog. 

So…

Last Saturday morning I felt healthy as a horse.

Wait a minute. Why do we silly humans say that phrase?

“Healthy as a horse” comes from a time when health was equated with strength. Presumably, anyone who’s strong is healthy (unless you’re Arnold Schwarzenegger – hope I don’t offend any A.S. fans!) and in olden times a horse was an excellent example of a large, strong animal.

Therefore, one who hoped to be as “healthy” as a horse was; i.e. to be able to pull one’s own weight, endure rough conditions, and ride all day and night. 

As you know, horses were often used as idioms for other signs of strength or largeness. (You’ll note I’m leaving out a raunchy example.)

There are: 

“Eat like a horse” (which I do) and “Work like a horse” (which I don’t). 

Last Saturday morn it was a sunshiny day, and I was feeling fine and dandy and equine-ish. I had fun recording my vlog with Miss Lucy. Together we conjured up names for phantom Big Pharma meds. The post received some creative replies that were a hoot! You can read it here:

https://dyaneharwood.wordpress.com/2015/09/26/new-contest-your-suggestions-for-big-pharma-med-names/

But then, woe was me. That same evening I went from being healthy as a horse to sick as a…I don’t want to write “dog” because that has been overdone and my dog is very healthy, knock on wood, thank you very much! – how about sick as Donald Trump?!

I was befallen by my first creeping crud cold of the fall season. I usually get a cold each Halloween. (That’s a big bummer since Halloween is my favorite day of the year.) But I got my cold early and I’ve felt inhuman for the past three days.

I’m coming out of the snot/cough-fest now, but I’m wiped out.

Because of that, I’m resting. Ahhh yes.

I’m so grateful I’ve been able to rest.

Thank God Craig drove the kids to school the past two mornings to help me out. I call the elementary school parking lot the 10th Circle of Dante’s Inferno; it’s where the other parent drivers are off-the-hook rude/aggressive/mean/zombie-like. If you enter that zone, you need to be on it in terms of driving agility. 

Apart from my cold affecting me, guess who chose last Friday night to go off Seroquel again? (with her psychiatrist’s blessing, of course.) Me! Lucky me!

Here’s an equation to express my current state:

Seroquel withdrawal + a nasty cold = you wouldn’t want to be near me today

Those of us who have bipolar know that things could be MUCH worse. That fact never escapes me. But having a cold, feeling drained, and not being able to take my nightly 15mg “golden handcuff” pill has made me one helluva  whiny baby. To cheer myself up, I’ve been watching some television programs that I want to share with you.

They are:

1) The entire four seasons of BBC’s Scott and Bailey series (This is episode one) This is a show created by women featuring two high-ranking female police detectives in jolly good Manchester, England. Scott and Bailey rocks. This kind of show isn’t usually my cup of tea, but it’s SO good in heaps of ways that I’m hooked! It can be gory, though, so be warned, but it’s not nearly as gross as the U.S. police dramas.

2) Ridiculous pranks that have made my girls laugh incredibly hard – these videos have also served to give us some “educational moments”, i.e., “Girls, don’t do that!” The link to some of that silliness is here

That’s it. I hope you enjoy listening to “Resting”, one of my favorite Tim Finn songs. The New Zealand-born Tim Finn co-founded Split Enz and sang in Crowded House with his brother Neil Finn. “Resting”, from Tim’s solo album Imaginary Kingdom, is a truly soothing song and I love it!

take care, take your vitamin C etc., and I’ll be back next week with a follow-up to the Hawaii post.

Dyane

p.s. On a totally unrelated note, after publishing 300 posts I discovered that if one lists more than 15 tags (including categories) on a post, then the tags won’t work on WordPress. Big whoops! Did all of you know that but me? Well, better late than never, right? Ever since I figured this out I’ve gotten a flurry of followers who were able to find me.

Dyane Leshin-Harwood’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press next year.