Hello my friends. As I lay here in a pool of my own sweat and tears, having contracted an unknown illness that may or may not be monkeypox, I’ve decided now is as perfect of time as any to check in with you all. Although this post initially started out as a Dr. Rachel segment where I planned to impart my wisdom to you all once again, I have grown increasingly contemptuous both with the people in my own life, and with the state of the world. And you know what? I’m not feeling particularly charitable at the moment. Each passing day the state of our once great nation and my once great body has caused me to enter a period of self-reflection and contemplate the age-old question (a question I personally think a lot of us would benefit from asking ourselves more often but that’s neither here nor there) Am I The Problem?
As with any crisis of self, it is imperative that we take a reflective look inward, a road which often leads us back to our childhoods. One of my many therapists once told me that if there is a feeling you’re experiencing that causes you to become uncomfortable, upset, angry, etc., chances are you first experienced this as a child and were unable to deal with it properly, thus causing a negative ripple effect for similar emotional experiences in adulthood. As I sit here, drowning myself in cough syrup and Pinot Noir while desperately hoping for a sizzurp-adjacent high, I have tried to recall back to a time when I first was left wondering: Is it me? Or is it really everyone else? One incident stands out in my mind more than any other.
As a child, and frankly well into my adulthood, I have had a teeeensy bit of an issue with “authority”. The very definition of authority, “the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience”, has never really gelled well with me, and frankly taking orders from individuals that radiate sub-par mediocrity, simply because they’re in minute positions of power, just isn’t really the rhythm of my dance floor (i.e. my former boss who would begin harassing me with a series of inane questions on zoom at 9:01 every morning like she was The fucking Riddler)
Annnnyway, growing up I attended an elementary school where I was routinely in trouble for one thing or the other, (another quick aside here- In the fifth grade, I was taken out of class for the day and my parents were called in and I wasn’t allowed to come back to school until I purchased a bra because my budding pubescent breasts were a distraction to fucking Thomas at recess. Where the fuck were all the keyboard Gloria Steinem Woman Warriors then? I could’ve been FRONT.PAGE. NEWS. #FREETHENIPPLE) and one of my “punishments” was that I was not allowed to be apart of any choirs or choreographed musical dance numbers that the rest of my grade participated in. Therefore, I was forced to enjoy the series of visual and audio assaults from the audience with the rest of the parents, faculty, and the janitor.
One day, we were told that we had a very special assembly and that survivors of the Holocaust would be joining us to share their experiences spent in Nazi-occupied prison camps. Although I don’t remember much of what was said, I remember listening to their stories and being genuinely in awe of their bravery and their ability to have survived such trauma, pain, and loss. What happened after, however, I remember clearly.
Following the survivors harrowing testimonies, a woman who was either a music teacher or choir director (I can’t remember her name but I do remember that she had an enlarged goiter hanging from her neck that I used to tell people was her twin sister that she ate in the womb) rushed to the stage and emphatically thanked (while extremely out of breath) the survivors for sharing their stories. It went something like this.
“Thank you…..” …wheezing (prob due to the goiter/eaten twin). …. “So much…. For sharing with us today…. Your bravery…. Is so…. Inspiring ..” **coughing, sputtering into a dirty napkin ensues**
“To thank you.. for your time…. Our students have prepared… a special song for you all…..”
Based on the events that followed, I am still unclear how the administration of the school was not immediately prosecuted for a hate crime and forced to report to the powers at be with the Geneva Convention.
The men and women (I believe it was 4 or 5 of them) who had just shared the harrowing details of how their families were brutally murdered and their lives as they knew it were destroyed. were seated in the front row main aisle. I was seated a few rows back in a side aisle with some teachers aid with chunky lowlights responsible for keeping an eye on the degenerate kids, but had a pretty good visual on them. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a red velvet curtain on stage was whipped back with gale force, and Turkey Neck had moved from her position center stage, and was now rapidly switching the spotlights on and off with such vigor, I could only assume that she picked it up at Studio 54.
As I struggled to avert my gaze away from the gray-haired lunatic flashing strobes and giving little Timmy next to me an aneurism, I began to hear a deep romantic tempo. I looked on in abject horror as the fourth-grade choir began belting out an indisputably out of tune rendition of “Make it Through the Rain” by Mariah Carey, accompanied by extremely jarring choreography.
I remember looking at the rest of the crowd, many of whom were dabbing tears from their eyes, and then quickly looking at the Holocaust survivors who looked wildly confused and uncomfortable, and just truly not being able to believe it. I still can’t believe it. It’s unbelievable, that’s why.
Upon doing my research for this post (because I am nothing if not a professional) I thought it would be a good idea to rewatch the 2002 mid-tempo pop ballad featuring none other than our very own Meadow Soprano, Jamie-Lynn Sigler. I wanted to see if perhaps I had misread the situation and this was, in fact, a touching and poignant tribute. Please, if there is any doubt in your mind how intrinsically tone-deaf having a group of twenty 8-year-old kids screaming “When you’re distraught and in pain without anyone, when you keep crying out to be saved, but nobody comes” while doing jazz hands and a quick shuffle ball change as a thank you to woman who just showed us a tattoo she was forcibly marked with at Auschwitz, watch this fucking video:
Anyway, It is times like these, in these crucial moments of self-reflection, that I truly realize. It isn’t me. It’s everyone else.
#MariahCarey #Therapy #SelfReflection #Therapist #Performance #MariahCarey #Rain #Terrifying #delusional #Mimi