I write this the day before my birthday and three days before my wedding anniversary and two days before my third follow-up to my breast surgery a year and a half ago. My friend who very altruistically had an affair for me (because my diagnosis made her realize life is short and pleasure is well, pleasurable, and she thought we deserved to experience more pleasure), calls from… let’s say Boise (this is the tricky thing with memoir, I’m learning, you want to include the juicy, relevant details, but you don’t want to hurt people). So my friend “Gladys” (side note to all my friends who’ve had affairs, this is not you) has been urging me to see Waitress for months and while I haven’t made the time to do so, I think maybe that’s what I should do the night before my follow-up appointment.
Let me back up:
While I love movies, I rarely take the time to see them in the theater. I wait for DVD. But a year ago when I was scheduled for my first post-surgical check-up, I decided that the thing I should do was go to a movie in a theater where the popcorn-infused lobby, the big dark space, the cushy seats, the Dolby surround sound, the over-sized images on the screen, would transport me out of my neurotically neurotic self and into another world. I wanted something light and mindless and funny. So I chose You, Me and Dupree (the movie with Kate Hudson and Owen Wilson, the guy she ended up leaving her husband for and recently broke up with). Although I have to say I’ve never understood Owen Wilson’s appeal (or her ex-husband’s appeal for that matter) but that’s probably another topic altogether… am I going off on too many tangents (Kristy? Eileen? Someone? Anyone?) I’m brand new to this blogging grogging thing (which I think makes me a virgin. Can I say virgin?), and while I think it’s okay to go off topic, is it okay to go off topic within the topic? Anyway, from the moment the movie started, I was laughing. While I don’t find Owen Wilson appealing, I do think he’s funny, in that goofy way I was craving. I mean when they caught him masturbating (am I allowed to use the word masturbating?) in the living room, it was hilarious. And Kate Hudson was just plain silly in that skinny little Kate Hudson way. I guess I could have gotten a little irritated with how skinny she is. But I didn’t. I just thought she probably hasn’t eaten pasta since she blew up 70 lbs. in her pregnancy and too bad for her. But the movie did exactly what I’d hoped it would. It kept me from obsessing about my appointment for exactly 109 minutes.
Then six months ago, before my one-year check-up, I decided to do the same thing, go to a movie for distraction. This time I had my eye on Little Miss Sunshine. Simple story line: Quirky family does everything in their power to get non-beauty pageant type little girl to beauty pageant. So off I went the night before and laughed so hard I cried. Again, it did exactly what I needed. It took me out of my worst-case scenario head and teetering up that rocky cliff with that little girl in her cowboy boots, laughing the entire way.
And now there’s Waitress that “Gladys” from “Boise” has been urging me to see because she says it answers the question I keep asking her: “How exactly did it happen?” And while it isn’t quite the escapist kind of movie I chose the first time, or the laugh out loud funny movie I chose the second time, and it has a messier, more complicated story line: Depressed pie-making waitress in abusive marriage gets pregnant by abusive husband, feels trapped, has affair with OB, I think it’s the perfect movie to see this time. And this makes me think perhaps I’m in a slightly different place with my fear of recurrence now. While I’m still scared about my check-up, I’m not as compulsively scared as I was the last two times (which kind of scares me because I think I read somewhere that people who don’t think they will have a recurrence have a higher rate of recurrence. Or maybe I didn’t read that at all. I’m not sure). And while I haven’t actually seen Waitress yet, and I’m not sure sure how I will react to it, my willingness to see it makes me think there has been a progression in my way of coping with my fear. Out of mind mindlessness inching towards I don’t know… mindfulness. I know I can’t control the outcome of my tests, but every moment of every day I can choose to live as fully as I allow myself, embracing the good, the bad and the ugly. A progression that I hope mirrors my own. And how does this relate to movies? I am grateful that good movies and good books (like the ones that recently debuted here and the ones soon to debut here again), have the ability to makes us laugh and cry and think. Especially when we need them most.
27 Replies to “Skinny Kate Hudson and Cowboy Boots and “Gladys” and Mindfulness by Deb Gail”
Gail, you make a lovely virgin (thank goodness not a masturbating one!). I’m with you–nothing like humor to diffuse the pain in life, is there? I haven’t seen Waitress yet but if you’re looking for a really feel-good movie, definitely go see Hairspray–you just want to eat it up! And I’m so glad they gave you two thumbs up!
Deb, I’m a breast cancer survivor, 7 years now, and I can remember lying on the couch, watching Galaxy Quest on video about 5 times. I still love that movie whenever I catch it.
I saw Waitress. It’s slow, but I thought it was excellent. I’m going to see Hairspay this week as a reward for finishing a rough revision. 🙂
Gail, you’re absolutely right. Life has a way of hitting us upside the head sometimes and if after we find we haven’t been completely obliterated, then it’s best to escape somewhere to numb the pain a bit. I’ve been doing this with books and, really, they’ve saved my sanity. Reading this funny, quirky post has, too. And, no, you can’t say those things, but glad you did, you virgin you.
Okay, Gail, you’re still a Deb, but you’re no longer a virgin. Hope it was good for you; I guarantee i enjoyed it! I’m right there with you in enjoying the escapism of movies, books, whatever. Hope the check-up went swimmingly and happy birthday and anniversary, too.
Speaking of masterbating (we were speaking of masterbating, were we not?) and the movie Me and Dupree… a friend relayed a story about how she was watching that movie with her mother of all people, and as she was relaying this story, she said, “I”m sitting there with my mother, and the next thing you know Owen Wilson’s on a bean bag shucking bubba!”
Shucking Bubba? For cripes sake. I had never laughed so hard in all of my life, nor had I ever heard that term.
Gail, you are a welcome addition to the fabulous Debs group and I look forward to reading more of your thoughts (no matter how far off a tangent you go!)
Great post, Gail. I, too have used movies and books as “medicine” for an unquiet mind. It sounds like you’re doing all the right things for yourself and I love your attitude.
Looking forward to many more rambles. (And wait till you see me go off topic!)
I love this post and feel like I have such a delightful sense of who you are. I saw Little Miss Sunshine on cable (after watching it when it came out on DVD) and once I again, I could not help crying at the end when the whole family got up and started dancing to Rick James! Movies and books have always been the ultimate vehicles to transport me from whatever it is I need a break from.
In addition to indulging in a bit of escapism, Gail, it sounds as though you’re a tad superstitious as well. Nothing wrong with that, is there? Whatever routine keeps bringing good news just stay with it and Happy celebrations to you!
I LOVED the movie Waitress. I blogged about it last may.
Great first dance, Gail.
Happy first dance Gail! May you have many more tangents!
Great post to start off the new season, Gail!
First check of my e-mail in days. In NYC to run a half marathon (day before yesterday) and I am VERY sore but delighted with this amazing welcome to the site. Wow!
My check-up was fine. Looking forward to getting to know ALL of you!
More when I get home,
Ah, welcome to blogging, Gail! Waitress is a great, messy movie about real people – – I’d love to hear what you think!
Congrats on the great check up. I know every time I go into the doctor right now I wait for the other Jimmy Choo to drop. (Ok, chick lit cliche’)
I’ve been seeing a lot of movies lately but haven’t lost myself in any of them. I think I’m too tired from the surgury, then Chemo and now starting Radiation to really think about where I am and the journey. Besides, when I try to hide from emotions, they tend to slap me in the face. When I lost a baby stillborn at 6 months, I rented three movies, one that I knew would be a tear jerker and had a pregnant woman in it (that really old Keena Reeves movie where he pretends to be the lady’s boyfriend as she’s knocked up and going home) and two action packed flicks mostly for the non-emotional storyline. Both other movies had pregnancy’s in them, Braveheart and Patriat Games.
I have been able to lose myself in reading and the books I’ve been packing have made all the waiting bearable. That’s where Barnes and Noble should open a bookstore, local hospitals! It would make it so much easier to find reading material, especially for cancer patients as getting to another store is just too much sometimes.
Nice post, I’ll be bookmarking the site to keep up with all of you debs!
I’m back and I just wanted thank all of you who took the time to read my post. I look forward to reading all of your blogs (that’s blog talk, right?). Update: I saw Waitress and LOVED it! Except for the ending which I thought was a little unrealistic. But the acting, the characters, the friendship between the women–all fantastic! Also, as I mentioned above, my check up was all clear and I have semi-recovered from running the half marathon this past weekend. Although the whole second half I thought, I’d rather be doing yoga! Gail
You run marathons, you’re a survivor, you’re a fabulous writer. You’re amazing.
I’m glad your check-up went well. Lots more to come.
Gosh Lisa, you know how to make a girl cry. Thanks, Gail
Gail, what an awesome post! I’d say you blogged more like an East Side hooker than a virgin! I love how you made rambling thoughts into a neat little cohesive package. Great job!
You’re funny, Monnik. East Side hooker, huh?
Posting here reminds me of the time I attended a Romance Writers of New Jersey meeting as the only male in the room, but what the heck, I’ve always enjoyed the company of women, and Gail, you’re always worth reading. Congrats and good luck. And since I’m off for my three-year blood test Friday, your inspiration was well-timed. I’ll be back to the Debutante Ball. These female gatherings must be monitored.
my sister is working on Kate Hudson’s current movie with Dane Cook, being filmed in Boston. I can’t report on whether Kate is presently skinny, but I can say that I ADORE (can I say “adore”?) your writing and as usual, I laughed and gulped at what you have to say. I’ll get back to you on Kate.
Speaking for the cuckolds (can I say “cuckolds”?) I’d say that a study guide on the causes of affairs might be of some interest…..naaaahhhh….those guys wouldn’t read it…they’d just want to know why ESPN changed the time slot for Sportscenter.
love ya madly as always,
Yes, you CAN say adore, Jim. Adore is great!
Men are welcome here, Jack. More than welcome. I’ll be thinking about you Friday. Let me know you’re okay.
Great post, Gail! Congrats on the half-marathon, too. Looking forward to reading more…and can’t wait for your book.
Dear Gail, Congrats on your HEALTHY bill of health, and mini-marathoning and on being the funniest, quirkiest, gentlest, brightest person I know. Keep on blogging and grogging. Yoga may be better then mini-marathoning but the challenge is so right. An old Zen saying: ” Leap before the net appears”! You are so Zen and so renaissance woman. Keep on affirming life collectively and actively with your writing and extremely important charismatic presence on this earth. Lose the writing parts about masturbating. I don’t find it entertaing but, maybe it is because I am a non-virgin, non-masturbating 70 year old gramma.This comes with love,
laughter, and CUDOS for all you are and do. Judi Gail Brown
Thanks Elizabeth, looking forward to reading your book, too!
I appreciate all your kind words, Judi.
Great post, Gail! I’ve been using movies for escape for years now, and I’m delighted to find that you’ve learned to do the same. Go see Stardust — even is you’re not worried about anything.
I love your writing, and I love your tone and style and sense of humor. Great!
Thanks, Verna! You’re sweet… I’ll check out Stardust soon!
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